A Happy Year

A Happy Year

A wise friend once told me that you don’t really know how a relationship will look until a full calendar year passes. The idea is that if you’re still together at that point, you’ve weathered each season and seen all that comes with it (good

A wise friend once told me that you don’t really know how a relationship will look until a full calendar year passes. The idea is that if you’re still together at that point, you’ve weathered each season and seen all that comes with it (good and bad). I think this generality can apply to many things in life, from settling into a new house, for instance, and seeing how it holds up to weather extremes, to managing a new horse in a new career.

[instagram url=”https://www.instagram.com/p/68nzZ2l_AY”]

Through every season, Happy has been … well, happy, and generally as dirty as possible. Photo: Courtesy Stephanie L. Church/TheHorse.com

I’ve been keeping you updated on adventures with my retired Thoroughbred racehorse, It Happened Again (Happy), whom I bought a year ago Sunday, and who’s been with me here in Kentucky since the turn of the year. After making nice progress with our riding and training, we took our first trip off the farm in September to participate in a Thoroughbred show at the nearby Kentucky Horse Park.

[instagram url=”https://www.instagram.com/p/7WPitll_NG”]

Happy during his ear-trimming session before the horse show. Photo: Courtesy Courtney Heeney/TheHorse.com

Happy was his usual curious and cheerful self the day of the show, loading and hauling like a champ, then unloading and calmly surveying his surroundings. The venue was the grandiose Rolex arena, flanked by a giant grandstand, flags, a Jumbotron, and a pond complete with fountains and ducks! We had a chance to school in the arena before our classes, and he didn’t seem to mind any of the potential distractions.

In fact, he only had one startle the whole day: During our school, he cleared his nose beside the grandstand, and the echo caused him to plant his feet and look up into the empty stands, incredulously, as if to say, “Where are all my fans?”

[instagram url=”https://www.instagram.com/p/7pjWrPF_Hk”]

Happy schooling in the Rolex ring. Photo: Courtesy Erica Larson/TheHorse.com

But we did have our fan club that morning, and for them I was very grateful. Three members of our team, Erica, Alex, and Shawna, came out to support Happy and me. They helped tame my tresses with a new-fangled hairnet (I had not shown in 14 years!), cleaned the green off Happy’s mouth, helped me tack up and recall my courses, and took photos. A friend from the barn shouted some pointers as we warmed up (basically, “breathe!”).

[instagram url=”https://www.instagram.com/p/71cyXOF_Ez”]

Happy in our War Horse In-Hand Class in the Rolex ring. Photo: Courtesy Alexandra Beckstett/TheHorse.com

Even though we only schooled over two of the jumps we’d have in our class, my brave horse had four clear rounds. I think he could’ve set the land-speed record for cross-rail jumpers, had I let him, but we decided to take it easy and have a calm­-as-possible learning experience.

Happy was super serious about his horse show debut in the 18″ cross-rail jumper division.

Photo: Suzanne Fischer

In the end, Happy won reserve champion in his division, along with a tip of the hat for being the highest earner among his retired racehorse counterparts at the show.

[instagram url=”https://www.instagram.com/p/7iXSW9l_Co”]

Happy back home after the show. Photo: Stephanie L. Church/TheHorse.com

It wasn’t so much that we walked away with prizes at our first show, but that we had a completely positive experience. Happy confirmed what a solid citizen he is.

It’s been almost a year since I met my horse and brought him to Kentucky. We’ve weathered abscesses, hives, hard-keeper struggles, pasture injuries, and saddle-fit issues. But, more importantly, we’ve thrived, learning new skills, attempting new feats, and building a foundation of trust that I hope will serve us well into the future.

[instagram url=”https://www.instagram.com/p/9jjfXql_FW”]

Happy at his second hunter pace, in November. Video: Sharon Shephard/TheHorse.com

As the year draws to a close, I hope you’re also able to reflect on a safe, enjoyable year with your horses.

This column originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of The Horse. 

[instagram url=”https://www.instagram.com/p/9RCxxEF_LW”]

Happy in the fall. Photo: Courtesy Stephanie L. Church/TheHorse.com

Lifestyle

Les Mills Fitness Club, Auckland City, New Zealand

Last year, after having been in business for more than 50 years, the New Zealand fitness powerhouse Les Mills completed the design of an additional facility across from its flagship location on Victoria Street in Auckland City. The addition is a thoroughly re-configured industrial building that now houses three new

Read More »
HQ Magazine

HQ Lockdown Guide – free until 1st June

The HQ Lockdown Guide is free for download from the following link until the 1st June. Get yours today! https://bit.ly/hq-eqldg The guide contains articles on getting back to riding, the power of mindfulness, the technique of visualisation, wonderful mental coaching advice from Linda Hennings of Forging Ahead and much much more! It is jam-packed with… Read More »HQ Lockdown Guide – free until 1st June

The post HQ Lockdown Guide – free until 1st June appeared first on HQ Magazine.

Read More »
Lifestyle

Casa RJ, Mantua, Italy

Sometimes we find ourselves contemplating our preferences. Or, let’s be truthful here, that’s all we ever do. We keep re-evaluating our preconceived notions and questioning whether we still like what we used to like, or have we discovered something that has changed our earlier views. One of the juxtapositions we

Read More »
Lifestyle

Villa Varoise, Var, France

The angular 5,300 square-foot (492 sq.metre) Villa Varoise is a project that took its time to become a reality. Boston-based architecture firm, NADAA, completed the initial plans for the residence in 2012 and broke ground on the site in 2013. The plans for the family retreat, then dubbed “Dortoir Familial” or

Read More »

AskHQ: Curry comb conundrum

Q: I have recently heard that plastic curry combs can do damage to horses’ hair, removing its natural oils. Is this true? What should I be using instead? Asked by Sam Waite A: Recent research has suggested that cheap plastic curry combs, especially those with sharp teeth, can cause damage

Read More »
Lifestyle

Penthouse M, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Those familiar with the 1980s architecture will recall the curved whiteness and plastic-y expanses that were so modern then but today seem like tacky cruise-ship design. Some globally recognized buildings of that era include the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver. Designed by architect Eberhard Zeidler the hotel is part of

Read More »