Well last week was a doozie. John and I had decided a few weeks ago that we would go to Bromont to watch the cross-country element of the 3 day event. Our friends Robbie and Dawn Brady said lets make it a road trip and the adventure began. My friend Barb Broughton said she would look after the horses for the night. This was a really big step for me. I have been dealing with a lot of anxiety issues the last couple of years and hadn't been able to leave the farm for an over night for a while. Barb was booked. The inn in Bromont was booked, so all was set for us to leave the farm. Or was it?
My barn had got out of control over the winter. Truth be told it's never been under control. It was dusty, full of cobwebs and a number of projects were piled here and there collecting more dirt and taking up valuable space. So after showing Barb the routine of the barn I finally was embarrassed enough to do something about it. That's where the leaf blower came in. Above friends Robbie and Dawn had purchased a light blower form Home Depot and used it to get all the cobwebs out of crevices and ceilings of their barn. I checked out the end result and was impressed so off I went to said box store and got another essencial tool.. Now I had everything I needed to get this barn in order, or so I thought.
First I found you actually have clear out the barn of all junk before you start using the blower or really the blower won't work. So I took out all the left over plywood, pieces of cedar siding, various empty containers. When all the junk was moved out I saw that the mice over the 5 years mice had dug up through the stone dust under my rubber tiles and dumped the stone dust on top of the tiles. So I had to lift all the tiles, re-place the stone dust, smooth it out and then replace the rubber tiles. Once that was done I thought it would be a good idea to lift my feed bins off the floor. That's where the pallets came in. My friend Eileen Dumbrell had moved late in the winter and she gave me a number of pallets for projects. Among them were two very large and well made pallets. I measured the space, cut the pallets to fit under the bins and then started painting them. I mean really what is the point of tidying up if your improvements don't look sharp as well. The thing is until you actually paint pallets you really can't appreciate how fussy they are to paint. First they are very dry so suck up paint like a sponge. Then they require several coats to cover the would so the paint job looks worth the effort. That little barn improvement took two days.
While the paint was drying I continued tidying up and clearing out junk from the barn. By this time I had managed to clear out the entrance and my former tack area. Enough space so I could turn on the leaf blower. Now this is a noisy appliance that blows dirt and crap. So I bought a pair of swim goggles to protect my eyes, a paper mask for my nose and mouth and earphones to protect my ears. I was a picture of country elegence. I turned on the blower and BA-BAM the dirt and dust blew away. At that point the siding I hadn't finished in the other area of the barn stood out. So I sorted boards, measured for plywood and finished off that area.
That was a days work so up to the house to get a drink before bringing the horses in for their dinner. It was at this point that my friend Judy Dupuis called. I'd made a cheese cake for Judy's dinner party on the weekend. It wasn't a big deal for me and I knew Judy was up to her eyeballs and she didn't need to worry about desert. Well as a thank you for one little cheese cake Judy offered her services along with her partner Ron Braaten's to help me jack up my run in shelter that was about ready to fall down. As you can see I am blessed with very generous friends who have made my living on the farm possible. Thank you Mom for teaching me how to bake.
So next day Ron and Judy arrive with several large jacks, And the work began. It took us about 4 hours to jack up the shelter and get it braced until I can get an end wall built on the shed for permanent support. I didn't think it was possible to straighten out that hovel, Next step is to buy barn boards and get the shelter finished and painted before winter.
Now back to the barn. The feed area was tidy, but the area that I used to use for supplies etc still needed to be finished. I have been keeping my saddles in the house, as the barn was messy. Now there was room for them in the barn for the summer and fall. I had a couple of saw horses I could use to hold my saddles. While I was getting them out of the downstairs I noticed a old cabinet my Dad had made me to keep my brushes at Tic Toc Stables about 40 years ago. So I dug that out. I'd been keeping my brushes in carriers but they never really fit all my brushes and I just ended with a big pile of brushes on the floor. The cupboard needed cleaning and painting but now it's hanging on the wall and holding all my grooming supplies.
So my yard looks better now that the shelter is upright. My barn is cleaner (still lots of dust busting to do) and my first aid and grooming supplies are tidied and organized. Everything in order to go off to Bromont.
Robbie and Dawn picked us up in their truck. Robbie kindly did all the driving. He and Dawn had been to Bromont to watch the cross country a number of times so they knew the routine.. .We left Friday morning so we could walk the cross country in the afternoon and find a good spot to watch the action on Saturday. If you ever want to be humbled...walk a 3* cross country course. The jumps are big wide, solid. I was exhausted by the end of walking the course and I only had to do it once. The riders at least 3 times....and then many of the riders had more than one horse. It started to rain hard when we were about 2/3rds of the way around so we called it a day and headed back to the Inn. In the rain we saw Selena wiz by on her bike and so we followed to the barn to wish her luck. She was wet, but very happy with both horses. Solo had had a great dressage test and his score reflected an error Selena had made in the test. Woody was sitting in first place and Selena was beaming. She told us she was going to be careful around the cross-country with him because she wanted to build some confidence back in the Woodster after a slip at Rolex. We left her with our best wishes and hoped she could get a good nights sleep.
Dinner was lovely, we ate at the recommendation of our Inn keeper. So with full stomach we headed back to bed, stopping of course for an ice cream cone along the way.
Selena was riding Woody first we arrived around 10am just in time to see Teddie Laframboise's daughter Moira in the 1*. She rode a difficult combination of skinny fences up hill beautifully. Time seemed to fly by and it wasn't long until the 3* started and the annoucer let us know Selena and Woody were in the box. I didn't breath for the next 10 minutes are so,. After Selena went through the water for the second time I think I expressed an explitive, "Fuck me" or something clever like that and then of course I realised that I wasn't alone and Teddie's husband Andy St. Coix was standing beside me. "Sorry" I say "I honestly don't know how you parents don't kill yourselves rather than watch your kids ride cross country". Andy laughed. Eventing parents I think are a very special breed.
Then lunch and just as we finished and walking back to our spot I see a red vest bouncing off in the distance on this incredibly high stepping bay. My heart is in my throat it's Selena on Solo, OH MY GOD they look as if they are ready to ride through fire. I continue on as I don't want to miss them through the water or at the last 4 jumps at the finish. You can really see a lot of fences on the Bromont course from one spot. We just got to our venue and the announcer again was letting us know Selena and Solo were in the box. They were off. I can honestly say I've never seen anything like it. Solo is fast, he's strong and boy does he fly over those fences. I can't for the life of me figure out how Selena can think fast enough to keep up with him through some of those tricky tight narrow combinations. It hardly seemed like she'd left the water for the second time and there they were again galloping up the hill heading for home. We watched the rest of the 2*. Selena had moved up to 12th place and when we saw Selena again on her bike she was beaming.
It was a spetacular week for me for so many reasons. I got things accomplished. I had wonderful friends supporting me in many ways. And I got at the end of it all to see world class horses and riders compete at an unbelievable level in their sport. OH MY!