006.

 It’s been a crazy week.

Still sick and pathetically fatigued, I dragged myself through the rest of the week without seriously maiming anyone out of frustration and spent the weekend in recovery mode. For anyone interested, I highly recommend a diet of 4 gallons of water, various terrible take-out food, cuddle comas with a cat, and an obscene amount of Gilmore Girls (You’re a lifesaver, Netflix…)

On Saturday, I pulled myself together long enough to meet Maria at the barn so she could massage Nakai. Kai just loves Maria and her magic hands. She found two small knots on either side of his back, but otherwise reported he was in fantastic condition! For the past week I’ve had his ERU medication on standby, fearing that the stress of travel and the ride might induce a flare up. His eye is still flare-free (violently knocking on wood here..) and he only lost a small amount of weight.

Monday morning rolls around and Ben and I are without water. We’d been experiencing some odd pressure issues despite the well pump being less than two years old. I begin stressing over the possibilities while Ben plays plumber. By Wednesday, we had a new pump and another virus – Ben finally caught what I had.

Despite being his turn to feel like death, he ventured to the farm with me last night to walk the pup and the horse. Honey’s not exactly horse broke (we are getting there!), and every time she careens around or bounces in front of his face I silently thank Nakai for his patience and sense of humor. Speaking of his funny bone: upon arriving at the barn, Nakai’s up at the top of the field, picking at the round bale. It takes me two minutes to get his halter and by that time he has disappeared. Vanished. I take a peek in the two sheds and wander the field, calling his name and becoming increasingly worried that he’s learned how to Houdini for real this time.

Then he nickers.

And nickers… and nickers.

Through the small crack in the side of the other shed, I see an eyeball.

I march down the field and in the shed, at the farthest corner, is my horse. He nickers again and walks toward me, looking at me like “who… me?”

But really. How can I stay mad at this old man face?

Yep.

Can’t.

 

005.

It’s 8:52.

I’m on the couch.

Sick.

Normally, I’d be sifting through the work emails and beginning the day . Instead, I’ve made myself into a blanket burrito and alternate between sweating bullets and freezing. It’s a dreary morning; rain has moved back in and the house is dark. My fever adds a nice touch. The flashbacks to last April where I ruined a camping trip due to a similar illness are appropriate, it seems.

Before I started feeling crummy, I was able to run Kai through his paces last night. He only lost a small amount of weight, and his legs are tight. He showed no signs of back soreness, and he tried to run me over on the lunge line before moving out sound.  He’ll have the next two weeks off from work, and in the meanwhile friends have graciously offered their horses so I can keep riding.

For today, however, the only thing I’ll be doing is going back to sleep.

 

Foxcatcher

Our First Endurance Ride.

Foxcatcher is my maiden voyage into the world of endurance riding. Nakai and I spent the last year and a half tagging along on conditioning rides while gleaning as much information as possible from M, J, and T. Each of them had unique experiences and tips. Their wealth of knowledge helped to prepare, but nothing teaches you quite like experience.

M and I packed the trailer with room to spare and loaded up the ponies Friday morning. The drive down was windy but uneventful (still thanking the traffic Gods that the turnpike and I-95 behaved themselves!). We arrived ahead of schedule and set up camp. Vetting was a breeze and Nakai vetted in with all A’s, as did Rose. Nakai was his quiet self, checking out his new digs for the weekend with mild curiosity (I had no idea how much this would change!).

It hit me suddenly that this was really happening and anxiety set in. Not sure if I was going to puke or laugh, we set  about tacking up for a warm up ride. T showed up as we were saddling, and she joined us into the tunnel and out onto the expansive cross country field.

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Warm-up was a short 5 miles and Nakai felt fantastic. He and Rose are lovely together (albeit a little… competitive). They do feed off each other’s energy, and I was wondering how Kai was going to handle the start and riding in a pack.

With the wind blowing violently, we headed back to camp and put together a plan for the morning.  I had made a blanket nest in the Ford to sleep. On the plus side, I was so warm! Downside, I made it too warm – my top blanket was wet from condensation, and the entire truck was fogged!

Morning comes and I am feeling sick from nerves. What have I done? Can we do this? Is it fair to make him do this?? The wind had calmed, but the forecast was still the same – up to an inch of snow possibly along with rain and periods of freezing mix. Mother nature did not disappoint! The rain followed the start. As the trail opened and riders cantered off in a pack, Nakai picked up a quiet trot and followed Rose. He was excellent on trail! Although interested in the rest of the horses, he kept his own pace and let me “ride my own ride”. I rode conservatively, not sure how the extra stress would sit with him (or myself). This seemed to be an unnecessary worry, however. Sometime from July 2015 to February, Nakai went completely blind in his right eye (this is his ERU eye). Despite this handicap he handled the deteriorating trail conditions perfectly. He navigated the rolling hills and wooded switchbacks beautifully! He trotted, cantered, and hand galloped on a loose rein.

Rose was convinced that she could easily top 10 this ride, and challenged M the entire 15 miles of the first loop. M decided she needed to hand walk Rose, so we came into the hold alone and totally unsure of what to do. I made the mistake of asking “what first?” and in return had 5 people telling me five different things. Nakai came into the hold with a pulse of 60, but it rose to 68 – he nickered and whinnied at everyone, including the pulse taker! I needed to keep him with Rose during vetting to keep his pulse down. I had trouble controlling my own emotions when he wouldn’t stay quiet, and T took him from me and gave me a moment to pull myself together.

I was soaked through, and both M and I changed during the hold. It was really coming down now!

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The second loop was considerably more snowy, and the footing was quickly changing from sloppy to dangerous. The hills were covered in a snow/icy combination, and the wooded trails were muddy and slick.

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(This was the beginning of loop two)

Despite the conditions, I was having a blast! As long as we kept moving I did not notice the cold or wet, and M was smiling again. The last 10 miles flew by, and before I was ready we came into the finish! Both horses vetted in great – Rose had all A’s, and Nakai has all A’s except for B+ on mucus membranes, cap & jug refill. He improved those (they were originally B’s at the hold) and he went from a B on skin tenting to an A! We completed!! He took longer to pulse down (still chattering to Rose and anyone who would listen), but he did not take long to do so.

Soaked to the bone again, we changed and set the horses up in their pen. I crashed in the truck only to be awoken to T telling me that Nakai was kicking Rose! He was cranky after the ride and taking it out on her. I felt terrible; this was totally out of character for my horse (he is low man in a herd setting). Needless to say, I was embarrassed and mortified! We separated them and I apologized repeatedly to M. Poor Rose! I now know better, and the next ride I will set up a separate pen so we don’t have this issue again.

All three of us ran into town for dinner, and I reflected on my accomplishment. What a day! It was an emotional (and weather-related) roller coaster! We woke up this morning to two sound horses. Nakai was a little stiff, but after a good roll and some walking around he worked out of it. The drive home was uneventful, and I have never been so happy to get a shower. This ride also jump-started my metabolism; I am 5 pounds down since Friday and am hungry every couple of hours!

 

004.

This is not looking good.


This is the forecast for tonight and tomorrow. I actually woke up this morning to snow flurries and a frozen mix. For the past week, the weather has bounced from windy and dry, to rain and thunderstorms, to now snow? I admit, I’d much rather ride in snow than rain… But I’m not looking forward to the rolling hills of Fairhill in such slick conditions. Nakai and I will be extremely cautious – I do not want to slip and fall.

M and I are loading up this morning and heading down. Game plan is the have base camp set up early this afternoon and to take an easy warm-up ride before the meeting. Crossing my fingers the turnpike and I-95 behave themselves. Traveling here with a rig is not fun. The locals enjoying playing a game called “how close can I cut off a rig and slam on the breaks?”. Yikes.

I’m hoping my later update will include clear skies (or at least no precipitation).

003.

I’m feeling continually out of place with some friends and acquaintances, especially lately. Every time I get together with a specific group, it’s two hours spent complaining about their job, their boyfriends, and how they’re apparently entitled to money, time, and attention. It’s Ground Zero for nagging women jokes and drama queen memes.

What’s worse – if you have nothing to add, you get told gems like “just you wait” and “you’ll be next” – as if the downfall of my relationship or career is something they’re looking forward to… a little bit of retribution for not having anything to bitch about.

I have a career I enjoy. I have an incredible relationship, and we’re laying the foundation to build our own empire together. Why can’t I enjoy what we’re creating? Why does there need to be something to complain about?

You’re so bland. How is it so difficult to say anything nice about someone? When did it become cool to be completely uninterested in anything? Why don’t you have hobbies? How do you waste so much time judging people who admittedly have absolutely no impact on your life?

I’m learning that there is no longer a suitable place for me in your life.

And that’s A-OK.

002.

Meanwhile.

Mostly because I’m zero-to-sixty once given the green light on anything (hence the unfortunate ‘Leadfoot Lindsay’ nickname), I tend to jump into multiple projects at once – whether or not the timing is right. My brain also works this way: overwhelmingly obsessed or utterly uninterested.

Also, since I seem to get a kick out of what anxiety does for me in the way of mental stress and unhealthy eating habits, in between trying to plan the perfect bridal shower and preparing for endurance season I threw moving into the mix (Petyr Baelish’s words are true, my friends – chaos IS a ladder). I moved in with B, and once word was out that I had flown the coop all of my friends in serious relationships felt the need to share their anecdotal experiences when living with their significant other. But not to talk me out of it – just so I’m “prepared”. I struggled between the desire to proclaim (a la Disney Princess style, of course) that those things would never happen! We are perfect! And the urge to just say fuck it before B and I end up as one of the couples fighting about the toilet paper or some other terribly boring and asinine detail of cohabitation.

Despite the passive aggressive warnings veiled as concerns, B and I are doing disgustingly well. Getting used to having neighbors is another issue entirely, but I’m learning.