I’m finally home and have my life (mostly) back together (hah, there’s a joke, my life is never together). Still coming down from my horse show high after the Maryland 5* though.
I didn’t have any plans to even go to Maryland until about 6 weeks ago when one of my good friends from college (actually my sorority little sister of all things) texted me that she was going to take her 4 year old to do the YEH and would I want to come along since she had passes all week? Um, YES. Things kept falling into place and pretty soon I had a full week off on the calendar and flights booked. I was originally supposed to leave early Tuesday morning and get to Fair Hill around lunch, in time to meet my friend Claire and help her unload/get settled before she showed on Wednesday and Thursday. Unfortunately my flights were on Southwest and late Monday night I became one of the victims to their total meltdown. All hope was not lost and I ended up rebooked and getting in early Thursday morning. My trip also happened to coincide with most of the schools’ fall breaks here… meaning at 5’1″ I may or may not have gotten accidentally included in the headcount of an 8th grade trip headed to Washington DC. I (obviously) did not end up at a tour of the Washington Monument, but it was slightly touchy for a moment or two there as I wondered how I’d convince this chaperone I was, in fact, almost 30, not 13.
For anyone’s future planning, I flew directly into BWI, took their easy shuttle to the BWI MARC/Amtrak station and took the train (just over an hour) right into Newark, DE. Originally my friend would have picked me up, but since she was now preparing to show, I grabbed an Uber (super easy, college town) and was right at FHI within 15 minutes.
I got there just in time to help my friend tack up for her jumping round and grabbed all the assorted groom things (water bottles, rag, Jack Russell Terrier) and met her down at Saw Mill, where the Young Event Horse stuff was happening. Saw Mill was really nice, but… really far away from everything else. I hate that it was kind of secluded because it didn’t get a lot of spectators, despite there being some really lovely horses.
Claire and her sweet little mare La Russe jumped around lovely – per her words, it was a great course, that rode a little harder than she’d walked due to the terrain, but everything felt level appropriate. Once she finished up, we headed back up to the main area and caught the last group of dressage tests in the 5* that day – a great decision since we ended up getting to see Leslie Law on Voltaire de Tre and Oliver Townend on Cooley Master Class, two I could watch do dressage for basically ever.
One of Claire’s sponsors was there as both a sponsor of the YEH and a vendor and things got a little hectic and we ended up enlisted to go pick a few people up from the airport in Philly. Which would have been no big deal at all… except there was an Eagles game going on. Which happens to be basically next to the football stadium. By the time we made it back to where our hotel was, it was Five Guys and milkshakes for dinner and bedtime.
Friday, I headed down to Saw Mill to hang out with Amanda and Michelle to watch the YEH 5 year olds jump while Claire hacked La Russe and helped her sponsors out. This proved to be a great decision since due to aforementioned secluded location, the spread of mimosas and food for the owners and volunteers became also open to… me (I had groom credentials for the whole week because of Claire and nobody looked very close to see what credentials you were actually wearing). A day spent looking at really lovely horses, consuming an entire bottle of prosecco (at some point I ditched the orange juice) and hanging out with Amanda, Michelle and Sarah (who is just as sweet and lovely in person!) is pretty damn good to me.
At some point they hauled my tipsy ass back up to the main area so we could watch Mason (or as I refer to him MAAAAAAYYYson) warm up and do his dressage test. We caught a handful of others and then walked over to the XC course to walk with Jimmy Wofford. We stayed with that group for the start before peeling off to do our own thing and eventually heading back to the barn to take care of La Russe and go to dinner. Walking that course, you KNEW those hills were going to be brutal the next day. My legs were screaming at me that I should try some workouts and fewer tacos before the next time I go on a 5* coursewalk, but whatever.
We ended up going to dinner with some of the girls Claire knows from back home to celebrate one’s 21st birthday (she was showing in the 5 year olds on her really cute gelding Mocha).
We ended up back at our hotel and passed out hard – because Saturday was XC day!