Friday, May 28

Day 12 - charm's a big jumping pony!

It's been a fun week! Totally flown by, I can't believe it's Friday already. If the whole summer goes this quickly it's going to be over before I can even fully wrap my head around the fact that I'm here!

Most important fact - EVERYONE loves Charm. I obviously think she's the best pony in the entire world because she's mine and I've known her since she was 5 minutes old, but it's pretty awesome that everyone else thinks she's so great. Andrea and Caroline (the girl whose parents own the barn) are betting against each other to see who will steal her first :) Charm's been going through pony boot camp, tho! I don't think she'd even jumped above 2'9 before coming out here and is going Beginner Novice at her first event - Plantation Field - which after jumping a 3'6" square oxer on her today seems a little unnecessary!!! It'll be fun to put it all together in a show context, though.

So, what's been going on these last couple days. Buck and Andrea didn't come back til Monday afternoon, so Monday was still a pretty chill day. I got to ride Fergie again, she's an awesome mare. Obviously not as cool as mine, but she's just so big and powerful and really fun even just for a trot set, which is saying something! Later, I got a dressage lesson on Charm. Getting her to really step under with that inside hind going to the left is always her big issue, but she's going great. Buck says to the right she's the winner, and to the left she's about 5th. So we just have to get that left side stronger and my pony will be unstoppable :)

Tuesday was to a real day with Buck riding lots of horses, so lots of running around tacking everyone up! It's fun getting to know the routine a bit more, though. I still check pretty much everything with either Kenzie or Brandon, but they're now more likely to just say 'yes' instead of having to tell me what to do, which is a nice feeling. I got to ride Archie, a 4 year old OTTB mare (why someone would call a mare Archie is beyond me) who was really sweet, and apparently will be really fancy one day! It was fun riding a baby again, haven't done that since Charm was little! I then got to go with Buck to his lesson with Marilyn Payne - the FEI judge. That was really cool to see - Buck and Bobby in action - but it was also awesome just to hang out for a couple hours in the truck with Buck. When he's not attached to his phone he's a very funny chatter. No radio, and you can see his brain work in cycles. He's very quiet for about ten minutes (and I would never start a conversation, always wait for him to make the first move), and then would randomly launch into a whole story about how he was a high school All - American athlete in soccer, ice hockey, and baseball. I said, 'oh so you didn't ride in high school?' and he said 'oh not seriously, I mean I went to Kentucky when I was 17 but I made a total fool of myself'!!!! Definitely impressive :)

Wednesday was a big riding day. I got to ride Haifa, a fancy two star horse who was actually SO lazy and impossible to get his head down, but once I got him working (this took almost 15 minutes) he was great! Then rode Libby, a sweet bay mare that I switched onto early last week, and then Lilly another cute baby mare. Although a HUGE brat on the ground, Lilly was actually really fun to ride and went about her job very happily. Not what I expected! I got to do a short trot set on Mensa, Andrea's fancy show horse who was just coming back after being off a couple weeks after Fair Hill. He's SO sweet, it's a little intimidating riding Andrea's horse in front of her, though! After riding everyone else, we got to go XC schooling even tho it was boiling hot. Charm was SUCH a super star!!! Started off jumping all the normal little stuff, and then Buck said to go jump her over a training roll top, which she actually jumped a lot better than some of the little stuff. Combination of me riding harder, and her having more to look at. We ended on a HUGE corner - Prelim height I'm pretty sure. Charm was amazing! Not phased in the slightest, just picked up her little toes and took care of me when I stopped riding the last stride. Katie Schaaf may end up killing me - Buck's getting me much more in the back seat to make sure that Charm GOES after each XC jump. It's a weird feeling, but is really nice when she lands already galloping like she's supposed to.

Thursday was fun - I got to ride Titanium!!! He just got shipped back from Bruce Sr.'s place where he was relaxing after Kentucky. He got his shoes put back on in the morning, and then I was the first person to get on him since Rolex! Pretty cool. I hacked him out to the XC field where Buck was teaching a lesson and got to trot him around for 20 minutes, then Buck asked me to jump him over a little log, which was so cool! I've jumped a 4 star horse!!! Ty is sooo fun to jump. He's an incredibly chill little horse and just hangs out, but the second he gets jumping he gets soo into his job and felt AWESOME. I did some dressage on Charm in draw reins which helps me be able to really use my legs, but have enough contact to actually push her into. She went great! It ended up thunder storming really hard Thursday night, so we left the barn at 6ish, but ended up going back at 8 to haul all the horses back in. Long barbers were never so appreciated! We moved as many horses in as possible, and put the other ones in the top paddocks close to the trees, so hopefully the lightening would hit those before the horses! Everyone was still in one piece Friday morning, thankfully :)

Today was much cooler, which was very much appreciated. Buck was heading out to a weekend full of clinics at 11:30, so it was a fairly rushed morning, but I got a jump lesson on Charm which was fun. I rode with Susan and Caroline, and Charm kept up with the big horses just fine! We did 3 canter poles into a big oxer, trying to get us into a defensive position so we could trot, and then canter a stride out over another oxer. Charm jumped a big red skinny, and an outside line of 3 one stride verticals, then two strides to a BIG oxer! The first time Buck dropped the front rail, but then second time she jumped a 3'6" square oxer! GO CHARM!!! She can cover the distances too, even if the other horses are pulling and she's pushing to make them, she was doing great. Everyone oo's and ahh's over her, which is always a great feeling. She got called the baby Teddy O'Conner - I was OK with this!!!

Heading out to Buck's County Horse Park for some long trot sets tomorrow in the rain, which hopefully will be fun!

Sunday, May 23

Day 7 - i've survived a week!

It's been a week! It's that thing you always feel - I feel like I've been here forever, I can barely remember being at school, but then it also feels so new and I'm still definitely learning new things every day! Susan, my roommate and the other working student, comes tomorrow so that'll throw a whole new loop in the day to day plan I've almost gotten good at! As I'm literally going to be around her 24/7 hopefully we'll get along and she won't be too 'pointy' ;) (my dad and I have inside jokes... aren't we cute!)

It was awesome having my parents out here. While I do like being grown up and taking care of myself, coming home after 13 hours of hard physical work to a home cooked meal is totally OK with me! They left yesterday after cross country schooling (I'll talk about that in more detail in a second, haha) and my house has felt very empty since! I do like having a single though. I had one all year at school as well, so having a roommate tomorrow is going to be a bit of a reality check!

So, what's happened the last few days. Day 4 we went galloping at Bruce Davidson Sr.'s place. SO COOL. Packed up the trailer nice and early with 8 horses including Bobby and Reggie standing next to each other. Wonder how much those 5 square feet were worth!!! Took about 2 hours to get over there - it was Buck, Andrea, Kenzie, Callie, and me and it was nice and relaxed in the truck, even though the 550 was struggling a bit to pull the 9 horse trailer!

We got to Bruce Sr.'s, which was absolutely gorgeous. Field of mares and babies at the front, jack russels running all over the place, and a lovely day. My parents came along to watch, and Bruce actually remembered them and Charlie from 10 years ago working with Jacek! Impressive.

I was in the first round of gallops, so tacked up Sal, who was actually one of Bruce's one star horses. Only slightly intimidating to ride Bruce's horse in front of him! It took about a 15-20 minute trot to get over to the hill to gallop, which was a nice warm up. Sal was very sweet, if not the auto-framer that all the other horses are! Bruce and Buck's relationship was very funny. Bruce felt the need to lay out every little detail on how fast to go and where to go for Kenzie, and Buck just laughed in the background knowing that Kenzie knew it all perfectly, but let him get away with it!

So we trotted down the hill, hiked our stirrups up 4 holes, and then were ready to go! Buck, Andrea, Callie, and another girl who joined us were all on three star horses, so they went first, and then Kenzie on Catalina and I followed them. Kenzie told me to put my boot touching hers and shove Sal as close to Catalina as humanly possible. I thought that would just make them race, but it actually calmed Sal down a lot and showed me how to do a gallop. MacKenzie managed to find a speed to please Bruce, and we did the whole gallop up the huge hill twice. I don't think Charm would've made it halfway up! A nice big trot and we were back at Bruce's farm. I was left in charge of washing off all the first round horses, and the others went out for round 2 with Reggie, Bobby, Fergie, and Ollie.

We didn't end up getting back to our barn til about 5, and then with stripping down the trailer and doing all the days chores, we were there til almost 8! 13 hours of work is a LOT. Let me tell you. Came home to scalloped potatoes, though, so really couldn't complain too much :)

The next day we were just stretching out all the horses that had been galloped to make sure they were still sound and feeling good. I got to do a trot set on Catalina, and then... they announced that hay was coming. A semi truck full of hay. Which normally would've just been a whole lot of work, but this was ridiculous 200 lb bales of hay that I literally could not pick up off the ground. Luckily we got 2 nice guys that were working on a fence on the property to help us, but it was still a RIDICULOUS 2 hours of pushing, rolling, and attempting to pick up hay. Buck did take us out for lunch with his mom afterwards, though - I think he felt guilty!

I had a dressage lesson on Charm when we came back, which was fun (I said dressage was fun! No way!). Buck was working hard to get Charm to actually move her butt underneath herself and be responsive to my leg. As he says, 'She's really cute, and is obviously the winner, but needs to be really through, not just framed,' which totally makes sense. Lots of work with shoulder fore trying to get her butt to curve around my inside leg and get her to GO when I put my leg on. She was a pretty tired pony afterward! Buck promised XC in the morning though, which made everything worthwhile :)

Saturday morning was my parents last day, and my first cross country school since last summer! SO. MUCH. FUN. The property is wonderful as two of the big paddocks have lots of XC jumps in them, which are perfect for schooling. Buck came down on Bobby and Kenzie on Dinero, which was a little intimidating but fun. Pictures from my dad show that my position leaves much to be desired - sorry Katie! HEELS DOWN. That would help a lot. But Charm was a super star and jumped everything I asked her to, including lots of funny questions. In between the two paddocks there was a two stride of roll tops. So you jumped out of one pen, two forward strides across the road, then into the other pen. The first time through she backed off the first roll top pretty hard so I turned my stick upside down and hit her over it, jumped the jump with one hand on the reins, and she ducked hard left on the far side to which Buck and Kenzie were very impressed I stayed on! I have good 'sticking power.' :)

Charm jumped ditches, roll tops into water, banks into water (with all 4 feet at once...) and everything else. Very good pony! She was a bit shocked by the hills and was tired at the end but proud of herself. Andrea was doing a clinic for the rest of the morning, so my parents headed out and I did a trot set on Albert. He's the first three star horse I've ever ridden - SO COOL! He felt very fancy and easy to make go well. A little spooky, but totally worth it :) Buck and Andrea left that afternoon for the whole weekend, too.

So today was a very chill day as Buck wasn't around. Didn't have to come into work until 9 - those extra 2 hours of sleep felt AMAZING!!! Changed over turn out, and then Kenzie rode Bobby and I rode Fergie. Bobby is such a fun horse, he's a complete armchair when you want him to be (which isn't what you expect out of a horse that fancy at all), and then perks up and has the most gorgeous extended trot ever!!! Fergie was another three star horse, and felt incredible. I can never make them go as well as they should, but she was very sweet to me, and we had a nice forward trot set. Kenzie and I took an hour long lunch break to Subway, and then I rode Charm around when we got back. I made sure she still felt good after her XC school, and then we practiced our flying changes. She knows what she's supposed to do, her hind end just changed 3 strides after her front end. We'll get there, she's a very good pony.

I got to feed while Kenzie was riding Bobby the second time (he doesn't get turned out, so he gets ridden twice a day instead). I got a nice little crib sheet and was proud of myself for knowing who all of the horses are! I still get Ben and Bill confused (Buck chooses his barn names after famous people - Ben Stiller and Bill Gates), but pretty proud of myself for getting all the rest of them down!

Buck and Andrea come back tomorrow afternoon, so it'll be back to real life tomorrow, or if not then definitely Tuesday. It's been an amazing week, can't believe it's only been a week!

Also - CONGRATS TO TUFTS CLASS OF 2010!!!! Graduation was today, love all my seniors, miss you guys already :)

Tuesday, May 18

Day 3 - pretttyyyy much amazing :)

3 days down. Wow, is that it? I keep saying "well that one time.." and it can only be yesterday or the day before!

Yesterday I started writing, but had just taken Advil PM, so got as far as "well today I..." and then proceeded to fall asleep - haha!

Well let's see, yesterday was the first real day of work. It was gross and rainy and a bit chilly, so hauling horses in got a bit exciting but everyone seemed to survive! After chores (picking stalls, changing water, throwing grain and hay), Mckenzie told me I was going to get to ride - exciting! There's a book in the tack room where Buck lists out all the horses, what they need to have done that day, and who's going to do it. So I was down to do 20 and 30 minute trot sets on 3 horses, which I hadn't really been expecting and was a nice surprise. I had no idea how all the riding was actually going to work out!

The first horse I rode was Eddie (Linda's horse), who I don't think I've seen since he was a year old and he tried to eat my glove! He's got a huge head and a big personality, but he was a huge sweetheart the second I got on him. As it was raining we flatted up in the covered indoor. Buck is always on a horse and just threw me little comments when I got on the horse. Eddie's was "he knows everything, just kick his ass and make him do it!" I definitely can't always make the horses go how he wants, but for a 30 minute trot set I can get them in a frame and do a little bit of lateral work. It's pretty awesome riding in an arena with Buck, Kenzie, and Andrea (Buck's girlfriend), they're all fabulous!

Next I went to get on Simon, a 4-year-old off the track TB. All the tack is communal but adjusting a bridle to fit Eddie's chunky head and Simon's fine little head was definitely an achievement. I got on him down by the stables and then wandered up to the covered indoor, and then things got slightly more exciting. Simon had apparently never worn a flash before, so wasn't too pleased about that. Took off slightly down the long side, then Buck told me to get off and take off his flash. So I jumped down and tried to hang on as Simon danced all over back towards in the in gate. Eventually Kenzie came over and switched with me - haha! So I got to finish the trot set on a fun little mare called Libby, instead.

Third horse was Catalina. SO FUN. She's Coren's horse I believe, a big chunky mare with again, a huge head. Definite sweetheart and just completely auto frames, it's great! Buck's little comment about her was to try and get her nose more out in front of her and actually connecting over the top line, which I couldn't quite get to but got her pushing off her back end and into my hands a bit, and had a lot of fun.

Since it was raining, Buck didn't ride that many horses, so it wasn't too terribly busy. Charm and my parents showed up around 4, which was really exciting! Charm came out great, really relaxed and just happy to mooch around and eat some grass. All of the horses were in because of the rain, but they had nicely kept a stall for her and she got to hang out in between Buzz and TJ and was very sleepy after such a long trailer ride! My parents were really helpful in moving all of her tack into the tack room and getting Charm all settled in. She is VERY adorable.

Because all the horses were in we had to pick 18 stalls instead of 6, which was a BIG difference! So after mucking out, doing water, hay, grain, tack cleaning, boot cleaning, and raking, I think we got out around 6:30. Came home to an actual home cooked dinner (sooo nice after eating microwavable chicken nuggets!), organized all of Charm's trunks (she has 3!) and passed out :)

Today was an AMAZING day. Truly incredible. Got up, and Mum was up and around and made me a sandwich for lunch (love you, mommy!), and I headed off to work. It wasn't raining like it had threatened, which was nice, but all of the horses were still in. Kept them in as most of them were getting ridden and got down to picking stalls. Got all 18 done and was changing over water when Buck started riding. They were doing some jumping today and the arena was pretty wet, so all the horses came back encased in a nice layer of muddy sand - yum! This was the busiest I had been by far and I was a bit overwhelmed. Since all the horses were in we didn't really have enough stalls. Everything is communal so besides Bobby who always has his own stall at the end (and he has his own tack on a special hook), and Reggie usually gets the stall next to him, everyone just rotates totally freely. It's nice, but means everything got a bit confused!

So I didn't manage to finish filling water buckets for another two and a half hours because Buck or Andrea or Kenzie would come back every twenty minutes with another horse to hose off and put away. It was pretty cool to see all those horses come through though and make sure they were all taken care of.

We were doing long trot sets today, so packed up 5 of the horses and went over to Buck's County Horse Park (or something like that) for a fun trail ride. I rode over with Andrea who is SO sweet and very chatty, which makes for easy going. I rode Catalina again today and went out on a 40 minute trot set with Buck on Bobby, Kenzie on Reggie, Andrea on Fergie, and Callie on one of her horses, I think called Addie. Pretty cool being on a trail ride with Bobby and Reggie. The horses all have to work on their trail rides tho, and do shoulder fores and haunches in and kept working into frames the whole time. There's also a definite pecking order, which is fun to watch. Buck does everything first, then either Andrea of Kenzie, then Callie (who I haven't quite worked out what she does, she has her horses at the barn but doesn't seem to work for Buck? I'm sure it'll become clear soon), and then I would never dare use the mounting block before anyone else or go in front of them in line! It was a nice day, though, and the horse park was GORGEOUS. Fun little XC jumps everywhere and a nice day to go out for a big trot. My toes fall asleep though, haven't quite gotten all those muscles strong enough yet!

Hauled the horses back to Buck's, and then he told me to tack up Charm and he would meet me up in the covered indoor. SO EXCITING. I threw jump tack on Charm and went and warmed her up. I haven't ridden her in 5ish months now I think, but my mum's been doing great work on her and she felt wonderful! I love that pony a lot. Buck eventually came up to the indoor on Haifa and watched me ride a bit. Had me going in a canter circle around him pushing Charm into a bit of a shoulder fore to try and get her straight and really get her to bend. Her canter felt awesome by the end of it! I really like working with him, he's very straightforward and doesn't get upset if something doesn't go perfectly the first time. Very nice trainer.

He was very complimentary of Charm (YAY!) and said we should go down and jump a little bit. Andrea had thought Charm was super cute in her stall and so came down to watch as well. Pretty awesome walking down with Buck. He's really nice to just chat with and was very interested in Charm and what she'd done and what I was planning on doing with her. I've entered Plantation Field for June 5th at Beginner Novice so that should be fun.

We watched the end of another girl's lesson with Tonya, the other trainer at the barn, and then Buck jumped Haifa around a bit. It's wonderful to see him ride. So soft, and makes a decision so far out and is incredibly clear about it. Very cool. Then he set a 2 foot vertical and asked me to circle right over it. Charm came around the first time, and had been so quiet and relaxed the whole time which was awesome, but then POPPED the first jump (as she does). Must have jumped at least 3'6" over the little thing, eliciting an "OH MY GOD!" from Andrea, in a very positive way :)

She was ducking hard right when Buck asked me to make sure she landed on the right lead, but he was very patient and impressed with my little pony. He said, "you're a nice little rider, huh?" which may or may not be my favorite compliment ever :) As he had really never seen me ride before, I think he was happy! He kept saying "oh we can definitely work with this" and seemed positive all round, which was great. Andrea knocked the vertical up to about 2'9, 3' (or at least it felt huge to me after the IHSA!) and said to come round to it again. Charm still left about a foot of space over it but was an angel and jumped everything perfectly. We went down to an oxer a couple of times too, and then called it a day as she had just traveled so far. Buck and Andrea both seemed to love her, which was a great feeling. Buck asked me what my goals for the season were, and I said that if I could get her confident at Novice I'd be very happy and he quickly came back and said "oh, she'll be going Training by the end of the season." SO COOL. Compliments from Buck are prettyyyyy exciting.

I don't think you'll be able to see these pictures unless you're my facebook friend, but if so -!/album.php?aid=2049887&id=1143060351 there are some pictures from my lesson today!

Untacked Charm, and washed her and Haifa down. I'd managed to miss a lot of evening chores, and Kenzie had done all 18 stalls by herself, which I was very grateful for! She is really sweet, I'll be sad to see her go in 2 weeks. I'm not really sure what Buck is going to do without her. She gives injections, does all the wrapping, does a lot of riding for him; it'll be interesting to see how it all works out. Brandon's gone for a week now too at his siblings' graduation so we'll see how it goes with less people!

I cleaned tack while my parents chatted with Buck about riding with his dad and Jacek (sp?) back in the day. Everyone seems to know and miss Jacek a lot! Ended up cleaning the tack, doing water, washing the last set of boots, and then Charm got to go out overnight, which was awesome. She's been fabulous so far. Really relaxed and very happy to go outside in a new field with some bits of grass. We're going galloping tomorrow at Bruce's, which should be AWESOME, so Charm'll get to be out all day, which is nice.

Rushed home after chores, as my parents and I were going to Morimoto (the Iron Chef's restaurant) for dinner. Most amazing meal I've had in my life. 9 course tasting menu. Soo many things I would never order for myself, but ended up being incredible! Started with toro tartare, then oysters 3 ways, striped bass carpaccio finished with hot oil (SO tasty), scallops sashimi, almond spearmint spritzer (a bit like drinking toothpaste, but tasty), pan seared lobster with yuzo creme fraiche, kobe beef and pickled ramps (INCREDIBLE), sushi, which apparently has the cleanest taste, so served last; toro, maguro, herring, red snapper, clam and (a slightly American addition) desert of strawberry bavarois with miso ganache and macaroon. Absolutely amazing. Not bad to have my first lesson with Buck Davidson and the most amazing meal ever all in one day!

Galloping tomorrow - can't wait!

Monday, May 17

First Day!

So - day #1 is complete! And I'm still in one piece! Amazing, but true. Anyways before I start recounting everything - let me just give a couple of disclaimers -

- I've never made a blog before, so this is a bit of a test run, so don't be too judgmental!
- I sometimes think I'm funnier than I am... again, please be nice :)
- There is a WHOLE lot of gossip that goes around (as I feel like there does at any barn), but I'm working to keep an open mind and not bring too much bias into work or here.
- I say definitely, pretty much, and apparently... a lot. Just a heads up, haha.
- Also just a whole bunch of thank you's to people that this literally could not have happened without - Linda Bamann for helping me get this position in the first place, Chris for all the countless lists and advice, Deanna for letting Charm have a sleepover, taking care of Hickory, and convincing my parents I'm not going to die, and my parents for packing more stuff into a truck and trailer than anyone knew was humanly possible and hauling little Charm all the way cross country for me! And to everyone who's wished me well and been excited for me - it makes this process all a whole lot more exciting and fun knowing I have 'fans' backing me up :) Without you guys this wouldn't be possible so really, thank you!

Well I guess I'll just lay out everything that's happened so far and we can go from there!

I finished finals up at Tufts (FINALLY) early Friday morning, and then spent the entire day packing my life into Katie C (my co-captain)'s basement and my car. It all actually fit and thanks to Kris and Amber moving really wasn't too bad! Friday night was saying goodbye to all of my guy friends who are seniors and while they aren't going more than an hour away next year, it's not the same as having them across campus so that was definitely rough, but it meant the start to my adventure!

Headed down to PA on Saturday morning after a long goodbye to Amber (miss you!) and had a nice easy five hour drive. Gorgeous scenery, really nice weather and a James Patterson book on tape made the drive much more enjoyable than a chore. My GPS got me all the way here, even through all the back little PA roads, which I was quite impressed by. Once I found it, my apartment is AMAZING. Well, either that or I've just been living in a dorm single for way too long. But the family that owns the connecting house is really sweet (they left me a little fruit gift basket!) and welcoming. It'll be a bit different when Susan (the other working student who's sharing the apartment with me over the summer) comes, but for now it just feels like my single on steroids and it's awesome!

As my parents are bringing out all my cooking materials, I'm currently living out of a microwave. Could be worse! Most microwave dinners are made much better by drenching them in butter, and I even made corn (much to Deanna's chagrin that I didn't know how to do it without calling my dad!).

So Sunday was mostly a moving in day. I went over to Buck's barn in the morning, met Mackenzie (Buck's groom), and poked my nose around everywhere. Gorgeous facility. Two bigger more permanent barns that are used by Tonya, another trainer who works out of the same facility, and then another barn area for Buck. Five stalls in the main area with My Boy Bobby (ahh!), Reggie, and a few other of his prospects. Then two small barns up on a hill with a couple of horses in recoop and some other girls' horses. Huge indoor with fabulous footing, a nice big jump outdoor ring, and AMAZING cross country paddocks. Reminds me of the Kane's facility more than anything else (which is pretty freaking amazing), and really is gorgeous.

So today was my first actual day of work. I went into it literally having no idea what I was getting myself into or what to expect. So showed up with my little duffel bag full of stuff and prepared for anything. Got there at 7am, and no one was really around which was a little worrying. After a few minutes a couple of the girls started coming out, and one of them was nice enough to go wake up Brandon for me. Brandon is my life line to... everything. He's Buck's new head groom and is an absolute saint. Swears like a sailor, uses sarcasm more than straight English, and looks like a 22 year-old stuck in a 14 year-old's body - but he's awesome! Started me out picking stalls (starting with My Boy Bobby... AH!) and went off to start the barn up. I don't think I've ever been more terrified picking out a stall. I wouldn't leave the door open because I was convinced Bobby would take off and prettyyy sure if I lost Buck's best horse in the first hour of working I wouldn't be asked back! I got more confident after that and picked the rest of Buck's stalls and helped Brandon change water.

I then had to haul shavings up to Buzz (one of Buck's young prospect who's laid up with a bandage bow) and learned how to drive a 4-wheeler! Brandon didn't quite believe me that I had grown up with horses and didn't know how to drive a 4-wheeler but hey, now I have a new skill! Oh and that reminds me - the dogs. There are million of dogs everywhere on this farm. Little jack russels and pug mixes all the way up through boxers and great danes. The boxer's name is Cedric and he just lovesss chasing the 4-wheeler. Once again I was very convinced I was going to run over the dog and not be asked back, but luckily both dog and I survived.

Brandon and I did other chores throughout the day, moving jumps out the way for rings to be dragged, hosing off horses once Buck had finished riding them (yea I hosed off a *** horse today... wow), moving pens, and washing and putting ointment on one of his horse's legs. When we went to move the pens I saw the rest of Buck's horses who stay out all the time when he's not riding them (I'm pretty sure...). About 20 horses going all the way back, and all with amazing talent, it was pretty cool! I got to handwalk Buzz, bring Reggie in from the field, and learned the best method for raking the barn up at the end of the day. Brandon is great and walked me through everything, and I think I kept up pretty well. I can officially say that if I ever wanted to be a hand model that dream is over. I'm definitely going to develop some reallll cute callouses!

Apparently today was a ludicrously easy day. It really didn't feel too bad, which is a relief as apparently it's about to get a whole lot harder! Buck doesn't have a show or a clinic this weekend (which apparently never happens) so they're taking it easy for a couple days. I'm not complaining for my first few days here! Apparently we're usually sprinting from one end of the facility to the other getting horses for Buck, tacking them all up, and making sure everything runs smoothly. I can just about see how all of that is possible, but not sure how it's going to work with having Charm there as well. Also really have no idea where she's going to live or how anything with lessons work but hey... one thing at a time. I met Buck once today, which was pretty awesome. He seems to live with his phone attached to his ear, but also seemed to be a really nice guy. We'll see how it all works when my pony turns up tomorrow! I'm excited to see her and my parents - it's been almost 5 months!

I'm still a little nervous about everything, but can already feel myself much more confident around everyone at the barn. It'll be nice being able to show up tomorrow and just being able to grab a wheelbarrow and pitchfork, so I can at least feel kind of useful! I'm excited and definitely a littler apprehensive to see what a real busy day is like. Brandon also leaves for about a week on Wednesday, so no idea what I'm going to do without him around! It's all a bit of an adventure, but I'm definitely enjoying it so far.

Sooo excited for Charmzilla and my parents tomorrow! I'll let you know how it all goes :)