Anyway, here I am, about to start Week 4 of classes.
First things first: McKinna is doing well! To be honest, I've been averaging about 1 ride a week since...well...Inavale, in June. Turns out it's awfully hard for me to motivate myself to work hard on riding when I'm throwing everything into my research, and that definitely didn't get any easier when classes started. McKinna certainly doesn't mind this life of leisure, though!
We had a visit from the chiro last week, which I think made a big difference. McKinna had been fairly cranky about saddling and just wasn't into working - I didn't think much of it because I was so busy not being into working either. I hopped on for a little stretch-everything-out ride on Wednesday, and my mom has ridden a couple times since then, with positive results. Back to happy, ready-to-work pony.
Am now realizing that I never updated you guys about Inavale. The short story: it was fabulous. Dressage was pretty good for us, a little tense but not bad. I think we were middle of the pack. I was a bit concerned about XC because our entire XC-schooling of the year consisted of hopping over a few logs in Devin's back pasture, but I wasn't too worried. After all, this is McKinna, XC Rockstar Extraordinaire, we're talking about.
My favorite fence!
She did not disappoint! We blazed around that course and she took everything in stride, including a brand new ditch with very scary light-colored gravel on either side and a two-stride combination in the woods with a bit of a light-to-dark element. Double-clear, naturally. That moved us up to fifth.
If you'll recall, stadium was our downfall last year. So I was understandably a bit nervous coming into stadium on Sunday! I had a few things going for me, though. McKinna was overall a MUCH happier horse, because we decided to learn from our mistake last year and stable in one of the open pole corrals instead of a totally closed-in temporary stall. Huge difference.
McKinna's good-morning stretch in her pole corral
Also, we spent a good chunk of last year working really hard on our stadium to get up to C3 level, doing 3'3 courses and the like - so a Novice stadium course, even Inavale's fabulously decorated fences, looked pretty tame.
Even though it did have the dreaded horse-eating piano fence as fence #7.
Well, let's just say I needn't have worried.
We went in there and McKinna did her job. A little nervous, sure - but never any question about going over the fences. I did ride a little extra hard to fence 7! A clear round for us moved us up to fourth for our final placing.
So that was Inavale. Lots of friends and family came out to spend time with us, and I had a great time.
Other than that, nothing too exciting in horse-related news. I spent two weeks at the end of the summer doing paleontology field work in Eastern Oregon with my lab, which was ridiculously fun and also exhausting. At the moment I'm having a bit of a hard time juggling all my responsibilities. I've got a lot of short-term, recurring deadlines (classwork, mostly), a lot of Really Big Important Deadlines (mostly research projects and scholarships), and the handful of other things requisite to daily life like eating, doing laundry, and getting over a cold. So far I'm doing okay, but I've been spending a lot of time going between "Okay, I can do this" and "Aaaargh how the hell am I going to survive this term??"
Which, you know, sounds pretty much like I do every term, so I probably shouldn't worry too much. Maybe someday I'll learn to give myself a balanced schedule. On the plus side, I had a great ride tonight. It was sunny and crisp out at the barn, McKinna was cheerful (and insanely fluffy for a horse who was body-clipped a month ago), and I had a really nice dressage school. Felt good to get some solid work in.
I'll get up some video from Inavale for you guys to see. Other than that, don't hold your breath for frequent updates (I'm having a hard enough time treading water as it is!), but I'll check in when I can. Let me know what you guys have been up to! Maybe tomorrow evening I'll spend an hour or two getting caught up on everyone else's blogs.