Friday, September 28, 2012


Looking forward at a dead run!
There are a million of ideas, thoughts and rants running through this Overthinker's mind and guess what?  None of them seem to come together coherently enough to be a post.  Could it be that I've run dry?  Have I, almost coming to my second year of writing, become.... boring?  {{{Kind of arrogant of me to think I'm not, huh?}}}

This is the time of the year that Eventing winds down, Fox Hunting gears up and work gets extremely busy and, I live in a world where I want it all!  Maybe all this overthinking is a result of overdoing which becomes the root of being overtired and then, all those thoughts that caused the overthinking stay bottled up and ready to pop...  {{{My brain hurts...}}}

A wise woman once told me that  "one should never enter his or her own mind, unescorted."  So, I bring to you just a few of the thoughts that swirl about:


"Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known."   Garrison Keillor 

So, I ask myself, why am I pondering luck? 

Who wanted 2 dogs?  Lucky me!

A professional horseman fractures his skull while wearing the top of the line helmet.  Currently they are stable and 100% functional and although they will not be able to ride for 8 weeks, they are expected to recover fully.Yes, the accident was unfortunate but the consequences could have been severe and irreversible.  Isn't he lucky that he was wearing a helmet and will recover 100% after giving their body a chance to heal?  


The Mighty Mare Posse
The Mighty Mares - There are these girls (high school?), who ride these horses and they call themselves, "The Mighty Mares!"  Someone started them out well... their parents, their trainer and/or perhaps just a natural sense of goodness.  They are a team embracing their mareishness in a way that says, "We rock!"  Polite, energetic and full of laughs...   one can not help but to say, "I wanna be one of them.  I really, really do!"

Stablemates - There is something special that happens when you stable at a weekend Horse Trial.  There is an instant comraderly that happens and more often than not a friendship emerges in the stories we tell.  And, there is one who rides a diva mare who, last week, gave me the most kick a** advice after completing her cross country run... She told me her tale:
  • I would not quit.  I would not stop.  I was going to attack that course and my "diva" was going to do it with me.  When she said, "I'm not sure."  I whispered in her ear, "Yes you can!"  When she said, "I will not!"  I said, "Yes, you will because today we will not quit.  Today we will come home and you will be there with me!"
We're good!

Um, what is that exactly?  Are you saying that I can't just throw more time and more effort at things?  Or, god forbid, are you saying that balance means making choices based on prioritizing life's events?


She is not for sale...  I think Stella's got her groove back!  Just sayin!

Monday, September 17, 2012


And God said, "Let there be light: and there was light." 
GMHA- back field coming home... neither of my jumps

I so want to keep this as simple as possible but, then...  why have a blog?  So, we completed GMHA, did not fall off anywhere on or off the course AND for the first time since we hit the tree at Groton House Farm Horse Trials, Sugar and I had fire in our bellies!

 Watching Sugar in her stall, Friday night, did not give me confidence that this was going to be a good go for us.  In just a mere 3 hours, she managed to develop a deeply fulfilling and all important relationship with a young gelding.  This Cougar could not get enough of her young cabana boy.  She frantically called out her desire as we cruelly separated them in adjoining stalls.  And, as she playfully danced her dance of a love lost, I watched the thousands of dollars in maintenance care and depo shots disappear as she leaped, reared and kicked out her unrequited desire.

Photo used by permission
Dressage was nice... steady and obedient... just one tiny spook.  Just a reminder to all my eventing friends...  immediately after completing one show, find out what dressage test you're doing at the next show.  'Cause, I was "surprised" that I had been doing Test A for months and Test B shows up for this show.  Ooops, sorry for that late transition and excuse me if our circles were cut a teensy weensy bit short.  Ended up 3rd with a 33.8.

Stadium Jumping  was decent.  GMHA, bless their hearts had heard of Sugar's dislike of the lattice, gate, roll top or any jump with stuff and plugged up every piece of the feared material with lovely soft flowers selected for their soothing colors.  We were forward, fast and clean with nary a spook or a discussion on the merits of leaping over colorful poles or boxes.  Double clear - still in 3rd place.

Ahhh, to be a Beginner Novice rider again...  XC was scheduled just minutes before the lights went off and the crowds went home...  3:56.  Wow, that is alot of time to carefully do your course walk for the third time, prepare for the ride home, read three novels, discover the key to world harmony AND to fine tune those nerves to a new level.
Town Hill Farms 9/12
Photo used with permission

Ah yes, the Course Walk with the Event Trainer... When I compete without a coach, I walk the course with the Bestest Eventing Buddy and we invoke our inner Event Trainer - hearing her words and phrases as they relate to our horses.  Well, sometimes, they get a little garbled in self translations because as we walked, I told her what I thought and she tweaked it.  And, sometimes, it was a downright...  "OHHHHH, that makes more sense!" 

And the all time favorite -  "No matter what! Do not take Sugar for granted!  Ride her every step of the way!"

We left the start box as one, no nerves - just two bossy alpha mares going to work.  She had a tiny discussion at the blue house, a bigger question at the yellow house and, then like it had been for years, she was on fire!  She kept telling me to stop nagging her, she knows everything and the faster she ran, the sooner she could be near her lover.  Those things in her way....  "just let me at them, I gotta date in 4.06 minutes".  And, I mostly let her have her way as long as she acknowledged, "rider on board" when I gave her a tug or two.

So the "toughest" jump on the course was 8A (brush jump) and 8B (small coop) on a bending line back to the barn but away from the beautiful galloping hill in front of us.  On the course walk, we had a lovely chat about the rules and what I should do if she jumped big, I lost my stirrups, etc.  The plan - go up to the left and then come down to the coop... do not cross your line. 
Town Hill Farm
photo used with permission
  • "But, ET? Could I not try to turn my handy, athletic mare in the air and make the "sharp" turn? 
  • "Yes, you could if she was completely under you and you executed a plan.", said ET.
So let me remind everyone that just a mere four months ago and for most of the summer, I had no confidence... nada, nothing...  just making it ... barely as an eventer.

So, we come to 8A and I ask my lil' pinto pony to sit on her buttocks and come up under me as we come to the Brush Jump.  She gathered and I gave her just a little nudge with my spur and, um...  she exploded upward, hit the ground and galloped towards the hill in front of us...  And, as I made the motions to turn to the coop, I watched us pass it by.

{GOD this is a long one...  sorry}

Town Hill Farm
photo used with permission
Here's where a being a jump judge can be a little bit problematic.  I stopped Sugar and very carefully turned her so as to not cross our line, trotted the horse length's opening I thought I had to not cross my line and trotted the "normally scary" coop and galloped on.  That little bit of trying to beat the system probably cost me the time faults.

Photo used with permission
Leaping over the final house jump and crossing that finish line was the best fun ever.  I don't care about those 20 points...  We were awesome TOGETHER!  And, yes, I worry my Eventing Trainer some times when I get "cocky" and try more advanced techniques 'cause I think we can rather than just getting the job done.  It's a blast and I can not stop smiling!

Maybe it was the exhaustion from two nights of unresolved lust, maybe it was the reawakening of thousands of dollars in training, maybe it was the place or maybe, just maybe... we're both back... whole again!

Monday, September 10, 2012


Sometimes you see something that really matters...  It could be a life moment where you think, "Wow, I could be like that!"   It might be the life changer that makes you a better person and achieve what was meant to be.   Most of the time I see Upper Level Eventers almost fall and miraculously, determinedly, recover gracefully and I think, "MUST DO MORE SIT UPS!!!!"

Yesterday, after a fun Hunter Pace with the NBG and the Donkey, I hurried to put away Sugar, my tack and clean the trailer (notice I did not say clean my tack).  It was going to be a rush event, I had more things to do and places to go before sunset.  The urgency of completion and accomplishments owned my serenity.  Must get things done!

Nothin' bettah than a girl with her hoss!
('nother pinto pony, not Sug)

There on the hill, sitting comfortably in a chair with horse grazing nearby was the image of cool relaxation with just a hint of horse bonding.  It said...  "Come here... take a load off your mind...  enjoy the beauty of the day, the coolness of early fall and sit a spell... watch magic and dreams unfold at the City Barn... rest and be still..."

Life for the "workaholic" is always on the go.  And, stuff left undone just stimulates the lust for more time...  I went home determined to finish what was still to be done.  That image haunted me.  You see, Sugar was turned out in her paddock still a bit dirty from the Hunter Pace, Da Boys were growled at for their misbehavior earlier on and I was grumpy, tired and as dirty as Ms Sugar, but there was much more to be done.

That image haunted me...  What if?  What if I went home, showered, took a nap and made a nice dinner for myself?  Would the undone find it's way to harass me?  What if...  zzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

And Sugar was greeted at 8:30 that evening with Da Boys in tow.  She received a spa grooming, her evening treats and a good bit of cheer.  The tack is still dirty, the dishes undone and maybe the first section of the First Piece will not be clear cutted in time for the first hunt.  But, I ended my day smiling and cuddling with Da Boys...

Sometimes, you have to take the message...  "Rest and be still!"

Monday, September 3, 2012


UNH Dressage 2012 - Photo used with permission
For the dressage enthusiast, this title says it all...  there was brilliance in movement, a suppleness that is liquid gold, a test with Rolex accuracy and the beauty of elegance and power.  It is a score that most dream about and few achieve.     And, you ask?  Did you achieve such a score?  Was there something about your day at Town Hill Horse Trials that radiated brilliance, beauty, elegance, and power?

Why yes we did have all of that but not necessarily exactly where you would expect to see it.  Yet, if I recall, the bar was set at low... COMPLETE!  Eventing Rule # 1 - Leave together and come back together!   No matter what, I was to cross that finish line...  And, I did!  I DID!

Our Dressage was nice - certainly not 85.77 quality but a 32 - one of our best!  Sugar was still my perky lil' pinto pony in the warm up with a few airs-above-the-ground as the Training Level XC course lay before her and excited her lil' engine.  She was obedient, supple but overall "needed more energy".  Personally, I have seen "more energy" and was happy with obedient and well, present.

For the next hour, I pondered thoroughly all the whys I put myself through this agony as I waited for the jumping phases.  I would share a few but really couldn't come up one reason.  So I flipped/flopped between quitting all together to how I could cleverly phrase withdrawing again without feeling humiliated.  Thank god, my Bestest Evening Buddy was taming the wild youngun' out on the Novice track or she might have had to put me out of my misery.

Wheatogue Stables - an Equi-Spa of immense proportions
There is nothing worse than that long walk to Stadium Jumping... alone, filled with nerves, the pressure to be perfect and the unrelenting fear of failure and embarrassment.  I so wanted a coach, a groom or any familiar face to remind me that this is fun and that I have the ability to do it!

A wise woman once told me that there is goodness and surprise everywhere if you look for it.  Angels and gifts come in all kinds of places.  These two, for me, were stabled with us in the most luxurious barn the night before and parked right next to the warm up ring.  Last night it was, "Is that Sugar?"   "Yes", I said.  "I read your Blog" was her reply.  Today, it was "Have fun!  You'll do fine!  Remember, you were ready for the move-up to Training!  This is easy for you both!"  

{{{{Special note to you both...  THANKS!  I needed that more than you can know!}}}} 

Sugar, in the jumping phases, seemed to be a bit shocked at finding herself in a maze of colorful poles, flowers and boxes as I guided her back to trailer parking.  It was as if it were her first time out.  We had a rail in SJ over a course of encouragement with a tad of "I think you can" struggle.  I believe we were fifth at this point.

Back of the Water Complex
First Course Walk needed a map
Town Hill's Cross Country course is a combination of busy-ness and long gallops.  The jumps are beautiful with some but not garish decoration.  The footing was perfect and the day gorgeous.  Sugar was filled with OTTB excitement.

I chose to embody the inner Calder...  an intensity in achieving the goal, the quietness of body, sheer grit and determination... reins in one hand and a dangling but prepared stick in the other... no anger just guts.  I would complete.

XC was not Sugar's best... She appeared "surprised" that anyone would think to put small houses, hay bales and other such obstacles in a well mowed path through hay fields... And at each such obstacle I had to firmly ask her to greet them with a happy little jumping effort.... What joy!

Now, when you have 14 obstacles to clear and two of them were... um...  not immediately jumped...  the percentage of completion is actually a GREAT dressage score - 85.77%.  You see, at two jumps... the dreaded hay bales and the second house jump which was similar to the first house jump, the same to the third house jump and surprisingly similar to the house jump we warmed up over 3 times in the warm up ring, I was a bit slow on my encouragement.

Despite two ginormous spooks, I never stopped riding.  We crossed over the finish line immediately after a spook at the last Training fence.  I completed and could not have been happier.  Not our best performance by far but the best in over a year.  We did finish above two horses named Elimination, one named Retired and another cutely called Withdraw.   

So the bar is raised again. Next event, I want to complete and make it back to the trailers without falling off.  {{{SIGH}}}

Would prefer that my butt be in the
saddle as you watch the white buttocks
galloping away
Here's a Public Service Announcement...

Always wear your helmet and no matter how cool you look riding your pinto pony on the buckle... A big spook, dropped hips and a scoot will put all that coolness to bed as you find yourself toppling over her "how-do-you-get-her-white" buttocks landing HARD on your left hip and hitting your well helmeted head on the ground!

Sugar looked brilliant as I watched her ample white bottom gallop away.  Her capturers could not stop telling me how beautiful she looked as she galloped towards them mane and tail flying in the wind as my reins and stirrups flapped freely beside her - the brown enhancing the "how-do-you-get-her-so-white" body...

Like I said... an 85.77 is guaranteed to give you brilliance, beauty, elegance and power.  Next time I will be on her...  just sayin'!

Still happy and grateful!