The Top Ten Signs That You Have Just Spent a Week at an Eventing Boot Camp in Aiken, SC
The adult campers. This photo was a lot harder to take than it looks.10. You don't really notice the sand anymore.
There's a certain point where you just accept the fact that the sand is everywhere and it is not going away. Acceptance is the first step in dealing with the war on the sand. Sure, the footing is fabulous, but I do not need that famous footing sneaking into the linens.
9. Your farmer's tan has the crisp lines you wish you could get while painting a room.
Glove lines? Check. Helmet line? Check. Sleeve lines? Check. Annoying little 'V' shaped mark on your chest from your polo? Check. Legs the color of a fish belly? Double check.
8. Your legs have been quivering like jello for so long, it seems normal.
People are always surprised by how much I ride in an average week, but then I get here where we're riding every day for multiple hours and I end up with aching muscles anyway. And it's not just the people. The horses have a certain look they give you after the morning session when you go to get them for the afternoon session. The look that says 'you have got to be kidding'.
7. It doesn't matter how much you scrub, your nails are still not clean.
I have no cuticles. I bleed around my nails. My nails are still not fit to be seen in public. I give up.
6. Sleeping in to 7am feels like a decadent indulgence.
My roommate is a working student for my trainer, which means she's up for the first feeding of the day. Her alarm frequently goes off at 6:15am. That's cruel and unusual punishment in many states.
5. You can clean and reset a six horse trailer in your sleep.
We were cleaning out the six horse today and I realized that I didn't even have to think about it anymore. My body just knew the drill. It was a bit alarming.
4. Your trainer says 'jump that' and you no longer respond with 'omgwtf'.
On my first cross country school, I literally squeaked 'what?' at my first Beginner Novice sized fence. Today? I was jumping the (little) steeplechase fences in Hitchcock Woods by my own choice. Fiona was eating it up (yes, she was sound today).
3. The dirt roads are less -- scratch that, the dirt roads are even more annoying after being here a week.
I swear I'm going to lose a filling to those roads. The washboards are horrendous and they just keep getting worse! I can only imagine what the horses are thinking when the entire trailer is vibrating like an unbalanced washer on wheels. I feel like we're going to open the door and the horses are all going to look at us with those spinny eyes you see on cartoons.
2. Anything other than boots and breeches feels like dressing up.
I showed up to dinner tonight wearing a button down shirt and clean jeans. My hair was brushed. One of my fellow campers didn't recognize me when she first saw me.
1. You can barely remember that other life and career that is waiting for you back home.
Tomorrow I head back to the frozen tundra. I can't imagine going back to life where it's not my job to pick Fiona's paddock and that I won't be there to see her in the morning. Someone else is going to toss her hay and water her? And I have to ride in an indoor? It all seems so unreal after taking a week and devoting it completely to my horse. But it's worth it. I got a lot of bonding done with my mare and we learned a lot this week. We have a two-phase back home on April 17th, and I am calmer than I've been since I bought her at the prospect.
A special thank you to my fellow campers for the pictures and for helping out with this top ten.
Home again, home again, jiggidy jig.