In which the Drama Llama comes to visit.
We had a quiet prep week before the Hunt Cup, which turned out to be okay. Royal's so good about jumping now that he doesn't need a lot of preparation. So a jumping session here, Game of Contact session there, a day of putting up fencing around the big field, and we were good to go. He about gave me heart failure on Saturday when he appeared to choke on his grain. He made a few bad sounding noises and bent his neck in ways I didn't think he could, but after a couple minutes of that, he was back to happily munching on grass. Crisis averted.
It was a long drive to the Hunt Cup, and we got there fairly early, not knowing that the Drama Llama was with us. The first incident was when one of Royal's back hooves caught on the wiring line of the trailer when he stepped out and broke it, which knocked out one of the rear lights. I still had brakes and the other light, but I figured it would be a cautious drive home. Nevertheless, we registered and got ready for our run. While we warmed up, I noticed the footing, which had a lot of fresh-cut grass with piles of the clippings still around, was pretty slippery. So we had a very abbreviated warm-up before heading to the course.
The course was set differently this year. Instead of going clockwise and starting down the Big Steep Hill, we went counterclockwise and starting on a more gradual slope. Royal did a lot better with it on our practice run. He didn't really spook at any of the jumps (brushy as ever) was able to keep a nice even pace, at least until we got to the Big Steep Hill. This year we rode up the hill, which was somewhat of a challenge. I tried to stay in a light three-point, keeping my weight more towards Royal's hind end, and that seemed to work. We finished pretty well and only had to wait a little bit before the timed round.
This also went super well. Royal was a rockstar, keeping the same nice pace and tackled everything with no problem. I think the varying terrain helps keep him interested and balanced. But he listened to my cues very well and we were able to find good spots to almost every jump. We finished only 7 seconds outside the optimum time! He seemed very pleased with himself, as he should.
On our way back to the trailer, we met up with my friend Anna, who brought her mare Piper up. We talked for a while, she got Piper warmed-up, and then it was time for me and Royal to go home. I had to go to a dinner that night, so we couldn't hang around. I would like to stay that we got home without incident and all that, but no. The Drama Llama was not done with us. About 20 miles from home, the truck started to vibrate. Badly. I don't know much about vehicles, but I knew this was not good. I was about a half a mile from the nearest exit when I heard a BANG and the whole truck shook. Not good. I slowly pulled off to the shoulder and got out to find that the tread on the rear passenger tire of the truck had ripped off. Most of it was gone except for a big flap, and it looked pretty gnarly.
Luckily, Royal was okay and nothing was wrong with the trailer. I called my brother-in-law to come meet us in the town and I slowly nursed the rig there. He arrived and changed the tire and we were able to make our way home. However, since bad things seem to happen in threes, about 5 miles from home, the truck started to smoke. We still made it okay, but it seemed to be transmission fluid. Great. So, yesterday the truck got towed to the mechanic (thank you, AAA) and we'll see how bad the damage is. Hopefully it's fixable and Sweetie will be up and running soon. I'm just glad no one was hurt.
So, both parts awesome and bummer. Why can't the rest of the world be as reliable and super fantastic as my horse?
In other news, I submitted my vet school application today! Hopefully I get a better result this time around, but for now, it feels like such a relief.