We’re trying to find a way to get Spring Song to Guthrie, Oklahoma (just north of Oklahoma City) to arrive October 1st and she has to leave before noon on October 6th. Dominique talked with one of the major shipping companies. Here’s what they told her: no one ships from here directly to Guthrie. There’s a layover in Kentucky of one to five days. You never know how long the layover will be. This layover occurs on the way to and from Oklahoma. The cost is under $3,000.

From where I sit, there’s no way any horse I’m connected with is going on a journey like that. The problems are numerous: it’s too long, we would need to have one of us there with the horse during the layover, which is not possible on our budget (time wise or money wise), never knowing when the second part of the journey to Oklahoma starts means that we have to plan for the worse scenario possible, which is to allow for five days. The total time away for the horse to be away from our farm could be three weeks. I can’t imagine having a horse out of its normal grass-eating routine for that length of time. Then there’s the training time missed. Not to mention having the jobs I do here covered by people whom I trust, and throw in taking care of the vizslas!

So, we’re searching for other quotes with detailed information on what the route is, stopovers, etc.

If a safe, relatively economical option is not available I will be contacting the 2014 American Horsewoman’s Challenge head office and asking if the following is possible: if for some reason a competitor and her horse cannot get to the finals could she send in a video with the three components filmed October 3,4,5 including the competitor’s freestyle? The reward for a “passing score” could be a certificate announcing the competitor met the requirements. Why? I for one am meeting huge challenges in shipping the horse to Oklahoma in a timely fashion. To stop the challenge now after almost four months of preparation isn’t satisfactory. I’m keen to keep on pluggin’ and record what we’ve accomplished at the end of six months.

Another interesting element in the mix is a while ago I was contacted by the Headwater’s Stable Tour and asked if Winsong Farm would be on the tour. The weekend for the tour is the same time as the Challenge. I told the event organizers that we were scheduled for the Challenge, but things could change and the weekend might free up. Today I emailed the contact person and said at this moment we might not be able to get Spring Song to Oklahoma in a timely fashion at a reasonable cost, and would the Stable Tour like us in their line-up.

Meanwhile, we’re forging ahead pretending that all is well and preparing for the Challenge. IF the weather is not miserable on Sunday Miss Spring Song and I are heading for our first walk/trot class and trail class at a show. Next Sunday is our first Cowboy Dressage test at a show. Our lesson tomorrow with Alex will be filled with every obstacle we can dream up!

I asked Bill if he’d like to ride her for a few minutes. This occurred yesterday in the evening. The humidex during the day was very high (upper 30s) and Bill waited until the temperature cooled down. Of course today it’s downright COLD with a wind, go figure!

When he was riding Spring Song he had quite a bit of contact with her mouth. I suggested he should have a gentle loop in the reins and ride her with his voice, seat, balance. He said, “With no contact I don’t have any control over her.” I replied, “Yes you do! She’s learned everything from the ground with no contact. Give her a chance to obey you.”

I set up the gate for him to open, go through and shut. Because Spring Song is only three years old and doesn’t have the balance of an older horse when he leaned forward to reach the rope holding the gate closed she backed up. (She does love to go backwards! Zeloso is an artist at this, too.) Well, again and again he had to drop the rope because he was way too far from the gate post! I suggested he place her further forward with the post at his leg so that he wasn’t signaling the reinback. Because I’m Bill’s wife he didn’t take to the suggestion right away. But, got to give him credit, he figured out a way to maintain his balance over Spring Song’s centre and open the gate (pretty much with the post beside his leg….

Today during our morning ride I took Spring Song to the roundish pen attached to the southern end of the bank barn. She’s never been ridden in there and I’m always looking for new challenges for her to be successful at. The area isn’t big enough for her to do much trotting so I concentrated on walk, halt, reinback, a few steps left, a few steps right, turn on the forehand, turn on the haunches, etc. After watching Bill’s ride I was super aware of my contact with her mouth and wouldn’t you know, you can ride that sweetie with no contact at all. In fact, the next time I’m in that roundish pen I’ll ride her with no bridle.