Sunday, May 6, 2012


It was a dark, stormy night as I left church, alone, filled with the energy of the rousing service.  I knew that I shouldn't be walking through the park so I quickened my pace, eager to be home safe and warm...   Suddenly, a man jumped out of the bushes and pushed me and I fell to the ground glancing off the park bench...

Wait... hold on... I wasn't at church and I believe it was just after 3:30 pm on a brilliant sunny day and I even think I was riding XC at the University of New Hampshire's Spring Horse Trials.  And, if I recall, I was just two jumps from the finish line and in First Place, when Sugar spooked and spun me off onto said bench...

Looking Competent
Photo by
I was robbed!  Not of a blue ribbon but of the story of a PERFECT cross country ride! You see, it was the most awesome go and my first since hitting the tree.  We left the start box eager to run and happy to be doing it again!  My nerves and tears were shed on the long road to the start box.  My one goal?

Eventing Rule #1 - Leave Together Come Home Together!

Ok... the long walk of shame home LEADING the "How-do-you-get-her-so-white-horse?" was not quite the same thing as crossing the finish line together but if you recall, the last time I ended up admitted to the hospital with four broken ribs, a partially collapsed lung and a hematoma on my hip that did not make me feel pretty.  Coming home with just a bruised ego, right now, is fine by me!

The short story:

Day 1 - Sugar left her evil twin, Saccharine, home.  Oh, occasionally in our test she protested the flowers decorating the dressage letters and was undone by the dry spot near X.  During the first spook, we came to an agreement that if she continued to go straight and not spook, I would not take my big spurs and place them in her sides.  Who knew that successful marriage counseling came at the end of a spur?  We finished our test in 2nd place with a 34.5.

Day 2 - The Jumping Phases.  Let me begin by saying I've been a Novice Rider for 2 full seasons...  and, the BN warmup terrified me more than anything else that day.  No offense to most of the riders but, some had directional issues and would be best not to circle in front of a warm up fence.

Stadium Jumping was quiet, balanced and forward.  Sug jumped big and confidently...  apparently, size does not matter to that girl!
Photo by

And XC?  Shhhhh...  it was that good!  It felt amazing to be out there again and I think Sugar felt the same way.  She was hungry to go and eager to jump!  As a good student, I listened and took my trainer's advice "Ride her to every jump" and I did...

So, what happened?   Fence 13 was set on a hard right hand turn and was a glaring jump with hay stuffed in everywhere.  The line was blocked by orange tape bouncing and blowing in the wind.  I knew this was the jump that required all my skill for it screamed "AHHHHH  SPOOOOOK!"  And ride it I did....  she jumped it big and it took a bit to get her back... and, I needed her back so we could do the next two hard left hand turns on slippery grass...

Phew...  did it!  Now we're home free!  I made it!    We're back!  Yippppeee!  Um, oh no!   Damn!  {{{{Then a string of the kind of words that, well, if I was a mom, I'd have a mouth full of soap}}}}  She spooked, I tried to recover and leaned, she spun and there I go...  on the bench with my ego lying bruised for all to see.

You know...  I did get robbed of a great comeback.  The one I had was a good one...  not great but good!  And, I will never, ever, have to deal with the emotional nerves of PTSD.   And, as a former Weenie Rider, I will always have the pleasure of the nerves of a middle aged re-rider... managed by the overabundance of words (pre-performance verbal diarrhea) but the tears and breakdowns have been left behind.

As my niece says.... IT'S ALL GOOD!  And, lest I forget, RIDE EVERY FENCE!


Anonymous said...

Sounds mighty good except for that last little bit - I'll take a lot more good than bad almost any day! Good for you for getting out there and doing it!

Suzanne said...

Thanks Kate! That's exactly how I feel! Itt was a near perfect weekend and the only thing missing was a happy trainer who loves my horse! LOL!

Becca said...

So fantastically worded!!! Cheering for your 99% successful weekend. It will just keep on getting better. Darn you bench - you'll get 'em next time!!!

KC said...

So glad it was a successful weekend for you despite the trip at the finish line - you have the best attitude! Rock on!

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