Honestly, I could have sworn that I had written an update in the past year, but apparently, I have not. Life got a bit busy, but I do want to get back to blogging so here we go with some updates!
In April, I moved from California ALL THE WAY BACK across the country to South Carolina and the Charleston area. Our actual drive across the country started with seeing the Pacific Ocean and really did finish with seeing the Atlantic. It was a long few days that literally no one was looking forward to, but we made it without incident and happy to be back on the East Coast.
This move did mean I had a big decision to make. Grayson, who had never been happy or particularly sound in California, would obviously be making the trip, but I wasn’t totally sure what to do about May. She has been thriving in California with her wonderful leaser and has just been so happy with her whole situation. For her, the lack of grass out there is a godsend, as I was no longer worried about her unintentionally eating herself to death… a real possibility when you are a corgi horse.
Ultimately, I realized that all I would be doing once I moved May to SC would be trying to find the exact same situation for her here, except with humidity and fewer connections. So I spoke to her leaser, who took me up on the offer of a long term, full care lease. I could never sell May, and I miss her constantly. But I know that this is the best situation for her. Since I have left, they have done a recognized event, gone on a trail ride near the beach, and are gearing up for their next couple of events. Obviously whenever her leaser is ready to move on or May needs to actually retire, I will bring her here, but until then, they are both having a blast in California together.
Meanwhile, Grayson moved out here at the beginning of May with Equine Express. It basically took a full week, but he did get a break at their layover facility in Texas for a couple of days. As what always seems to happen, he was delivered at about 5AM, in the dark, but just like in California, he walked right off the trailer and calmly took in his new home. Granted, I definitely think he was sold on the place as soon as he saw all the grass.
Given that this was a long-term move vs. the 2.5 – 3 years we spent in both KY and CA, I had a pretty rigid list of requirements for a barn outside of the typical reliable care, clean water, etc. Luckily, I have amazing friends and some pretty good connections at this point, so I was able to get a recommendation and ended up moving into the first (and only) barn toured. And honestly, it’s been just amazing for both of us.
1. Good turnout – Honestly, I wanted as much turnout as possible in a big, safe field with a small group. Check!
2. Open Space – I wanted trails/fields so that not ever ride had to be in an arena (something I think Grayson struggled with in California). Check!
3. Close to Home – Ideally, closer was better, but I wanted to be within 20 minutes. After driving 35 minutes down the highway (without traffic) for more than 2 years, I was fully aware of how much that additional 30 minutes of drive time dipped into my ability to not just ride, but see Grayson without feeling the obligation to throw a leg over because I just spent an hour fighting through traffic.
With an actual drive time of 18 minutes, this barn fell right in that sweet spot. I did consider a couple of options closer, within 10 minutes, but they didn’t quite meet my other requirements.
There were some things I was totally willing to give up (and I did) with this move.
There’s no onsite trainer. There are instructors that give lessons regularly, but it’s not a requirements and most boarders don’t take lessons. There are, however, a number of trainers that regularly come to the barn and give lessons, and I have been luckily enough to snag a couple with a local gold medalist and FEI Dressage trainer who has been helping us patch up some holes in our training. She has a thoroughbred that she has moved up the levels, so it was really helpful to get that perspective on what we’re doing. (also – finally used my Pivo and it was awesome!)
There is a local 4* eventing trainer that used to be in Southern California (small world!), so I am hoping to connect with her one day, along with meeting up with some people in Aiken for lessons/clinics. Of course, all of that relies on me finding a trailer, so wish me luck on that search!
I’m sure anyone who has ever ridden with me for any length of time knows that I am not a massive competitor. My favorite saying is, “We’re just playing in the dirt with ponies.” I like improving my riding, trying new things, etc, but showing takes a lot out of me and is tough to juggle alongside the adulting parts of my life. So I want to try some new things out here. I have already contacted a local hunt about getting involved more with foxhunting (of course depending on finding a trailer/a ride), and I have a new love/appreciation for Dressage that may take us more into that territory.
But the trust is for most of the past few months, I have been keeping things super low pressure. Sure there is learning going on from both Grayson and me, but ultimately, we are just continuing to build our partnership, so we can confidently tackle whatever adventures come our way.