Back in the Swing of Things

While the rest of the team was busy packing to head back to Albion, I sat in a conference room and learned everything there is to know about UtlraTax CS.  Although I’m sad that I won’t be going back to Albion until the fall semester, I really like this internship, and depite not being on campus, I still qualified for IHSA Regionals!!

Here are two of Eliza's younger students. (The handsome Paint gelding on the right is Stretch.)

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Unlike the other girls, who had an afternoon lesson with Denise at Nottawa to prepare for the MSU meet, I had a reunion at home with my trainer, Eliza.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve had the time to take a lesson with her, so I was super-excited to have the chance to go out and see her and her new barn.  And of course, after she said hello and we swapped a few stories, she got out one of my favorite school horses, Stretch!  He is a 17 year-old paint gelding, and he’s quite a treat to ride.  We had a great lesson and it really prepared me for the weekend’s events.

After a good nights rest, I drove to MSU and got there early to watch the horses warm up.  There were several good-looking western horses, as well as a few pretty shaggy looking mounts.  (It’s January in Michigan, though – what are you going to do?)  Since I only needed two points to qualify, I was pretty relaxed and not to worried about my rides.  The first draw rolled around, and I drew an open horse that was a quite woolly gymkhana horse and  much prefered the gallop to the lope.  For reining, I then drew a very cute western horse who won several of his rail classes – but when it came to big fast circles, he was less than willing.  (Needless to say, if the two had been reversed, it would have been perfect.)  But I was able to qualify, so I was satisfied.

Then, towards the end of lunch break, chaos struck.  You see, one of the riders who had been tied for the High Point award was unexpectedly pulled from the show, which caused everyone to wonder why.  It turned out that the afternoon judge currently had one of his horses in training, which according to IHSA rules disqualifies him for that show. It was a real bummer because he really deserved the win and he would have done a great job representing our zone.  But we have rules in place for a reason and we have to uphold them.

I might not have drawn one of the real reiners, but my lucky teammate Chelsea Utt did!

After the dust settled, we started the second draw and I have to say that the most disapointing part of my day was that trainer Trevor Walton was there with three of his really nice reining horses, but I didn’t manager to pull any of their names for my mounts.  Luckily though, he’s going to allow Albion to use his horses at Regionals when we host them next month, so I’ll have another chance at them then. Overall, Albion finished third in our zone and we had eight girls qualify for Regionals as individuals – not too shabby if I say so myself.

Since that weekend, I was successfully launched on the phones at my internship, which was stressful at first.  After just a few days, I’m already in the swing of things, however.  I’ve talked to a lot of  interesting people and have also been yelled at by a few times by some grumpy customers. Overall though, it’s very rewarding to be able to help out and I feel very smart when I know the answers and can help them quickly.

So what if the Camaro can't pull a horse trailer?

I also found time to go to the Detroit auto show with James. We usually go every year and both enjoy checking out the new cars.  I’d still say that my favorite is the Camaro – though I wouldn’t mind driving a Bentley either!  There were a lot of cool concept cars and I also scoped out a couple of trucks that I’d like to see pulling my horse trailer some day.

Speaking of horses, Image and Tuffy are well – although we did have the vet out a couple days ago to look at Image’s eye.  It turns out she got a sliver in her lower eye-lid while rubbing her face, but luckily it didn’t damage her eye and it should heal up quickly and leave no scar.  We have to put ointment in her eye twice a day, but she’s a good girl about that kind of stuff.

Before I go, I would like to wish a happy birthday to Denise, who will be another year older on the 28th.  We all love you Denise!!  In addition, congratulations to all of the regional qualifiers at last weekend’s show!

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