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This was inspired by a post I came across the other day:Β 20 Thoughts That Go Through Your Head Before a Gymnastics Meet

Also, since my job is nearly over (this is my last week), I will soon have my weekends free again which means I will be back to showing very soon. I’ve posted lots of pictures of shows I’ve done over the past 4 years, but those pictures generally fail to capture what’s going on in everyone’s minds, particularly before the horse and rider step into the arena. So, without further ado, I present 20 thoughts from the rider’s, parent’s, and coach’s perspectives. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Rider

1. I hope we’re not running late. My coach is going to freak out if we are.

2. Where’s that schedule Ellie’s dad printed up? I can’t remember when my first class starts.

3. Where’s the warm-up ring?

4. Why do I bother plaiting my horse’s mane before we leave? He/she always manages to undo half the braids on the way over. *sigh* Can somebody give me a hand here?

5. Oh good, Jessie’s mom brought pastries. I need a sugar boost…

6. I hope I don’t forget my dressage test. (Alternately: I hope I can remember the jumping course. This one’s a doozy.)

7. Hey, those vendors have some good stuff. Gotta stop by later; I need a new saddle pad.

8. I hope my parents didn’t get lost on the way here.

9. I hope it doesn’t rain.

10. Why do they always use the same stupid playlist?

11. Oh great, the Barbie Pony Brigade is here.

12. HOW much for a questionable-looking hot dog?! Next time I’m bringing my own lunch.

13. Do I have time to run to the bathroom before warming up?

14. Where IS the bathroom?

15. Okay, boots, jacket, crop… am I forgetting anything? Oh yeah, helmet!

16. Where’s my coach? It’s time to start warming up.

17. How do they expect us all to fit in this tiny warm-up ring? I hope none of these horses kick/my horse doesn’t kick anyone…

18. Oh good, my parents are here. I hope they manage to get a good video this time.

19. Oh wow, that was a really fast round/good test. No pressure now…

20. Please, God, don’t let me fall off.

Parent

1. I hope I’m not late. My kid is going to kill me if I am.

2. What time does her first class start again?

3. Where’s the main arena?

4. I better remember to get a picture of her and her horse. Those little braids are so pretty…

5. I need coffee.

6. I hope she doesn’t forget her dressage test/jumping course.

7. I hope she doesn’t want to buy anything from those vendors. How many saddle pads does she have now?

8. I’m still amazed my GPS knew how to find this place.

9. I hope it doesn’t rain.

10. This music sounds familiar…

11. Oh, that barn with the color-coordinated ponies is here again. Did any of them actually place last time?

12. I wonder if the hot dogs are any good.

13. Do I have time to run to the bathroom before her class starts?

14. Where IS the bathroom?

15. Did I remember to bring the camera?

16. Oh hey, there’s her coach.

17. How am I supposed to see anything with everyone crowding around the arena?

18. I hope I can get a good video from here…

19. Oh wow, that kid was good. My kid’s better, though. I hope.

20. Please, God, don’t let her fall off.

Coach

1. We’re running late again… why does that one horse always refuse to load?

2. Where’s the schedule? I can’t remember whose class starts first.

3. Where’s the warm-up ring? The first group needs to be there 5 minutes ago.

4. Why do we even bother plaiting the horse’s manes before we leave? I hope we brought enough rubber bands.

5. Oh good, Jessie’s mom brought pastries. You, dear lady, are a lifesaver.

6. I hope they all remember their dressage tests/jumping courses.

7. Oh look, it’s that vendor with the overpriced saddle pads again.

8. I hope none of the parents get lost on the way here. Does this place even exist on a map?

9. I hope it doesn’t rain.

10. Seriously? This playlist AGAIN? I swear they use it at every show in the region.

11. Oh great, it’s the Barbie Pony Brigade. Good thing they spend more time making sure their tack and accessories match than actually riding. *snickers*

12. Ooh, hot dogs!

13. Do I have time to run to the bathroom before my next group warms up?

14. Where IS the bathroom?

15. Did I remember to feed the cat this morning?

16. Where’s my next group? It’s time to start warming up.

17. They have got to stop letting so many riders in the warm-up ring at a time. One of these days there’s going to be an accident, I tell you.

18. Oh good, Missy’s mom is here. She takes such good videos.

19. Holy cow, that kid is good. No pressure…

20. Please, God, don’t let anybody fall off.

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As you may have guessed from my long silence and this entry’s title, I have been very, very busy these past few months. I finally have a couple of weeks to catch my breath, so I can tell you a bit about what’s been going on.

My job at the snack bar lasted until August 31st, and no sooner was my contract up than I got drafted back at the big nougat factory. I was there almost six weeks, and to be honest, I’m glad my contract ended a few days early. The folks there are generally nice, but I can only take working in a huge, loud place for so long. Plus, at the time they were still attempting to get reorganized after buying out one of the other major factories back in January. In other words, things were decidedly less organized than before, and guess who felt it the most keenly? That’s right, all of us floor workers. Not a day went by where I didn’t hear at least one person complain about it. My team leader was particularly vocal in her displeasure, and the whole situation had her nerves so frazzled that her temper was on a hair trigger most days. Needless to say, I frequently found myself praying for an extra dose of patience. Oh, and did I mention that this was also in the middle of the rush to get the (huge) Christmas orders done? Which meant working overtime every day? My bank account was thankful for the extra hours, but my feet and head were not. πŸ˜›

I think that after that experience I won’t be going back there if I can avoid it. Some things just aren’t worth a massive headache.

Anyway, right after that I had an interview at a small local company that specializes in, among other things, gift boxes composed mainly of local products. They get orders year round, but their busiest time is around Christmas. The past seven weeks have been a blur of boxes and bags of every description, cases and cases of wine, and tons upon tons of foie gras, patΓ©, nougat, and various other goodies. We had to put in some overtime the last week to get everything finished in time (the deadline was last Friday evening), and despite a late shipment of raspberry marshmallows, we managed to complete the last order with about an hour to spare.

Now that that contract is up, I’m taking a break until January. I’ve been working almost non-stop for the past six months, and the last three have really drained me. Between the long hours at the nougat factory and the unheated warehouse after that, I am utterly wiped. I did finally get a start on my Christmas shopping today, but I’ve mostly been resting the last few days.

My busy work schedule has meant that up until now I’ve generally only been able to ride once a week instead of twice, but it’s better than nothing. I’ve been able to do a few shows as well, which went well for the most part. The dressage show I did with Naika in October was kind of a disaster (I didn’t fall off but we finished dead last of our event), but surprisingly we did better in eventing a few weeks later. I still did better in eventing with Leslie a couple of weeks before that, despite having come down with a massive cold a few days prior. That little mare might be almost 18, but she’s still got plenty of oomph. πŸ™‚ Mountain Blue, one of our new mares, may have robbed her of the title of Resident Speed Demon, however: you barely touch her and she takes off like her tail’s on fire. I rode her for the first time a few weeks ago and as you can imagine, it was far from dull. And of course it was a jumping class (Fred really likes throwing me into the deep end, it seems). Still, she’s a fun challenge and I would love to work with her some more.

In other news, we’ve learned that hosting two conferences two weeks apart is a very bad idea. Said conferences both went really well and God did some amazing things, but after the second one we were all wiped out. And because I was still working at the time, I didn’t even get the luxury of sleeping in the next morning. That was one of those situations where you have to rely on some supernatural strength to get through the day. Playing some extra upbeat music in the car in the morning helps too. πŸ˜‰

Now, in case you’re wondering if I’ve had any time for photography with all the insanity, the answer is yes. Not quite as much as during the summer, but I still have plenty to share. I already posted a few back in October; more to come soon. One more to tide you over until I finish sorting:DSC_0328cbws

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