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 :)