OK, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cooooold out there today. (Quoting Bill Murray’s 1993 masterpiece Groundhog Day, of course.)
Happy Groundhog Day, Horse Nation!! Will the groundhog see its shadow? I can never even keep it straight–if he sees his shadow, does that mean we’ve got six more weeks of winter? Or have I got it backwards? What if, as seems to be the case with much of the country, winter never even showed up in the first place? And all this is predicated on a large, furry rodent? Truthfully, I find the whole thing perplexing.
Now that I’ve got a headache, I’m going to hand the reins over to Horse Nation guest contributor Emily Kelly. Emily, an almost-16-year-old Minnesota event rider, has some horsey tasks to keep you busy no matter what happens in Punxsutawny, Penn., this morning.
The big moment has arrived (drumroll, please)… Groundhog Day! The all-important, wait-all-year-for-it day (or maybe just for those of us stuck in this frozen tundra, alias Minnesota). Will Phil see his shadow and rescue all of us riders stuck in our indoors or will the clouds continue along with our counting of the lights on the arena ceiling? (Maybe this is just my problem….)
Whether or not Phil sees his shadow, we all know it is time to start prepping ourselves and our horses for the Spring season… hence the Winter-Blues-To-Do-List:
1. Renew all your memberships for the USEF, USEA, USHJA, USDF and all other organizations you’re required to be a member of.
2. Check out their updated calendars and plan out your show schedule for the spring season.
3. Do some major research on different clinicians coming to your area and pick a few that sound like a good fit for you and your horse!
4. Count six weeks back and write up this year’s conditioning schedule for the spring season.
5. Designate this month to voluntarily self-torture and begin your “No Stirrups February.”
6. Get yourself in shape! Join a gym (hint: Zumba has been rumored to help with perfecting canter transitions and Step Classes have been known to speed up your pre-ride runs to the bathroom.)
7. Make a countdown to hang in your bedroom with the number of days until spring (48 and counting….)
In the meantime, pick up the reins, drop those stirrups and kick on!
About Emily: I’m Emily Kelly and am an avid (obsessive) reader of EN. I’m a sophomore in high school (I’ll be 16 years old next month) and have been eventing since I was 7 years old. My mom, brother and I all ride, so it’s always a big family affair at our barn! I’m currently competing at Novice on my own 10-year-old thoroughbred, with plans to move up to Training as soon as our long and torturous Minnesota winter ends. Pretty much all of my time is spent at school, at the barn, or reading and writing about horses. I love to read and write, and anytime we have a free writing assignment at school mine is always horse-related. I think my teachers are often confused as to why a teenager would choose to write an essay on the philosophy and science of horse conditioning… but hey, if you’re an eventer, you’re obsessed and there is no stopping it! This summer will also be my third year participating in the CSDEA’s Junior Developing Rider Program, a series of four-weekend clinics throughout the summer with Becky Holder.