We’re having a little time out from the Howdy blog to cover a trip to Florida for the USEA Instructor Certification Seminar in Ocala Florida. Since I was coming to Florida on Monday for that, I called my friend Denise Loewe to see if I could hangout with her in her big ol’ camper that is parked near Buck Davidson’s barn in Ocala. “Absolutely,” she said, “and you should come down a few days early and groom and navigate for me at the Spring Fling Combined Driving Event.” What fun, I’m in.
So I flew in to Orlando SFB late on Friday night, forgot which rental car agency I made reservations with through the airline, figured it out by playing it cool and just following a lot of other people on my flight to Alamo, (thank you God, that worked), got my luggage and car and drove two hours to Orlando and went straight to sleep when I got there. (And if you believe that last part, about going straight to bed after seeing my friend again after almost a year hiatus, you are having a silly moment. We might have stayed up talking and drinking wine until 1. Might have happened.)
Up early on Saturday to walk the obstacles on marathon. I was completely overwhelmed, to the point of losing my ability to speak because of these thoughts tangling in my brain:
- How do people remember all these gates?
- Do people know that these wooden objects will not move when hit with a carriage/horse/human?
- And wait, only time in the obstacles are penalties, the rest of it is basically working trot?
I was with Debbie Egan and Margaret Shenker and Denise walking the course. Debbie and Margaret are very experienced combined drivers, Denise is moderately experienced, and on Friday I didn’t even know that drivers cantered (for god’s sake!) through the obstacles. Me walking the course with them reminded me of one of my favorite sketches on Sesame Street – one of these things is not like the other.
The learning curve was daunting as a cold, granite cliff face, and I was a babe wandering barefoot and sleeveless in the foothills. My climb involved many questions after I recovered my ability of speech. Some frantic Youtube searching, an important sheet of times for each section given to me by the benevolent Margaret, who saw my need before I even knew of its existence, and a little zen time alone with the obstacles completed my ascent to feeling somewhat prepared to navigate marathon for Denise.
The days were happy, long and exhausting (and I didn’t have access to wifi, horrors!), so I didn’t make a blog entry Saturday and Sunday night, but I did make this video compilation that will give you a good idea of the gist of how the weekend went. Crazy fun. If you find an opportunity to go to/volunteer at/groom for/navigate at a combined driving event, do it! So fun!