After untacking Kat and putting him in his stall to relax, I headed back to the truck to make some calls, sit down and unwind a little. More like un-wind, as in to get out of the wind for a while. Although it was still pretty early in the day, I could tell I was already getting sunburned on the lower part of my face. I had worn and brought long sleeved shirts to protect my arms and the gloves cover my hands so everything was pretty much shaded.
Although it wasn't just the sun, I think the wind was doing it's fair share of damage too. One of my friends asked me about this- Isn't it hot wearing long sleeves in the sun like that? Actually no, it's not. The fabric keeps the direct sun off of you and when you do sweat- the fabric absorbs it, making an evaporative cooler effect and it's actually much cooler. Since they live where it is more humid on average, this wouldn't have the same effect there.
Off to find the hazards... I had thought about bringing my bicycle for this part and I am honestly glad I didn't. A lot of people have scooters, quads, gators and an assortment of motorized options to get them from point A to point B and back again. I have my truck and it does the job. Had I brought the bike, I would have gotten a workout worthy of rivaling any torture I put myself thru at the gym. Hahaha
Starting the hazards was to be up where the warmup for dressage was and from there you went down off the hill, slightly to the right and hazard 1 was right there. It was a maze of adobe brick walls, with essentially planter boxes in various areas, set up in a square and each with a notch in it for a place to set the gates for jumping it as a cross country course. I looked at it, scoped out our course, walked it a few times and stood back as I watched others walk it. Some of them were in the upper levels and had a different idea of how to get thru there. Parts of their course made sense to me and others didn't. They had horses, I have a small pony and can get away with more, like sharper turns, cutting thru here when they have to go thru there...
I drove over and parked between hazards #2 & #3. Hazard #2 was in the shade and had a water aspect for gate D. Since tomorrow would be Kat's first time on this course and this was a new water hazard, I looked at two different options at getting into the water to get thru gate D. Getting eliminated for not going thru D was just not going to be an option. I walked this hazard a few times, a few ways, stood back and looked at it, plotting, planning and walked it again.... Drew my way thru the it in the air with my finger and decided I was satisfied with that. Off to walk thru #3, the showjumping hazard. The fences are too high for actual jumps, but everything is bright and colorful as if there were horses to be popping over them.
Again I walked it, looked at it, watched others go thru it, modified my course, walked it again, drew my way thru in the air and walked it again before I was confident that 'This' is how we're going thru here. Then it was across the yard, over the hill and around the log jump to get to #4. I have no idea what this one was called. It was a bunch of log power poles in the ground with heavy boards attached and places to go in, out and thru it as if it were a maze. Another round of Look at it, study it, walk it 3-4 times, draw my way thru it, walk it again, change something, walk it so many more times and move on.
Hazard #5 had a lot of pointy corners with things set up in triangles and plenty of options for impaling your horse or yourself on something. Just kidding! (Maybe?) It was mostly round on the outside and had triangles on the inside. Another round of walking, drawing, studying, changing, walking, thinking, walking, walking, walking... and finally on to #6 the other water hazard.
There wasn't so much walking involved in this one since I didn't have my muck boots or waders, let alone sandals or shorts... This one was optional for all training level horses. They could try it, a lot of them did and I think they all managed to go thru it which is awesome. One of the club members that wasn't competing due to injuries was armed with his camera, loaded for bear and set up in the bed of the truck to get (Hopefully!) some awesome shots of everyone getting their feet wet. Discs with all of your pictures from the event, all three portions, are available thru them for $20 with all of the proceeds being donated back to the club. How cool is that???