Tuesday, 15 March 2016

T-Rex HITS Ocala

Well, this year I finally gave in and ran away to Florida.  Not for long, just a week, but long enough to fill the old bones with a little more warmth and sunshine until spring truly begins.  So I spent some time baking my tail in the sun.

But seriously, how could I go to Florida without a tiny horse show detour?  What's a couple (ok, closer to three) hour drive to HITS?  Off we went for a day, T-Rex and husband.  Tunes were cranked, breakfast was eaten and silent prayers were offered by my husband against our financial extinction.

I was a MUCH better behaved driver than this.  I promise.

We found the show grounds after an uneventful and law abiding drive north, mostly due to the fact I purposely rent small cars with small engines.  (The T-Rex rule of rental cars: Big enough for the junk in my trunk, small enough to keep me from getting arrested)

This was when my husband's eyes got significantly wider, because the show grounds kept going and going ... and going.  He's seen old school multi-ring competitions with a couple show rings, a warm up and trailers/stalls, nothing like this.  Possibly his worst nightmare come to life; acres of horses, sunshine and my gleeful skipping towards the vendors area.

No idea why he seemed concerned

Then again, it might have been because I headed for the saddle booths first; Devoucoux, Antares, Voltaire, CWD called my name. My sitting in saddles to try them also might not have helped.  I thought he was going to cry for a second when I found my holy grail of a saddle.  A Voltaire monoflap of the exact specs to accommodate my sizeable tail, my short person legs and sticky leather to velcro my middle aged self to my horse as she powers over jumps.  It was ... perfect.  Even the calf blocks were in the exact right spot, instead of down by my ankles

This would be Mr. T-Rex plucking up a couple vital organs for sale while our credit rating burns in the background

However, sanity ruled the day and I did not go for it.  The one side of my brain screaming YOLO was shouted down by the part of my brain declaring YOU IDIOT.  So, off to watch some warm up rings and classes.  By this point, Mr. T-Rex far preferred the boredom of watching horses to the excitement of my shopping. I, on the other hand, was enjoying the lessons of the day.

  • When in doubt, sit up and ride forward, at every level
  • The level of riding at equivalent divisions, hunter or jumper, isn't much different between home and away
  • With some spit, polish and 5-8k in tack, a good NS horse wouldn't look amiss in a Florida crowd. We need to get over the communal chip on our shoulder.
  • The opportunity to watch a really skilled rider schooling is never wasted.   
  • Neither is watching a girl with a prosthetic arm clock her way skillfully over a 1.40m jumper course. 
  • Everyone loves a cheerful compliment to their horse and/or rider and a "Have a great round" as they make their way to the ring.  Even from a stranger, especially from a stranger.
Every round is someone's Olympics

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