Horse Shows

Leo Survives…His FIRST Beginner Novice!

That’s right. While P’s been busy having an extended vacay and thanking me by racking up MOAR vet bills, Leo has been in Florida kicking booty. And I FINALLY got to see him.

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Diagram of what the proper procedure is to greet Leo

I drove down with the owner of Trainer B’s home base farm super early last Thursday AM and made a bee line for his stall before the car came to a complete stop. And I’m fairly certain he remembered me, as he promptly tried to climb out of his stall when I stepped back out.

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Trainer B flatted him and it was all I could do to not pull him off and take him back over myself. But I showed a magnitude in self-restraint because Leo was going to his first Beginner Novice!

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Things Leo has remembered:

-Ground manners

-Self-loading (Yaaassss)

Things Leo has learned:

-Everything

-And…How to stand super chill on the trailer while all your friends get on and off for their ride times (hallelujah)

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Love a horse that’s so chill at a show

Since he was in the lowest division of all the horses entered that weekend, he had the last times of the day. And even though the show grounds had calmed down by the time he was getting ready to go…he still hadn’t been off the farm since arriving in Florida in December. So it could go either way.

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What you can’t see is behind me is a giant canopy tent flapping in the wind. I just LUFF him. And Trainer B’s grooms made him look just amazing.

 

But this was his dressage:

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Which looked to me like a huge improvement over the last 2 (and only 2) times he’s been to a show and done dressage. But the judge noted tension in like every movement so he scored a 38-something. Whatevs. I love him.

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Watching the SJ rounds before his.

Then a few hours later was SJ. I legit held my breath when Trainer B pointed him at jump 1, a “big” oxer. But Leo never even hesitated.

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Still swooning over those knees

He had 2 rails down behind, likely due to distraction, but LOOK AT HIM

What impressed me most was how he handled it. No, no one wants rails, but Leo USED to get super upset and leap in the air then try to bolt when he’d hit one. And being a Super Ammy, uhhh, calm yo’self. But he made the jumps look so easy (though that’s likely due to Trainer B).

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Can’t even

The next day was XC and now Leo hasn’t jumped a full XC course since Virginia with me, and Trainer B only has a few plain logs and a corner in his field. Honestly, the course looked a little spooky (to me, seeing it through a green young horse’s eyes) with TWO waters, both dyed a shade of blue he’s never seen before. But OH MAH WORD, he absolutely nailed it.

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Jump 1

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The only thing that would’ve made me happier is if I were riding him (duh), but I’m super thankful to Trainer B for making it happen. He had a lot of rides that 4 day show, and did even more coaching, and with Leo going last at the end of loooong days, it would’ve been easy- and understandable- to not give him great rides. But that clearly didn’t happen, and Leo was able to get yet another solid experience under his belt.

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So thankful to be a part of this amazing team 

There’s one more show for Leo in March and the tentative plan was for me to go down there again and ride him, then compete, but the show starts the day we’re supposed to be closing on our house, so likely I won’t make it down there again and Trainer B will ride him. Then after Carolina International, I’ll get my horse back and be able to boop the snoot on the daily!

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How Leo feels when he sees me coming

 

 

 

Horse Life

P…Not Even Creative Anymore

So Thursday the 23rd I made a gigantic mistake. That evening, I stood outside of P’s stall, talking with another boarder about when I might be able to ride again. And I said, “I don’t go back to the dr until Feb 6th but I might hop on this weekend just to see how it feels.”

WHAT WAS I THINKING

Because….Friday AM, BO texted me this:

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And I called the vet and told her I was ready to remove the eye.

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At least I called the vet. Above was my first choice of actions to take.

She came out, stained the eye and proclaimed it to be the teensiest of ulcers. Because it was the same eye as the Eye From Hell, and it was right above his surgical scar, I was still ready to remove it myself, but she persuaded me to give it a week.

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Also, BO was amazing and offered to do AM and mid-day meds, and more days than not, texted me to offer to do night ones. She is srsly the best.

And I was fairly optimistic, as the eye was quite open every day after that.

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Until Wednesday, 2 days before the eye recheck, when P ran around in the pasture, twisted his shoe and STEPPED ON THE NAIL.

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So I went out there and was greeted by this pathetic thing. My heart is stone cold when it comes to his injuries now.

Seriously, every day he’d hobble up to me in that stupid bug mask, all I could think was:

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Last Friday the farrier came out, pared down his frog and pushed on the nail hole and (yum)  pus started pouring out. Then the vet came and declared his eye healed. As of today (7 days post recheck and abscess draining), he’s walking normally and, underneath the fly mask he now lives in, his eye is still, well, there.

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Sigh

Which is good because yesterday I was FINALLY cleared to ride by my surgeon. And quite frankly, I don’t care if P is 100%. I’m not, and I still do the things. So we’ll both be 90% lame together for awhile.

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At this point, he’s just recycling injuries. Last year it was tendon, Foot Hole, Eye From Hell. This year we’re starting with Eye, then Hoof…so if he blows a tendon, well…

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Horse Life

OH MER GER

So I’m not dead, and I have been following along with y’all’s blogs, but typing one-handed sucks so much, commenting has been non-existent. I’ve been that silent stalker that brings your page views up, but clicks off without a trace.

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Things are healing and I ditched the sling pretty quickly.

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It’s literally covered in chocolate from this box of chocolate covered strawberries. Worth it.

And the bandages were taken off last Thursday, where my dr said we’d talk about riding in FOUR MORE WEEKS. I fired him. Sort of. Ok, I didn’t.  Then yesterday a kid I tutor told me my arm looks like a “zombie arm,” so that was helpful.

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I started occupational therapy last Friday and the OT read me the notes my doctor put in. He legit warned her via my medical chart that I’d try to persuade her to sign off on me riding. Har har, Doc. Har har.

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Me: P, aren’t you dying for me to ride you? P: No, let’s just cuddle

Leo has been bopping along in Florida, doing event horse things, such as HIS FIRST CORNER last week. Of course, no media exists of said event. Wish professionals were as media-obsessed as amateurs. Srsly.

And I haven’t really even been out to the barn (gasp), as much, choosing instead to spend evenings at Crossfit so that I can retain some semblance of fitness when I’m authorized to clambor back aboard.

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Can you tell which kid is actually comfy with horses and which one would prefer to be 50 feet away?

AND we’re considering moving to the other side of town to be closer to all the things we do (such as the barn), so readying our house that we’ve lived in for 5 years + has endured 2 growing boys has been no minor feat.

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A rare Husband sighting on a day off from work and/or home improvement things

I swore when we bought this house, I’d never move again. But that was before I was boarding where I am now, which is paradise-on-earth. The area we’re looking at has my barn commute time between 5-8 minutes, so bring on the home repairs! For Husband, that is. Obvi.

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I will do my best to start commenting more on everyone’s adventures- keep ’em coming so I can live vicariously through you all for the next, um, FOREVER #Desperation

Horse Life

2019 in Pictures

This is going to be text-lite b/c I’m one handed. Thank goodness for touch screen computers.

2019 was, uh, interesting!

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January saw P being turned out for the first time since injuring his suspensory in August. Serious day drinking occurred that day.
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And in February he went right back in the stall, thanks to his creation of the Foot Hole
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In March I was so desperate for real riding, I took a horse I’d ridden a grand total of 90 minutes to a horse show (where I *finally* met Emma!), then took him home. C really helped restore my confidence in jumping, even taking me over some Training jumps, and ultimately planted the seed to get a 2nd horse.
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In April we celebrated P’s 9th birthday and our 5 year anniversary

 

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In May we added Leo to the fam

 

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In June, despite battling the Eye Ulcer From Hell, P won our millionth contest
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July saw Leo becoming more and more dreamy with each ride
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August was Leo’s first XC school and he was perfect
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September, the Tiniest Dictator & I rode our trusty steeds together
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In October, Trainer B took Leo to his first ever horse trial
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And in November, I stole the ride back at the last second and Leo & I kicked some booty in Leo’s 2nd HT at Virginia International
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And closing out December on NYE (shhh, no one tell my surgeon) with a short stroll on the one creature who’s the reason I both drink AND smile as much as I do

Happy New Year!

Horse Life

Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange

So this was my first year participating (because I never had my life together enough to get in on time) and it sure didn’t disappoint! I was lucky enough to have my Secret Santa be Sarah from Three Chestnuts and she sent some amazing goodies!

Turquoise, whitening shampoo, P’s fave treats AND a floofy wash thing-a-majigger? ER MER GERD

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Someone knows the stuff I like 🙂

P’s demolished half the treats, he actually APPROVED of the floof for his bath today (with the whitening shampoo), and I wore the belt to my lesson today (but didn’t get media because #FAIL). Thanks so much, Sarah!

And thanks to Tracy from Printable Pony for hosting this!

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Merry Christmas from P & I!
Horse Life

The 2010s Picture Challenge

Praise be Emily, for some blog content! This was a fun one, as 2010 was the year I got my very first horse, and rode for the first time since I was a teenager.

I bought Jester as a pretty much unbroke 9 year old for $700 with delivery included, and the day he arrived was one of my favorites EVER.

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2010

We spent awhile getting to know each other, then headed to our first show, where we dominated the Adult W/T class. Hey, that was what local J-ville shows had to offer.

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2011

And when I finally became mobile with my own truck and trailer, headed out on our own to do real shows. He was a hunter extraordinaire.

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2012

Then I sent him off for training with an eventer while we waited for the T.D. to arrive in the world, and Jester had a pasture accident that he wouldn’t have recovered from. So he gave me my best day and my worst day.

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2013

2014 saw a new adventure…

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2014

And in 2015 we headed off to attempt eventing.

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2015

2016 brought a LOT of challenges, and was probably the roughest horse-y year for me yet. Trainer issues, barn issues, I wasn’t having fun anymore.

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2016

In 2017, after a failed attempt at selling P, we met Trainer B and things just turned around. We were pushed to new heights (literally), but I was having fun again, for a change.

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2017

And we had a major break through in 2018, where we finally, FINALLY competed Novice.

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2018

Then, naturally, P injured himself- repeatedly (tendon, Foot Hole, eye), and I rode other horses until I finally decided that jumping P was not what I wanted to do anymore, and brought home a new family member. And 5 months after coming off the track, had the absolute most fun on XC that I’ve ever had before.

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2019

What an amazing (and expensive) decade it’s been since having horses back in my life. Here’s to 70 more just like it!

Horse Life

Update City

With surgery scheduled for exactly a week from now (unless another spider decides to bite me), I’ve been riding as much as I can. I’ve even been taking some actual dressage LESSONS with an honest-to-God dressage TRAINER in a real-life dressage SADDLE.

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We even HACK in said dressage saddle.

But it’s been really good for me. I’ve always gotten by in dressage, but I’ve never been what I consider to be a really good dressage rider. I’m way too busy with my aids, I have hunchy shoulders, turned out toes, straight arms, and am forever fighting the fetal position instinct.

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2014-Fetal fo’ Lyfe
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2019- aaaalllmmooosssttt

But my BO has decided she’s all in on the USDF stuff and has been working with a local dressage trainer who, bless, COMES TO THE FARM. As much as I love working with Trainer B, it’s an hour trailer ride one way, and while totes worth it, being able to arrive 1/2 hr before a lesson and walk 2 minutes to the arena? IN LOVE. P’s less enthused that Home Base has been infiltrated and eyes the arena suspiciously every time we walk down there.

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The look that used to be reserved for trailer rides comes out every time we go in the arena now

But it’s working and P is more forward than before, starting to carry himself in small bursts, and even the canter is coming along. And as for me, I’m getting more comfortable being in the correct position. I tend to have fairly straight arms, especially in transitions, thinking I’m “giving,” when really, I’m throwing contact away and then yanking it back. And keeping my toes turned in and my ankles out is keeping my leg more correct.

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This is still a major work in progress, though 

All good stuff. We have another lesson this afternoon, which, depending on her schedule, might be my last for awhile since my surgery is next Friday.

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Legit the best meme ever. Trying to cut out the bad food for now since both riding and CrossFit will take a temporary backseat

In Leo news, he arrived in Florida safe and sound, but had some trouble settling in at first. I know horses aren’t like people, but I DO feel a bit guilty. He’d only been with me for 6 months and every time we went to Trainer B’s, he, ya know, came home with me. Until the time he didn’t and instead got on a much different trailer and drove 8 hours to a new farm with strangers (minus Trainer B). But he’s been settling down and both working students have even gotten on him to hack him (at the walk only). He’s tentatively going to be hitting a show in February, and I’m so hoping to be able to make the trip down to see him at least once.

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They sent me this picture- still adorable as ever

I did ask Trainer B to try to ride him like crap at least once a week so he’s not too shell shocked when he comes home and I climb back aboard. We’ll see if he complies with my request.

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Less of this good riding stuff…
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…More of what Leo will be coming home to

And speaking of being a total ammy, the other night I rode P and he was sooooo good, that when it hit 20 minutes, I felt like it was enough and hopped off. Went to loosen the girth and…

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Oh Em Gerrrr….Sorry P

 

 

 

 

P & his buddy S got the farrier a thoughtful mug for Christmas (least he could do after stomping him in his quest to insert The Foot Hole). While S has never stomped the farrier, nor chopped off half of his own foot, he IS prone to ripping off shoes within 24 hours of getting them on.

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We’re not exactly sure P would actually jump a fence for AGF, but I s’pose anything is possible

If I don’t get a chance to write again before, Merry Christmas to everyone!

Horse Life

Gone…All Gone

HOW in the world is it December?

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Me lately. Winter is NOT my favorite season

So since I last posted, uh, 2 weeks ago (oops), not much of interest has happened. Leo was on break and took full advantage:

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So tired from all the winning he’s done since coming off the track in May

P and I went to Trainer B’s for some dressage lessons:

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P’s face when he got on the trailer was PRICELESS

P’s been ridden more in the last month than he has in the past 18 months, and is finally in some semblance of shape:

Though he’s sure to keep me on my toes at least 100x every ride:

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This was taken 2 seconds after the end of the above video

 

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My only goal for this winter is to learn to keep my shoulders back
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Getting the stretch back

4 days before I was supposed to have surgery on my nerve, I got bit by a spider AND got poison ivy on the arm that was supposed to be operated on. So now surgery is scheduled for the 27th, which means 3 less weeks of healing time before the end of winter.

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Naturally the incision is supposed to end where the bite is.

But on the plus side, more time to ride P. Oh yay.

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I IZ MAJESTIC

Family came from Chicago for Thanksgiving and I tried to show off P:

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P: If I pretend I’m sleeping, maybe they won’t ask me to do anything

But really, I have no leg to stand on because, as my mom pointed out, this is what I did when everyone thought it’d be great fun to decorate for Christmas:

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Me: If I pretend I’m sleeping, maybe they won’t ask me to do anything

And finally, Leo left for Florida this AM with Trainer B. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t tear up a bit (and that I’m not TOTALLY JEALOUS). I’m hoping I’ll be able to find some time to go visit down there, and if all goes well with the arm, be ready to go once he comes back.

Until then, I’ll be here in cold, dark (by 5:30 waaaahhh), wet North Carolina, dreaming of this:

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Happy holidays, amirite?

Horse Shows

Virginia HT, Part IV THE CONCLUSION

I really dragged this one out, didn’t I? Well, it was my first hurrah since March and my last hurrah for quite awhile, so sorrynotsorry. Plus, I was waiting for show pictures but at this point, 11 days later, forget it. Literally everyone that I know who showed at different venues that same weekend had their pictures within 48 hours and mine still haven’t been uploaded. They have like 1/10 of the competitiors’ pictures up under the VA folder on their website, and it’s been that way for 2 days now.

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But anyway, we came out of SJ with Leo getting all the pats from everyone because he was SUCH A GOOD BOY, and then Trainer B and I headed up the hill so Trainer B could do his BN show jumping and I had to get to XC. I stopped by the arena so I could get my XC gear out of the golf cart and was fully prepared (externally, at least) to head to XC alone, but Trainer B persuaded the other competitors and the stewards to let him cut in front of everyone else and do his round so he could come with me to XC.

Seriously. Best Trainer Ever.

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Going to be Trainer B’s Christmas present

During that interlude it was discovered our rail had dropped us from 2nd to being tied for 6th so there were some jokes made about going for optimum time, which Trainer B quickly squashed. He wanted me to stick with the plan of trotting the first fence, then cantering only if Leo was balanced and not rushing. Any sign of rushing or pulling and I was to do a downward transition, even walk or circle if I had to. He said coming out of XC with a better trained horse was more important than what the results looked like on paper (FINE), told me to ignore the fly bonnet message (P’s “Go Fast” bonnet) gave me a few last minute tips and we headed to the start box.

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Def me when they said I had a minute before go time

Leo was super game, didn’t so much as peek at jump 1, landed in a beautiful canter and we set off on quite possibly the most gorgeous XC course I’ve ever been on.

While the round wasn’t perfect- he definitely got a bit rushy after some of the jumps, requiring quite a bit of trotting and one circle after jump 6, and then there was the little debacle on our way to the last jump where the pair behind us had gone balls-to-the-wall and galloped past us with no warning (she apparently got reamed out afterwards)- but I just had a blast. There was no question in my mind that he was going to jump all the jumps and even the water didn’t back him off.

He was clearly enjoying himself and I just wished we could go around and do it again and again.

The time penalties added quite a bit to our score, dropping us to either last or almost last, BUT, had we not had time penalties, we would’ve ended up 5th. Had we not had time penalties or the rail, we would’ve held onto 2nd. Which in such a big field, with nearly half the field consisting of professionals (seems a little weird for Starter but whatevs), is sort of amazing.

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In lieu of pro pictures, which I was fully prepared to pay out the nose for, exnjoy this blurry screenshot. He’s still handsome, though.

 

And as we walked back to the barns, Trainer B reaffirmed that this was, indeed, Leo’s final Starter.

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Good thing I already started prepping him at BN for Trainer B 😉

And Fun Fact: the horse we were tied with after dressage has gone prelim/1* with Lainey Ashker. Leo is a champ.

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Simply put, it was the best possible way to end the year. Leo gets a break now and will head to Ocala with Trainer B at the end of the month while I try my best to get P back in some semblance of shape before his break while I have surgery and have to take my break.

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I love him