Ocala 2020 Prep

We’re just about a month out from our trek down south to Florida for a blessed two weeks in the warmth! I’m getting crazy excited to spend that time with Frankie down there (not least because he can finally get a bath omg he REEKS). I remember feeling really burnt out after two weeks of showing at WEC, but I’m feeling confident that the better weather and a lighter schedule will alleviate that. We are very much there to have a good time.

We will be able to take naps OUTSIDE as well as inside

In the spirit of the final countdown to departure, I figured I would share a few things I’m bringing, a few ways we’re preparing, and just talk about it more a bit.

The first exciting thing that I’m bringing is a portable hotspot. My parents gifted me their previously-unused MiFi hotspot to bring down and I’m super grateful for it. I’ll have guaranteed wifi to do my work and school assignments on the showgrounds or wherever else I find myself. I’m able to do most of my communicating and social media via phone, but have you ever tried writing an essay or creating a slide deck like that? It ain’t fun.

The second exciting thing I’m bringing down is my giant cooler. I’ll be able to keep that stocked with ice to hold Frankie’s ice boots (along with some wine and hummus for yours truly). Especially for such a long show, I want to have all tools on hand to keep Frankie feeling good about it.

As you may guess, a giant cooler doesn’t really fit in my plane luggage. I will be making the drive down south. All 12 hours of it. Not really my idea of a great time, but the price of a roundtrip plane ticket plus rental car blew my budget out of the water. It looks like I’ll make the trip down solo, but I’ll be caravan-ing back up with a friend so we can at least take breaks together. She offered to just make the whole trip together in the same car, but with my work schedule and homework I really need the flexibility of my own vehicle. This is probably the part I’m least excited by – I HATE roadtrips with a fiery passion. The plan is to hit the road around 5am so I can be there in time for dinner, and then we’ll break the trip back north into 2 days to arrive home on Monday. Ugh.

At least this time I’ll be making the trip in a car that has functional brakes AND windshield wipers! Remember when I drove through the mountains to Lake Placid without either hahahahahahait’sfineilived

Luckily, I’m able to split my hotel room with said friend and her daughter! She had a zillion points she was able to use so my hotel expenses are WAY WAY lower than I had worried they’d be. There’s a 24hr gym, a pool, a business center, complimentary breakfast, and (most importantly) a bar, all about 20 minutes from the show. I plan on making full use of all these amenities. It’s tough to share a smallish hotel room with 2 other people for 2 full weeks but I’m hopeful that we’ll manage.

For Frankie, there’s not a ton of prep work to take care of. He’ll need another full clip in the coming weeks to get him looking show-ready and I’ll need to scrub my tack. But for anything else? He’s feeling pretty darn good. I’d like to make a concerted effort to make sure he’s getting worked consistently to get his fitness a titch better, and I’m sure my trainer will have us work on some stuff in our lessons, but he’s at the point now where I’m confident taking him wherever and knowing he’ll be happy to go around. The only thing left on my to-do list is to stock up on Ulcergard – he is probably the least anxious, least ulcer-prone horse I know, but I refuse to take chances on such a long trip.

For whatever reason, the dude seems to super enjoy getting on the trailer. I’m not mad about it.

We’ve set up the commercial shipper for the ponies to head down – it looks like we’re bringing 4 or 5 with us and leasing a couple ponies for the kids down there. Frankie did well with the commercial shipper up to Lake Placid so I’m not super concerned about that. He’ll also arrive on Sunday or Monday, and Trainer will have the chance to get him out a bit before I arrive on Wednesday or Thursday. We all chipped in for a paddock so he will get his beloved turnout every day that weather permits. I’m hoping that he can share with one of the other geldings to get double time, but we’ll see how that works out. I’m just glad he’s getting any turnout, it makes such an enormous difference in keeping him feeling fresh!

Budget-wise I’m trying to pre-pay as much as possible. Our stalls and splits are already paid for and I’ve put in several deposits to my trainer. My goal is to take care of as much as possible ahead of time so I’m not scrambling on the back end – this isn’t a trivial expense, so I’m continually grateful to my husband for being entirely on board with my going. I’d ideally like to open up a little room in the budget for some shopping – y’all know I can’t resist the vendors at these things. I do have an actual useful wishlist, so hopefully I don’t get sucked into getting something ridiculous that I don’t need.

Not that I EVER fall victim to my own love of pants

At this point, this ain’t our first rodeo. I’d love to write about the secret tips and tricks, but I don’t think I have any – it’s all kinda old news at this point! That being said, let me know if you have any questions or comments or anything about prepping/attending one of these, clearly I love to talk about it!

T-36 days to sunshine and nonstop ponies.


19 thoughts on “Ocala 2020 Prep

  1. Austen 01/07/2020 / 9:36 am

    Is it weird that the planning part is enjoyable to me? 🤣 I’m so excited for you! This is gonna be so fun!


    • hellomylivia 01/07/2020 / 9:39 am

      Oh man my planning spreadsheet is a total source of joy!


  2. Stacie Seidman 01/07/2020 / 10:40 am

    Woohoo!!! It’s just around the corner! So excited for you guys!!!


    • hellomylivia 01/07/2020 / 10:44 am

      The countdown is officially on! Wish I was going to be over closer to Wellington so I could tempt you down for a visit 🙂


  3. Bette 01/07/2020 / 12:20 pm

    Oh fun!!!! For sure being warm in Florida will make it less stressful! Sun is the cure for all evils 🙂


    • hellomylivia 01/07/2020 / 12:20 pm

      Agreed wholeheartedly!!! Frankie likes the warmth too, so we’ll both be very happy campers.


  4. roamingridersite 01/07/2020 / 12:51 pm

    Have a blast!!! I’m super curious what your schedule will look like once there. How do you manage his fitness and rest days? Do you plan to show only a few classes every day to keep him moving or do you do a lot of classes on some days and none on others?


    • hellomylivia 01/07/2020 / 1:09 pm

      So he’ll show in our division Thurs-Fri-Sat-Sun, and for that I plan on 1-2 jumper classes per day. If I do the equitation classes one week that’s usually on Friday and I’ll sub those out for the jumper classes – I’m willing to do more eq classes per day than jumpers since it’s (1) a lower height and (2) fewer jumping efforts per class. He gets Monday completely off besides maybe some hand walking, and then Tues-Wed are usually lesson/warmup round days (if we’ll be in a new ring later in the week I might do a single warmup round at a lower height to get around so he can see, but nothing major). Once we kick off the division on Thursday I’ll be monitoring to see if 1 or 2 rounds is better for him; if he shows signs of being tired or needing a break I’ll keep it to one class. So he’ll be working pretty much every day except Mondays, but we’ll ramp it up and down throughout the week so we don’t hit Sunday with an exhausted horse! He’s pretty communicative when he’s tired so we’ve gotten good at knowing when to go in for another round and when to call it a day. So we have a solid plan, but ultimately we’ll be flexible if he tells us he needs something different – he’s never hot or spicy, so conserving his energy is our main focus. I’ll definitely be sure to keep track of what we’re doing so I can share what schedule ends up working best for us!


  5. carey 01/07/2020 / 1:14 pm

    Agh! So excited for you already!
    Also, podcast: My Dad Wrote A Porno – be careful though, may be dangerous while driving due to blinding laughter. There are like 5-6 years of episodes so it’s plenty long and there are tons of celebrity “footnotes.”


    • hellomylivia 01/07/2020 / 1:14 pm

      Ahhh yes that will make the drive so much more bearable!!! Thank you for the rec 🙂


  6. lauracoburn1111 01/07/2020 / 1:19 pm

    Ah, sooo exciting! I would love 2 weeks in Florida doing pretty much anything at this point! lol

    Good to know I’m not the only prep-nerd out there! Getting all organized and pre-paying for stuff is half the fun. lol


    • hellomylivia 01/08/2020 / 9:51 am

      Seriously getting organized and figuring everything out is definitely such a fun part 😀


  7. Nadia 01/07/2020 / 2:24 pm

    I’m so jealous you’ll be in warm Ocala!
    Podcasts might help the trip go by a bit more quickly? I like This American Life, Serial, In the Dark. OMG, there are like a million I like…


    • hellomylivia 01/08/2020 / 9:52 am

      I definitely want to get a bunch of podcasts ready to go, they made the drive out to Ohio for WEC bearable and I’ll need all the help I can get to keep my sanity!


  8. T. A. Eyo ¥ 01/07/2020 / 6:35 pm

    Omg have fun!! Depending on how much time y’all have, definitely take the chance to see around town and check out the national parks nearby.


    • hellomylivia 01/08/2020 / 10:04 am

      We’re definitely planning a few outings for the days we’re not competing!


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