Spring Time Allergies

If Pirate had it his way, he would have me believe he’s allergic to dressage.

Now it isn’t that he’s bad on the flat – not at all! In fact, I think he’s rather fancy for a $600 Thoroughbred I found at the track as a 3-yr-old in ‘06. (Back then he wasn’t The Gentleman Pirate – he was Bub The Scrub. So it was NOT his fault the record of his last races reads “Early speed, stopped,” because they doomed him for failure with a name like Bub The Scrub). And he certainly doesn’t hate the dressage, especially now that he’s a Big Intermediate Horse, and its all a lot more exciting in our test with all that fancy sideways stuff and several opportunities to show what a big impressive stride he has. No…it isn’t difficulty, dislike, or lack of ability that sends him into a sneezing fit when I ask for a collected trot, allergy attack lasting until the moment even a lowly cross-rail enters his line of vision and all allergens mysteriously clear the air. (Picture every teenage movie ever made, where high school nerd with glasses and an inhaler one days ditches the glasses, puts his hat on backwards, and suddenly rules the school). See it’s just that…well…trotting circles is okay and all, but runnin’ and jumpin’ is more FUN!

I take the blame for my boys’ sudden need for Claritin. First, after 2 wins and a 2nd place finish in the 3 Prelims we ran over the fall, I moved him up to Intermediate in November. The Big Move-Up was scheduled to happen at Middleburg HT in September, directly after the American Eventing Championships, but neither of these things happened due to a stifle injury sustained in the paddock with his girlfriend. (We didn’t ask questions). Once it healed up, Baby P rocked his way through those Prelims, and after the win at Paradise, the idea of depleting my year’s competition money with an end-of-season move up at Rocking Horse started to make sense.  Last time we went to Florida, Pirate won the Long Format Three-Day in Ocala, so before allowing thoughts of fuel prices to overwhelm me, I e-mailed Nancy Russell and begged acceptance of a late entry. And the next thing I knew, Pirate, Vin Diesel (my truck, which hit 300,000 miles in August, thank you very much!) and I were headed south, with Momma Briggs and Daddy Bill for company. Mom, our number one supporter/groom/cheerleader, rarely misses an event, but Dad…ummm…well let’s just say that at the 2nd fence on our course walk, he told me I should “skip that one,” if that gives you an idea. (By the end of the walk, he was asking a friend of mine if it was possible for us to jump ANY, much less all, of those fences, and calling Grandmother Briggs to tell her he feared for my life…which led to the ultimate Christmas present: one of those cool blow-up vest thingies).

As it turned out, we did NOT skip fence 2 (or anything else on course), and Pirate totally rocked his first Intermediate. He skipped around the cross-country and came to the end of it a much older and wiser horse than the one who had bounced up and down in the start box minutes before. The next morning, he nearly jumped me out of the tack over the first few show-jump fences, because, “MOM! They’re BIGGER now!!! WOOHOO!!!!!!!!”

And so, with that strong 4th place finish (I know it was nearly 2nd, Pirate – I pulled those rails, dear, not you!), we END our season just when Pirate thinks it’s starting to get FUN. And worse yet, due to my lack of arena (we school in his pasture) and the rather wet winter we had here in Charlotte, we barely did anything all winter but school on the flat when footing allowed, and trot. Trot, trot, trot. If I have ever met you in my life – even if it was for 5 minutes at the tack shop last summer, or once at a steeplechase 2 years ago – chances are you got asked on a trotting date. Even with me for company, Pirate gets awfully bored on trot-sets, and as for me…well…when left to my own devices, I tend to turn a trot-set into an adventure through the woods searching for something, ANYTHING, to jump. At least company helps keep me in check…some of the time, at least. But I digress.

So can you really blame the guy? Pirate, after ending his last season on such a high note, is ready to have at it again. He’s had his taste of jumping by now and can think of nothing else. We’ve done a handful of jump lessons, galloped with a proper racehorse, and popped around a couple events to get us awake and sharp for what lies ahead.   The Big Stuff.


Baby P is ready to take the “Baby” out of his name – he’s a big kid now, remember?  So come April, when you hear us snorting and sneezing our way up centerline, forgive us; it isn’t his fault, and after all, it IS springtime. Just say, “Godbless you, P!”, and then look for the purple and gold on cross-country day.

I promise our allergies will have disappeared by then.

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3 Responses to Spring Time Allergies

  1. Lynda Clary-Burke says:

    Love the website, Kelsey (Thank you, Jamey!) – Rasta has HORRIBLE sneezing, snorting fits right now (wierd, but he doesn’t do this in Aiken…???). Not fun when he pulls me out of my saddle as he blows the yellow crap out of his nose…glad it’s not in the middle of an Intermediate dressage test – hahahaha. Love Mr. Big, sneezy nose and all. good luck in all your events and can’t wait for more on the website – you write as well as you ride! :)


  2. Becca says:

    Love the website Kelsey! You guys are doing a great job with it. And the previous comment is right – you do write very well! Looking forward to hearing more adventures! :-)

  3. Pingback: No White After AEC’s…

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