Tomorrow is Christmas 2010 and I was just sitting here at my ‘magnetic can’t move my as* away from it’ fire, thinking that it will be hard to top 2010 for excitement and thrills. There were certainly highs and lows, but mostly highs, so a memorable time.  It’s amazing how you can relegate all the bad stuff to some inaccessable file in your head and pull out the good stuff effortlessly.  It was a huge low in 2010 when we heard that we were going to have to relocate from Hawkridge Farm, but as I think back over the year, it’s the last thing that comes to mind, in fact I had a hard time remembering it.  The thought that springs instantly to mind is of course the WEG.  It was the end result of twenty years of hard work.  Since she was nine Selena has got up at whatever awful hour was decreed and helped with chores, braided her own horse (I remember Toby her first horse once had four golf balls and a tiddler), and travelled to shows every weekend whether she was riding in them or not.  Hours and hours of sitting in the saddle, plus hours and hours of watching paid off when she was matched with Colombo.  I hope Solo can be a worthy successor.

On that topic….Selena has started him back under saddle and I have had to hand him over.  I still get Colombo to ride until she takes them both away on the third of January which is our designated travel date.  Selena is doing a clinic near Ottawa on the first and second, so weather permitting, we are off to Florida on the following day.  As a result of the first competition taking place at the end of January, most of the horses are in full work.  Solo, Colombo, Foxwood High and Song of Songs are all working every day except tomorrow (Christmas).  They can’t afford time off if they are competing so soon and have a long trip and couple of recovery days ahead of them.  Already we are starting to feed extra salt and electrolytes to make sure everyone is in peak condition for the arduous drive down, while slowly raising the energy rations for the increase in activity.  If anything, I prefer the horses to leave here carrying a few extra pounds that they might ‘lose’ on the way down.  It’s a fine line to keep the extra chub but make sure they have done enough cantering to be able to start some gallops in January. 

We are not really jumping much.  The  young horses have just started hopping over little things and the older horses probably wont really jump school until they are in Ocala.  Mostly we flat school or lunge.  Trying to break the tedium for the horses with drill rides and occasional gymnastics.  Right now the hacking is pretty much non existent with the ground hard and lumpy and containing icy pools here and there.  Some of our paddocks have also frozen a little lumpy and we will be glad to get a good layer of snow on top.  We have quite a few mirrors at Balsam Hall and we are doing lots of exercises that make use of them.  The footing is great and so far we have had no dust problems.  These are always worries when you move into a different arena.  The wooden arena is MUCH quieter that the cover-all we have used for the past few winters.  Although we miss the size and light of the covered building, I must admit, you feel a lot more secure on the babies knowing the snow isn’t going to be sliding down the sides LOL.

Selena and I do the horses ourselves on Christmas Day.  We have a long standing routine where we slouch out to the stables around 8am and are immediately bombarded by shouts and screams of those who have waited an extra half hour for breakfast….sigh.  Once chores are done and the first set of horses is in the paddocks we go back in to eat, open presents, drink, open presents, eat more, open presents….and then lunch and afternoon chores, just good timing to work up an appetitie for the big pig out of the day.  We give all the horses their treats at night and leave the barn to the music of crunchings and munchings.

From tomorrow onwards it’s going to be a whirlwind of packing.  Since we still have a few boxes from the big move, it’s going to start with a whirlwind of unpacking.  You move in, unpack everything you absolutely have to have, make great plans to hang pictures here and hang pictures there, and then reality and everyday life takes over and you wonder where the time went.  I will have been at Balsam Hall for two months soon and it feels like I just got here a minute ago.  Looking around there is a lot that has been done and at the same time there is a depressing ‘to do’ list sits on my table week in week out.  I used to write a ‘to do’ list with a time frame in mind, I know better now.  I still have my ‘to do’ list and it gets done…..eventually.

I am looking forward to my first Christmas at my new barn.  It is a lovely barn and the horses are relaxed and happy which makes me relaxed and happy.   Our new working student Emma (who is wonderful) commented yesterday that “we have the best boarders ever” and it’s true.  Our boarders are THE best, and have been plying us with home made goodies for weeks it seems, during the lead up to Christmas.  Roll on Easter is all I can say to that!

Merry Christmas everybody, from all of us at O’Hanlon Eventing.