Tuesday, August 22, 2023

FCPC Camp at Aspen Farms

Day 1: Arrival
I couldn't leave as early as I wanted because we weren't cleared to arrive before 2pm at Aspen Farms. This meant that I hit traffic through Seattle which was less than ideal. I regret not taking 405 as eventually my ETA increased by 45 minutes.  Gwyn did well, and was nickering at me when I arrived with the trailer. She hopped right now. Homegirl misses us doing things.
I set up my camp decently close to the stalls, in afternoon shade then got Gwyn ready for a ride around the property.  I wanted to walk the cross country fields but the property had set up a giant sprinkler and Gwyn gave me a giant NO on walking past it and I wasn't interested in fighting that fight.
The nights were a perfect, cool temperature for sleeping outside and things were quiet... We all gathered and the evening activity was an informal quiz. I helped run folks through the "Barn" portion. It was a great time we all spent together.

Day 2: The day that was rough

Allison had arrived late the day before and stalled Cece next to Gwyn. And Gwyn lost her god damn mind the next morning. We had the first lesson of the day and I realized Gwyn was amped so I brought her to the arena early to do some groundwork like Chriss had taught me.

Except it didn't help at all. And Gwyn started to rear in hand (while I'm internally dead inside because if she's not even allowed to walk over a ground pole, then rearing is definitely out of bounds for an injured stifle)

My 30 minute dressage lessons was spent on the ground trying to get her brain back in place. I couldn't even get her to stand still to be bridled. 
Once the lesson was over I walked her back to her stall, put her bridle on, and then she had calmed down enough for me to hop on. We briefly hacked across the cross country fields before calling it quits. I was discouraged.

Not remotely sorry
Allison and I ran out to Tractor Supply to get a few things we'd each realized we needed. I picked up QuietX because goddamn, I was not going to deal with a horse who was rearing. 
They were required to wear halters all weekend and Gwyn hated it. She got so itchy
Once back I watched some of the other lessons and just felt like I had missed out on the day.
The evening's activities were team games. I inadvertently volunteered for those too so I helped set up and explain everything. It seemed like everyone had fun!

I took Gwyn for a walk that evening to make sure she wasn't too stiff after her lippizaner impression earlier. 

Day 3: The Day that Improved

I managed to make it to my lesson and ride in it this day. I gave Gwyn the QuietX early in the morning to allow time for it to settle in her system. Allison had also moved Cece to a different stall. Both factors really helped Gwyn keep her chill and not be so herdbound.
Rio and her cute POA

I also opted to keep her happy while tacking up with the tried and true hay bag.
As a result we had a productive ride. I got some advice for moving her into contact that I don't think was appropriate for the level of training we both currently have, but I tried and listened and just kept it in the back of my mind for later when I returned to Chriss.
After that we hacked around the fields again because I figured rolling hills were no different than what traverses at home going to and from her paddock. 

After putting her away I returned to watch more lessons for other club members.
Cece and Allison

I walked on foot to the cross country course to take pictures for another group and just hang out and audit the lessons.

Then I tacked Gwyn back up for another hack and joined Allison's lesson group while they schooled cross country.
We walked around more of the Aspen grounds once they were done.

There was a giant ant nest in front of Gwyn's stall and the kids were feeding the ants..

Day 4: The Day We Went Home
Before Bedhead
The Pony Fairy visited the barns and left lots of goodies for us to adorn our ponies with on the last day of camp. I used glitter and hair spray to enhance Gwyn's spots. I also felt obligated to remove evidence that Gwyn naps in shavings.

Then it was off to my last flat lesson which went pretty well. We worked on walk halt transitions and maintaining contact.

By this day I had weaned off of the QuietX and had a sensible mare with me all day. It was nice.

Later in the afternoon I tacked back up to walk out with the cross country lesson, and audit from horseback.

We explored more of Aspen's property before heading back to finish packing up.

I had packed up most everything and put Gwyn on the hi-tie so I could do a final clean of the stall and finish loading everything else. She was happy to stuff her face with hay and water.  The drive home was uneventful until the very end when I pulled up to the farm entrance only to discover this guy and his classic car broken down right in front of the driveway with the gas on the road.
He was upset and Allison and I had two horses to unload. So... we unloaded into the road and I walked Gwyn down to her paddock, opting to unpack my trailer another day. The neighbors across the street were VERY impressed by Gwyn and offered some adorable compliments as we walked by.