Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Ride For Grandpa -XC Day

Ears up and keep smiling.
It had, once again, rained all night. My stomach was churning, but it wasn't about the course. It was about the footing. I did not have Bacon's shoes drilled for studs, which was a poor poor choice on my part. I thought we would be good to go and that was wishful thinking. But surprisingly, the course soaked up a lot of the rain and the footing remained pretty decent. They had people up early working on the course with tractors and sand before anyone could think about it. I was impressed.
Forever awkward
I had watched two of our group members go and have nice rides (and a nice save!) before it was my turn to go. I went to check my phone while it was charging when I was tacking Bacon up. I immediately collapsed in a crying heap when I saw a text from my aunt. My grandpa Frank had passed away that morning. He had just entered hospice care that Wednesday, and my dad had flown out to Illinois to help the family with the process. I was stunned though, as I didn't think we were going to lose him that quickly.
Just galloping through
Blake came and knew exactly what was going on. He squeezed me tight and asked if I still wanted to ride. Yes. My grandpa Frank was incredibly strong, battling leukemia for several years, and I was going to be strong like him. I bawled as I tacked up my horse and put on my gear. My friends helped where they could, and I hopped aboard and headed to the very chaotic warm up. Just breathe, I thought. Just keep breathing.
Up the bank with those feets
Bacon was very game, and listened so well in warm up. She galloped politely by spinning, bucking, and bolting horses, took the warm up jumps in stride, and stood as I tightened her girth. We were ready. Out of the start box we went and off to the first jump.
She looks so beefy!
Bacon's first few jumps are always a little wonky, but we got our groove going after we hit the up bank. The first couple of jumps were nice and inviting: a log pile, cabin, table, up bank. After the up bank, it was straight up the hill and a quick turn to another table. Off through the woods to the jump I was most worried about. Not necessarily the jump, but the footing to it. It was on a steep downhill almost near the bottom. You needed enough gas to get over it, but not too much so you didn't slide into it. Bacon listened well, and made easy work of it. She was having a blast.
Never touch with the back feets
Off to the James wall we galloped, jumped the poop out of, and to the first water. She had to have a little peak at it, but was much better about getting in than last time and popped right over the jump out of it. I picked up the pace a little bit as we headed to the big wooden oxer, and she jumped that well too. This horse was on fire. Straight up the hill to our little corner bending line combo. She went right where I put her and hit the striding easily. A gallop on a muddy road to another table, and downhill again to the tiny ditch. She barely put forth any effort for the ditch.
Like I said

Don't touch.
Next was the brush, one I had been looking forward to, but it was laid out with a small portion of difficulty because it was on the top of a small mound. Have no fear, Bacon nailed it. Off to the trakhener we galloped, jumped a little awkwardly because I took to much pace (bad Alyssa!) and to our water jump combo. A little jump on a mound down into the water, quick right hand turn and jump out. It was so fun! My watch was yelling at me, so I kicked her on towards the finish.
Weeeee water!
Go Bacon go!
And out of the water
We had one table and one picture frame left, and Bacon jumped the table out of stride. A quick jump through the picture frame, and we were finished. Unfortunately, I racked up 2 time penalties, but that is ok. A safe ride is worth it. I was so happy with Bacon. She was amazing. I thanked her for giving me a nice ride for Grandpa and shed a few tears. I should also note that I had borrowed a friend's air vest. I have never worn an air vest. I also forgot to unhook said air vest when I dismounted. It felt like I had been shot when I jumped off and Bacon jumped sideways away from me but didn't leave. I apologized to her and stood there, confused. It deflated itself, and I started my crippled shuffle back to the barn. My legs hurt so bad, so I threw an arm over Bacon's neck and she shuffled along side me to bring me back.
Reach Baconator, reach!
Last jump!
My crew met up with me and took over Bacon's care while I sat down and drank fluids and tried to recover. We did it. We finished for grandpa. My horse was amazing, and despite the horrible news about my grandpa, she made me smile the whole trip. Even though she can be a ding bat, she is my ding bat. After xc, we kept our 9th place position. It was on in show jumping for the next day.
Just have to keep pushing on

18 comments:

  1. so very sorry for the loss of your grandfather :( congratulations on delivering a fantastic ride that would undoubtedly make him proud! you guys look great and Bacon is such a beast!

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    1. I am so thankful I have a Bacon to ride on a xc course, especially when I need extra help. Beast is right.

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  2. my condolences about your grandfather. bacon looked fantastic tho, and better to get time penalties in muddy footing than slip around.

    i did the same thing with my air vest earlier this summer; halfway off the horse i realized i was still attached so I clung to the saddle to prevent the pin from pulling until i could unhook myself lololol

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    1. Whoa, I'm impressed! That was not my case. I got it on the go pro though, so I may have to share...

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  3. So sorry for your loss. I'm glad you guys had a great ride!

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    1. Me too. I would have been even more of a wreck if we didn't have a good ride.

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  4. You and Bacon are so amazing and inspiring! Way to get it done, I'm sure your grandpa was smiling and fist pumping as you crossed the finish line!

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  5. I'm sorry sorry about your grandpa. Way to kick ass on xc in spite of the rough news.

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    1. There was no way I was going to let him down.

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  6. So sorry for your loss. Congrats on the awesome XC ride though. I jumped off once still attached to my air vest, but Nilla's short enough that it didn't go off, I was just awkwardly jammed up next to her.

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    1. Haha! Yeah, I'm 5'2" and Bacon is 16.3h so I didn't have a chance.

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  7. must.not.touch. She's such a gorgeous mare! I second Lindsey, you guys are truly inspiring. Especially with a loss like that right before :/

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    1. She HATES it when she hits her back leggies. Life is the worst when that happens.

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  8. I cried reading this. You made your grandpa proud I bet. Sending hugs.

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  9. I am so sorry about your grandfather. I think he would have been very proud of you.

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