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One Day Horse Trials, CA - The play by play

Whew I’ve finally had a few minutes to sit down and jot down some notes from the weekend… Below is a quick timeline and great example of “expect the unexpected…


• 9 am We complete the final packing- loading horses @ farm in AZ

• 10am The horses, students and stuff loaded and we’re on our way (heading into a very brooding storm!)

• 12pm We hit rain showers in the southern CA mountains

• 2 pm exit Temecula parkway

• 3pm arrive (yes, that is an HOUR of windy, twisty, road not fun with the horse trailer) we enter thru the wrong gate- and wind up driving thru the cross country course. There’s no one around except the “honey do” husband finishing last minute chores…

• 4pm We find our wet stalls- the water is literally running off of the hill through the temporary stalls. (Student’s horses are designated in separate stalls even though we’d requested them next to each other,) unload horses while dodging ever increasing streams. We unload the horse trailer and convert it into our “sleeping quarters” and set up the enclosed trailer as our temporary “spill over space”

• 4:30 Three students and I head out to walk the cross country course twice in rain soaking wet, and the wet footing is a bit concerning…

• 5:30 Just as we arrive back at the trailers we are informed that the competition has been cancelled! BUT, if it dries up the next day we can school the cross country if weather permits. While we were walking the course some of the families that traveled with us started a fire at our trailers, got dinner started (hot dogs boiling on the reliable Coleman camping stove…) We realized we had no cell phone service to warn the other people coming out to watch my students that the competition had been cancelled. We were told there was a land line but when we tried to use it, the water had damaged the lines and we could not get a dial tone…
Trying to sort our gear.
The dog "Ace" had other ideas about the sleeping arrangments.
• After checking on and feeding horses, we all changed out of our soaking wet clothes- despite our layers of rain gear. First we set up our folding chairs inside the enclosed trailer and ate by flashlight… With the help of hot chocolate we slowly began to thaw and we were able to move our portable fire close to the side door of trailer… From the one vendor that had arrived early we were able to borrow an extension cord for my plug in heater, but after rigging 5, yes FIVE cords together it left little power received at trailer so the heater only worked at ¼ of its original strength. The horses were unimpressed with the leaky stalls wrecking their dinner but ate and drank.

• 7:30pm The rain finally stops! We move out all the chairs and hang wet clothes around fire to dry, we realize we have no batteries for the air pump for our air mattresses, but manage to jury rig a different air pump and are able to inflate the mattresses without them getting wet.

• 9pm the rain has started lightly so we head to bed. In our attempts to go to sleep, we realize the plastic bags that had carried the shavings we taped up in the opening of the trailer is now flapping with the suction of the wind forcing it in and out of the trailer, one air mattress has a leak, three leaks inside of the trailer causing rain water to drip on the two people sleeping below, and the rain continues throughout the night.

• 6am We are tired but awake, I jump start the day with cowboy coffee, and NO it’s not raining!!! With the horses fed, we clean up all of the “show stuff” we’d brought and just keep out the gear needed to school cross country. A hearty breakfast of pancakes, sausage, eggs, muffins and cowboy coffee gets us going.

• 7:30am Riders head out for a hack down the road to let the horses stretch after being cramped up in the small stalls and the long trailer ride. There horses are a bit stressed with the wet, wind and being at new place.

• 8:30 All three riders and I head down to the warm up in still soaking wet jumping arena, as we’re on our way, other competitors pull up and ask us where to park. We realize they have not been informed of the show’s cancellation…hmmmm
We had to wipe off the mud from the bottom of the rider's boots because their feet kept slipping in the stirrups!
My sleeve was the only "rag" we had.

• Cross country schooling for the next three hours- a great experience for all three riders and horses. After a quick pack we are on the road by 1:05pm

• “Alternative” directions given for the return trip home wind up detouring us NW by a 1:30 hr driving time…. After trusting the GPS (when it finally got service once we were out of the mountains) we find ourselves wandering through neighborhoods, stop signs and huge drainage ditches- not ideal for hauling horses or trailers of any sort.

• 2:30 We are relieved as we pull onto I 10 and have an uneventful journey with us arriving home in AZ at 6pm- all the while keeping in touch by phone to hear the “play by play” of the super bowl score was (I didn’t even have a clue it was that weekend)

• 6:15 As I transfer my gear into the truck I left at the barn I find it has a dead battery…

• The NEXT day as I start to write this blog my computer COMPLETELY crashes and I spend the next two days swiping the hard drive and restoring all the old files… NOT fun…

I hope you enjoyed the “journey”! Sam

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