I did a Ride-a-Test on Friday morning with Jennifer Conour, a dressage trainer and rider. For non-horsey friends, this means that I rode a dressage test (prescribed pattern at different gaits and in different figures), then she worked with me to imporve my weaknesses, and then I rode the test again. I quite enjoyed it. In my first test, I didn't quite get the connection I wanted. So she set about helping me rev Taco's engine and get straighter, especially to the right in the canter. She said she would rather I overdo the energy than underdo it (sounds familiar). On the second run-through, the test was much more energetic. I enjoyed the lesson-- Jennifer is a fun teacher!
That afternoon, most of the campers left, since camp was technically over. Susan, Sharon, and I had signed up for the schooling dressage show/ combined test the next day, so we stayed over. We had a great time that evening finding a lovely Italian restaurant in Carmel, IN. If you are ever up there and need a recommendation for a great place to eat, try Mangia!
I spent most of Saturday morning packing up and getting organized. Then I tacked up for my dressage. I tried to re-create the wonderful energy I had in my lesson with Jennifer the previous day, but didn't quite make it. Also, I forgot the stretchy circle part of my test and got an error. My score was 38.6, which is well above what we are capable of. A little past my sell-by date, y'think? It had been a long week. But I was glad to ride in the show as a rehearsal for going back to events this fall, and now I am very determined to ride with energy and finesse.
I was fairly pleased with my jumping round. Besides getting overexcited about the last fence and forgetting to ride the last line (sorry Taco, good boy), I thought our energy was good, and I wasn't trying to jump ahead! I tried to think "next" as I landed off of each fence, and kept my body up as I had done with Peter.
Then we loaded up and pulled out, waving goodbye to our home for a week. The trip went smoothly until we got to Elizabethtown, Kentucky. My truck's temperature gauge was inching higher and higher. Hmmm. I stopped for gas and got back on the road. It started out cool and then got hotter again. I decided I had best pull over and look at my options. I got off the highway onto a quiet side road.
I had delayed the start of our trip when I had noticed the truck running warm as we were leaving Nashville and I got some coolant to put in. Adding coolant had immediately fixed the problem, and I had merrily driven up to Indiana. Now, when I opened the hood of the truck, the fluid in the reservoir was boiling. Not good. I decided to call AAA (my US Rider had just run out), and found someone who would tow both the truck and trailer to Nashville (the truck for free but the trailer for $$$). Kate (to my immense gratitude) was willing to drive her truck to Nashville to tow Taco the rest of the way home.
Then one of those traveling miracles happened. A mobile diesel truck mechanic on his way home from a job drove by, and stopped to help. He opened up the radiator cap and had me start the truck. There was an air bubble in the radiator, he theorized, and he thought that he had been able to release it. We ran the engine for a while and the temperature seemed normal. He said that he thought I could keep driving. Yay! So I did. The gauge did inch up again, but stayed on the good side of the red. We arrived home late but safe. The truck went in for a coolant flush, new thermostat, and new radiator cap, and is now running cooler again.
(Taco says" "Wow, that was a looong trip. I am really grateful that Stacy gave me some wet beet pulp while we were waiting for help, but I was incredibly bored. At least I was pretty tired and I got some good napping in. I was so happy to see my friends when I got back! I had a lot to tell Rugie about and he got really excited about going to eventing camp someday.")
Taco's sleepy face (at camp on Friday afternoon)
I slept for half of the next day and I'm sure Taco did too. He was a complete star all week and I was so pleased with him!
My confidence is high and I am looking forward to Penny Oaks next weekend. I had a dressage lesson today and we worked on more of that good energy, despite the junebugs that like to dive-bomb Taco's face. We jump early next week and then we are off to Indiana again.