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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~

Saturday, June 13, 2009

When Creativity Turns to Desperation

The main disadvantage of being an eventer at a dressage barn is this: lack of space and land to do everything I need to do besides dressage. There are enough standards and poles around to sort of create a tiny course if I need to, or some nice gymnastics, but there isn't really room to do anything large. I can hack all I want... on the paved neighborhood roads. There aren't any trails. And now, the final straw: the field I've been doing gallops in has finally completely overgrown, and has become impassable at the walk, much less for gallop work. I'm going to ask the owners if they ever mow, but let's face it, it's their land and they have ever right to keep it a big wild field if they want to. So where does that leave me? Desperate for a place to do conditioning and unsure of where to turn at this point. We have the orchard behind the barn, it's true, but I can't say that it's going to work to gallop there. Why? Well first, it's full of young trees that have low to the ground branches! I don't know if it's going to a) be good to her legs to do tree slalom at high speed or b) good for my brains if I get scraped off by a tree branch at high speed. There's really not much room out there, and I don't know if I can pick up the appropriate speed I need and actually maintain it through the trees. Also, it's been raining for honest to god three weeks now, and with the orchard boardering the owner's house, if she spots a sign of the grass getting turfed I will be in BIG TROUBLE.

Where do I gallop now? I don't know. My creativity has completely turned to desperation. I'm frantically wracking my brains for places to turn now. I have some ideas:

1) Leave a note in the field owner's mailbox asking if they ever mow, and if they don't, if they don't mind possibly either mowing the field completely or maybe mowing a wide path around the perimeter of the field. I would pay for someone to do this!
2) Gallop in the orchard. Again, possibly impossible and difficult to do, for the reasons to explained above.
3) Trailer to the White Memorial park. There is a big, well-groomed field there that could easily be used for gallops. But, it's a good hour away, and I feel like I might possibly get in big trouble for picking up speed there.
4) Anne and I today discovered a giant, GORGEOUS field off the Larkin Bridle Trails where we went hacking. She has been there before and says they usually mow it, and in the middle, they plant corn. Well, the corn was planted, but the field wasn't mowed! It was up to our knees! If they mow it, however, it's open to our use and I could definitely gallop there.
5) Ask the nuns down the road to mow their field for me.. but I think they use it for hay and probably don't want horses on it.
6) Ask Mystic Valley? Ethel Walkers? Frazier Farm? King Oak? All these places are over an hour away though... and the closest, Frazier Farm, is rocky and I don't think I'd want to pick up any sort of speed there.
7) Gallop on the Lark Bridle Trails... but the ground is very flat, straight, and hard. Great for trotwork, not so great for speed work. Also, there are lots of bikers, hiker, and dogs, and I'm not about to go trample people. But it's a possibility.

The field today (sorry, crap picture taken with my phone.)

So I have no idea what to do.
Anne and I had an awesome conditioning hack out at Larkin today, and it ended up being two and a half hours instead of two. We trotted for our first 25 minutes, and then went up and 'discovered' the big field. Beyond the field we intersected the Middlebury Bridle Land, which is actually private (but we didn't know it until later!) There we picked up some cross country fences (sweet!!), and picked our way through the realllllllllly rocky trails. It was gorgeous, and lots of fun. We did a bit of trot and canter on the way back too, just for fun. So I guess Gogo SORT of got some gallop-y work in today. But it's not the same.

What to do, what to do. Here's the kicker: I found a potential move-up Training event. If you go check out the virtual coursewalk for Training, you'll see nothing too complicated - and as a bonus, most of the course is downhill, so we'll be able to maintain a rolling gallop with minimal energy, making it more likely to make time. I'm going to call Sarah and ask her if she thinks it's a good move-up or not, and decide from there if I want to give it a go. This would be in late August, so we have plenty of time to decide if we're ready or not.

BUT, that makes it all the more important that we keep up our gallops. Oye, frustration. Honestly, I don't know what to do.

PS: I have the best readers EVER EVER EVER. Thank you all SO MUCH for all your helpful comments, tips, hints, and encouragement concerning Gogo's hocks. I'm just a worried mommy, and I need reassurance that I'm doing the right thing. And I'll take all your suggestions into consideration, and add them to my arsenal of soundness-keeping-tricks. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

Something will work out - sounds like trailering out or paying someone to mow something is the best bet - sorry it's gotten so hard!

manymisadventures said...

If you have full permission to ride on that overgrown field, I would leave a nice note with some cookies and ask if you can pay to have them or someone else mow the field, because you love riding in it and you appreciate being able to ride in it so much, etc etc. It seems like that would be the simplest option, then if that doesn't work you could explore trailering out.

Good luck! I am so excited for your move-up to Training, I can't wait to see how Gogo does.

Kelly said...

Or you could move to Kentucky, where we do mow extra regularly because of the eventer population.

Veronica Lodge said...

Consider yourself lucky, at my dressage barn there is NO where to hack. I tried the roads but there are too many maniacs. *sigh* it sucks.

Wiola said...

Hope one or the other field will be mowed for you but long - term: what about looking for a job at an event yard where you can be truly immersed in your chosen discipline?