Sunday, July 31, 2011

AN EXPENSIVE PIECE OF HUMBLE PIE

No one loves hearing the "I told you so!" when the phrase is directed at them.  And what's even worse than hearing that tiny, yet powerful four word phrase, is hearing those words dance delightedly in your own head.  And folks....  it is dancing merrily in mine.
Used with permission
 (www.flatlandsfoto.com)

Just before the beginning of the 2010 season, my Dressage Trainer lovingly and forcefully told me that I needed to add a Point 2 Air Jacket to my Eventing arsenal.  Now, before you go on shaking your head and saying...  "of course a DQ would think a Novice rider would need more safety equipment", you need to know...  my Dressage Trainer was an accomplished Upper Level eventer who, for the love of a horse, "retired" from eventing to specialize in dressage.  She's been there and done that!

So, the argument began...  And, it wasn't pretty.  I sited the controversy around the testing and marketing of said safety equipment which I learned from my esteemed, and anonymous, Horsey Bulletin board posters. 

Since both of us are major and outspoken Helmet Supporters, it was kind of hard to disagree about this new piece of safety equipment.  And, I am the kind of person, who try as hard as I can, CAN NOT keep my mouth shut when I see a helmetless rider...  in any sport.   It's my version (actually one of my versions) of tourettes syndrome.  Yet here I was protesting about this item.
Used with permission
(www.flatlandsfoto.com)

And, we debated... It was too expensive... not applicable for a Novice rider and so on. What I didn't say (and this is a "Confessions" blog thingy), is that the vest would make my middle aged "not-even-close-to-a-six-pack abs" look even more.... um... full.

It ended kind of unsettled.  I reluctantly said that I would get a Point 2 Air Jacket WHEN I moved up to Prelim.  And, believe me when I tell you I had time to save up and pay cash...

Her comments did have an impact and that Christmas a group of us bought one for our Eventing Trainer...  We wanted her to be safe and I was a strong supporter of that gift.  And, I was adamant that she use it.
Used with permission
(www.yokinaphotos.com)

Today, 5 weeks after hitting a tree... I ache.  I still take an immense amount of ibuprofen to keep the ache from being a pain.  I can ride Sugar at a walk for 20 minutes without adding to the pain.  Trotting and cantering are in the near future.  Ultimately, I have lost patience with my rehab...  that's it...  I've had it!  For any of you in chronic pain, I pray for your relief.  And for those of you in chronic pain that manage to have full and bright lives...  you are my heroes. 

Today I wonder...  what if I had that vest?  What if I had that vest?  And, today...  I decided to buy one... for me.

It is a decision I made for myself.  I am not ever going to be a Point 2 Air Jacket - you must have or you're foolish - preacher.  No, but I will quietly tell this story...  the story of a freak accident that might not have been an accident if I had seen the tree as an obstacle rather than a landmark (Landmarks vs Obstacles).  And, maybe...  just maybe I would have made it to the competitors party that night and laughed about how close it was to being the "big one".

One other note...  stuff happens.  I have no remorse that I waited... nope...  what is... IS.  You gotta move on.  Oh, and for those of you who might be saying...  "How long are you going to write about this?  Puh lease!  Move on!"  Uh, we're getting there!  ;-)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

AS THE ROAD TURNS, SO TURNS THE AECs

The Opening Date for the American Eventing Championships is today...

I do not want to write this post... Nope, I want to stomp, stomp and pound my knees....  I DON'T WANNA WRITE THIS POST.  No, no, no...  Phew, that felt really good!  I believe it was "the Don" who said one should never underestimate the power of a good Diva fit! 

You see, on May 16th, I wrote for Bit of Britain's Blog Series "On the Road to the AEC's" eagerly telling the story of why I wanted to go, how I got there and all the silliness involved riding on Eventing's version of the Double Wide Short Bus (DWSB).  ( On the Back Roads Headin' to the AECs)
Photo courtesy of  Eleazer Davis Farm (http://www.edfarm.com/)

Simply, the DWSB's occupants will not be going to the AECs this year.  The driver of this bus (me) took her environmental education to a new level and decided early on course at Groton House Farm Horse Trials to involuntarily dismount in order to hug a tree.  Most of you know the details from previous (and prolific) posts (Landmarks vs Obstacles) , it was a simple thing which caused me to break four ribs and a partially collapsed lung requiring an overnight stay in the hospital.

The odd thing is (and I hope my family doesn't read this) that I'm glad that it was me put on injured reserve for the summer and not Sugar (Fame and Frolic).  I am healing and will be back for the Fall.  Some of you out there are not that fortunate.  Horse injuries are harder on us than our own... for a million different reasons.

My Stall Rest should be completed by August 12th*.  I will be back in the game and, like a recovering horse... slow and steady increase in work...  I'll be baaack.  I just won't have what it takes to compete in the American Eventing Championships this year.

Wish me luck qualifying for next year...  Til' then...  I'll be cheering all of you on...

*Actually, if you promise not to tell my family, I'm going to get on Sugar this weekend... just walking but together again.... shhhhhhh....

Saturday, July 23, 2011

LEAVING A LOVER OR LAZY SUMMER DAYS!


Thanks Chandler Bing for showing us
what resting really looks like
There is nothing better than a hound demonstrate what a true "lazy" Saturday really looks like... It's my last weekend of being on a "lay-up" and that is exciting.  Soon...  Soon..  Soon...

For the record, I did not catch up with my reading, nor is my garden looking spiffy and neat, my winter clothes are still mingled with summer stuff, my show clothes are still hanging in the trailer and all that tack still needs to be cleaned.  Um...  I got busy?  Ok, healing takes a bit out of you.

It's Saturday...  hazy, hot and humid.  The internet is a fabulous tool...  I've been checking in on live scoring and Eventing Nation to see how folks are doing at Fitches Corner and Rebecca Farms.  I hear that chant again...  soon, soon, soon.

I am better...so much better.  Ibuprofen was once my lover ...  we were close and passionate reluctant to leave our lover's embrace.  Now?  Like all lovers, we had "the talk"...  Let's just be friends...  we can be best friends...  checking in regularly but not desperate to be together...  tapering off for that one day, when we move on to other lovers.  Soon, soon, soon... 
Jonah enjoying the day...

Ah, I find myself thumbing through the Omnibus planning the next event.  I check the calendar and count days and then back to the Omnibus.  Maybe I'll do a big event like Rubicon or VA Horse Trials late fall...  ah a Showcation to Area II.  Maybe...

Dreams turn into goals...  Goals turn into more dreams... Life is good and the possibilities are endless...  make it happen!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

THE ANGRY MARE ON STALL REST


The tales of Sug's diva moments are long and well told.  She is an amazingly athletic girl who sometimes does not wanna, isn't in the mood or is hunting for naughtiness.  Ah, when things are not going her way, she is quite expressive in her ability to communicate her displeasure.  She is the Angry Mare who, for the most part, is a Good Girl!

Helloooooo....
So, are we attracted to "like personalities" or do we make them?  Seriously, haven't you found yourself just once in a while pointing out those attributes most like yours?  "Oh, Dobbin doesn't like to compete in the heat (like dressage) and neither do I."  Dogs, cats, horses, our mates, friends...  Like attracts Like.

I have been on Stall Rest for three weeks now and I am displeased!  The first week, I was too hurt, sick and a bit drugged up to care.  Lying inside was good and I was too tired to do anything any way.  Week two, I spent time looking outside, moving slowly around and regaining more bits of normalcy. 

Uh, the purpose of this lil' post is to be happy, hopeful and perhaps grateful that I am feeling better.  The pain is tolerable with regular dosing of ibuprofen.  I am alert and my energy level is so much better...  So, that is the happy, healthy and "grateful" part. 


Three weeks on Stall Rest?  I'm pacing, unsettled, restless and if I could, I would start cribbing.  Really,  just sick and tired of being still and careful.  Events are Opening and Entry Status' are being posted.  My name is not there and I feel the loss.  I know I'm not alone.  More than just a few of my fellow riders are out for the season because of horse injuries - a greater pain than my own.  It's still a loss... and apparently, I'm not taking it well...

Life's lessons have meaning...  I truly know that to be true.  My quest to know what that message is intense but its the needing to know NOW that is the stuff that causes pain.  Not physical... that would be cured with another ibuprofen.  My pain is that of impatience and a lil' bit of intolerance ...  maybe, just maybe a sprinkling of ego. 

So, like Sugar, I don't mean to be naughty.  I don't mean to be angry and frustrated.  I send my apologies out to the Universe.  Really, I am a Good Girl...  Really I am....


video

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A CLASS ACT - KINDNESS ABOUNDS!

Maybe this summer wasn't supposed to be about riding, maybe there is some greater message that is swirling around in the cosmos that I am supposed to grasp because the power of your actions are so strong that I feel this "blog" is downright repetitive.  (Or maybe, just maybe...  I should never shave my legs before an Event... it could be that simple!)
Winning Valinor Horse Trials
photo by Emily Gilbert

There are stories from Groton House Farm Horse Trials that may never get told for it truly was an Epic weekend.   With the owners permission, I'm adding one story. 

Classy needed a ride and I had a space and Sugar loves company.   Now she and her owner are solid eventers and often (if not all the time) are in the ribbons...  the wicked pretty colors too.  They have qualified for the Novice Championships and the AECS.  It was the perfect fit.
Classy

If you could take a moment and plan your Event,  then think about all of the things that can go wrong and fix them before they happen, I am sure this was not one of them.  Shortly after entering the grounds to stabling and getting our stall locations, Classy went down in the trailer and became trapped, wedged in the stall with her hind legs bloodied and dangerously placed.

Within minutes, real horse folks... brave men and women worked tirelessly to extract her safely while others quietly removed Sugar from danger.  I am going to emphasize the bravery and be grateful that no one was injured as they quickly and efficiently moved around her prone body and hooves to dismantle the trailer.  It was truly one of the scariest things...  horse and people pitched precariously near disaster.  I held her head still while her owner stood nearby comforting her... until her thrashing threw me into the sides of the trailer.

Ok...  this post is about kindness yet again...  a repetitive theme...  Is it the community of Eventers or the world in which I choose to live?  Or both?

I got an email today... an update (for I still worry about her stardom)...

Classy is coming along fine, though slower than hoped for. One last healing area is nasty but making progress. She otherwise is wondering why we aren't out galloping but is happy for all the carrots.  You know that the outcome of the Area 1 champs and the AECs are not going to count because neither one of us will be there to contest them! 
I thought you would be insulted if I tried to pay you, so I am adding the full amount in to my donation to the horse ambulance and make it in honor of Fame and Frolic and Class Act. I hope that you will never need their services!

Photo by www.dexterpix.com
First it was the Good Samaritan who took Sugar home when the DWSB bled out, then it was the Chase Farm Crew, my Barn Owner and the New Barn Girl taking care of Sugar while I heal and you can't forget the loving support of my Dressage and Eventing Trainer... , the Devil Child and my Eventing Buddy and always my friends, family and neighbors. 

She was right on all counts...  and to include Fame and Frolic (aka Sugar) in her donation is truly a Class Act!

I am filled with tears of gratitude for all the good folk out there!  Life is, indeed, good!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

SEND THIS TO 6 PEOPLE NOW.... OR....

Chain letters...  no matter how supposedly spiritual or uplifting they claim to be, are WRONG... if, somewhere in the body of the email, harm will come to those that do not forward them to 6 people within 10 minutes.  Really, is that the kind of peace, love and happiness you want to send forward into the world?  

Photo used with permission
www.connecticutphoto.com
I am a daredevil, a risk taker*...  yes, I am an Eventer.  I laugh in the face of your request to forward that email.   Yes I do... and then,  I courageously hit the delete button and then wait...  Ha!

Wait a minute...  hmmm...  wait...  I think I figured it out!  It was a chain letter that did me in...  a deleted chain letter that determined my fate!  I will not be going to Fitches Corner this year for the Novice Championships and I will not be going to the American Eventing Championships in September and I may not move up to Training.  All because of a stupid chain letter and my quick finger hit on the delete button...  {{{{sigh}}}

Will it stop me from deleting the next one?  NOPE!  I am an Eventer.  The memory of the cool rush of a good cross country run (sans tree) provides the amnesiac that sustains me to the next run.  The camadry of my fellow Eventers and the stories told carry me through the healing period.  You make me laugh with your wry wisdom and I want more!

So, there goes another flick of a finger on the delete gun!  I'll be baaaaack!

*Um, I'm actually an insurance consultant...  daredevil is not a top requirement for the job. It's a fantasy of mine!  ;)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A PENNY FROM HEAVEN?

I saw a penny lying brightly in the grocery store parking lot... heads up.  My life is a good one and I have been graced with so much luck that those lucky pennies are for you...   not me.  Today, I picked it up for me.

It's Saturday morning, the boys have been walked and enjoyed a good swim.  It's been two weeks since I sailed into a tree.  My body aches and my chest feels like someone carved the left side with a butter knife... I walk stiffly, listing to the right.  Advil is indeed my friend.  I clutch the bottle much like an addict afraid of losing their next fix.
Bruno 10/19/94 - 11/23/2007
Teacher of Unconditional Love and Happiness
(with just a bit of Lab guilt thrown in)

That penny I found is a reminder of how lucky I was.  Since it was my debut at Groton House, I prepurchased the video from RNS Video (http://rnsvideomedia.com/) and could not wait to see my show.  Well, I did get to see my two dressage tests, the first three fences and my spectacular crash into a tree.

Attitude is everything!  You know, that statement needs more emphasis - ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING! 

Hurting puts a twist in one's brain and can grey a persons outlook.  It could be the difficulty sleeping, the internal press to be "normal" and to "not be a burden" on others.

There is a balance there and finding it is a gift.  Being conscious of my self talk, deep sighs and thoughts is the first step.  The second is acknowledging them... allowing them to be ok.  Then, move away from the negativity into gratitude.   Being aware of all that is good is the key. 

A lucky penny is indeed lucky.  So I picked it up as a reminder that I was lucky that day!  I am lucky today!

Maybe next year, I won't shave my legs before the show.  Maybe that was it...  Maybe...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

SO YOU THINK I SHOULD QUIT...


Oh Wise One... tell me your secrets...

There is a fine line between passion and obsession.  One feels warm, soothing and fills your soul and the other, a desperate clinging to some THING to keep fear or longing at bay.  I've been on both sides of that fence.

At work today:

Them: "I guess you won't be riding ever again!"

Me: "Just until the rib fractures heal, then I'm back at it."

Them:  "That's just crazy...  you should quit... {mumbles} too dangerous!"

First and foremost, I must say that neither my Mom nor my Sister, (a former trauma nurse) have said this.  And, for that, I am truly grateful.  I'm pretty sure my Sister understands the passion and is holding her thoughts to herself.  My mom...  well...  we'll see...

"Why do we do this?"  Now this is a statement/question that I have heard way too much over the past year.   And yet, no one has a clear answer.  "Why do we do this?"  Is it an addiction?  An obsession?

Why do we rush through the pain so we can risk it all over again?  Why do we tend tirelessly to our horse partners in efforts to keep them safe and sound?  When they break, we cry for our loss and then kick it in doing whatever needs to be done to have them back partnering once again.

And when we leave the showgrounds, with or without polyester...  why do our hearts sing... "Can't wait to do it all again!"


Our first show 2005
two months post chemo
healthy today

Horses, Eventing...  It is a community of like souls.  Yeah, we're somewhat feral in our willingness to get down and dirty.   And, there is something wild about what we do...  lighting that fire in our bellies.  It is a contest like none other...  elegant, exacting dressage, a cross country run that is both bold and brave - you and your horse as one and never forget powerful, precise stadium jumping.

I may piss and moan, reacting to my show nerves, that I don't wanna ride in the heat, rain, mud, etc.  But, the second I turn down center line, or enter the start box, or hear the whistle blow, I know that there is no other place I'd rather be...

Nah, I will not quit.   Maybe the answer to the question "Why do we do this?" lies deeply in our soul - not easily extracted. 

Nah, I will not quit, what would I do?

Friday, July 1, 2011

"BRING OUT YOUR DEAD"... FWIENDS... LUF DEM!

Only the soulful look of a hound truly
 captures the depth of my gratitude
There was a time in my life, just after I moved to Massachusetts and leaving my bustling Irish Catholic family behind, I was sure that if I died in my apartment, the body would be left unnoticed for days.  So sure was I that I started calling my Dad everyday assuming that IF I didn't call one day, he would send someone to check on me.  (OK, I needed some help back then dealing with my "issues".)

It's been almost a week since the "incident" where I tried to meld my left side into a tree at Groton House Farm Horse Trials.  The injuries are not permanent - 4 rib fractures and bruising/swelling in areas that do not make a girl feel pretty.  I will be back in the saddle in 4 weeks and jumping in 6.

Let me really get to the point,   I am humbled today and overwhelmed by the goodness of people... friends and acquaintances...  YOU ALL are teaching me truly and completely what it is to be a friend.  I am truly grateful and lucky to know you...  Thanks! 

There are a vast number of people that have made me smile, made the pain and disappointment easier to deal with.  And this does not count all of you who have visited, called, writtened, FaceBooked...  no it does not.  I am a lucky girl and it is pretty clear to me today that I will never die alone, that folks are there for me when I need them.  I do not need to fear that I will ever be the Cat Lady.

I opened a card today and it's message was simple and well timed. 

The front said: 
"Never, never, never, NEVER give up.  (Winston Churchill)"

The inside said:
"I'll never, never, never, NEVER stop cheering for you."

Thank you all!   I hope that I am or become the great friend you are to me!   Thank you all!

I'll be back by Fall 2011... Then, let the games begin!!!
Photo used with permission - http://www.flatlandsfoto.com/