Monday, December 28, 2015

TIME AND TIME AGAIN!

Last night I cupped Maisy's nose in the palm of my hands and gently lifted that velvety softness to my lips and kissed her.  I paused and kissed her again, this time loudly smacking my lips, and  told her that I loved her.  No one saw the tears in my eyes...  It was the moment where I knew that my heart was big enough to love again - fully and completely.  "I really do love you Maisy, I really do..." whispered for  our ears alone.

Grimacing after
falling at a gallop
(long story)
Time is the only thing that heals...  Time.  I rail about not having enough time, or trying to fit everything in and be on time.  My job forces me to plan months ahead so time always has a fleeting feel to it.  Yet, time is our friend if cradled and lived for every moment we have. 

This Fall was hard on so many levels.  Did I tell you that I went back to school?   Traditionally it is my busy season at work but being short staffed compounded an already high stress time and without an indoor, I struggled to do it all.  In my mind, whatever I did fell short of doing a good job on anything.

Maisy and I were doing ok, getting better but I still felt that we were missing a connection...  I was still just riding her, just learning about her, just trying to get it all done and on to the next day.  There was no time.

Our first fox hunt was a bit of a bust...  Someone said that Virginia hunt country horses have some adjusting to do when switching from the big open fields and live hunting to the narrow wooded paths and the stop/start of our New England drag hunting.  I decided to skip hunting her this season and begin again in the Spring or Fall of next year.
With Permission
www.yokinasphoto.com

Sugar was a bit of a challenging horse with her Mariah Carey/diva-like stance on life.  And, there are umteem posts within this blog chronicling them.  What Sugar was, without a doubt, was an amazing Hunt Horse!  I could take her anywhere to hunt and she would be the same - cantering on a dime, would jump everything safely and accurately, would watch the field ahead slow when they slowed and gallop when they galloped, could hold hard and would stand at the check on a loose rein.

My big lovable grey pony!
I ached for her.  I truly felt our loss. 

None of this ache pulled from the love and happiness I had with Maisy.  That is the conundrum.  I could still mourn for what I had and still love what I have.  All in good time...

Last night, I jumped Maisy for the first time since October.  At first, I felt totally stressed, tight and worried that I would ruin my green, eager jumper with my rusty anxious self.  The first jump was... um...  not pretty (ok, not quite ugly).  And, as we were guided,  I became softer, more secure and slowly lost the anxiety.  In the end, I was riding and working with Maisy...  I became a trainer and not a passenger.

The Ghost of Jumping Past was gone and, Her Grayness and I really saw the Ghost of Jumping Present and Future. 

It is about time...

Sunday, November 1, 2015

THAT ONE THING!

It's always that one thing that "ruins" everything.  If I speak in front of a crowd and one survey card is less than complementary, I forget about all those that were positive or constructive and focus instead on that one thing...  that one thing...
That one thing

Have I mentioned yet that Maisy and I did dressage work out in the field with just the brilliance of a full moon lighting our way?  Or maybe I didn't tell you how the Happy Young Professional (HYP) and Her Grayness competed at the last Horse Trial and finished 4th?  Or perhaps I shared the story of our Hunter Pace success where I jumped da jumps and loved the gentle lady underneath me?

No I did not!

What I want to do is to go on and on about getting dumped at today's hunter pace.  It wasn't over a jump but during a lovely gallop through some amazing fields.  I believe that Maisy would prefer not to be in the lead but somewhere near or actually in the buttocks of her stablemate and lover Patrick.  That leading at a gallop means that she can not actually embed herself into his body and that perhaps, the additional insult was to allow another horse to come between two lovers.

{{{Hmmm, I believe I am going on and on...}}}

What does a mare do when not really wanting to be a leader and experiencing longing and concern over a lover?  I believe she makes a "quick" twist of her head and neck to look behind her and when discovering that he was further behind than what her love sick mind feels is safe, finish the turn in a big twist.

Fortunately for Maisy, Patrick was fine.  Unfortunately for me, I got thrown, well maybe off balanced and fell in a twisted heap of my own...  Shoulder, neck and lower back... strained muscles - no permanent damage.

Just one thing
Yeah, I want to go on and on...  Mostly because I feel depressed, defeated and just a hint of worthlessness.   Did I mention that I can barely move, had to ask a stranger to pick up the Epsom Salts for me because I couldn't bend down and get back up?  That feeling does add some cheer to a girl's day!

That one thing!

What I really need to do is to go on and on about how great galloping her feels like or how the one jump we took felt amazing even if she jumped big.  Or maybe I need to tell you how much fun it was to be with my team and enjoy riding out in amazing territory as the fall colors fade into gold and copper. 

And, maybe I need to tell you that when I fell, Maisy stopped and stood over me waiting for me to get up...  Yeah, that one thing!  She stopped and stood over me... waiting for me to stand up. 

That one thing!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

WHINY WEDNESDAY

I've given in to the WAAA, WAAAs and leapt deeply off of Sunshiney Mountain into the gray abyss of Whiny Wednesday...  Oh believe me, I refused to give in even as I dipped my toes into the pool of moroseness.  I wanna have a pity party and I wanna have it now.
Morning's grayness @ Plantation
Horse Trials

Maisy decided that her beloved neighbor was not as attentive as she felt a mare in fall heat deserves.  And, when he denied her longing she reared up and caught her left front in the electric fence and lacerated the inside of her cannon bone.  Rumor has it that her distraught neighbor ran about his paddock until the barn folk released her from bondage.

The deep thinking of a Hound
Even though the call from the barn owner brought back the memory of his call back in March, we all knew that this injury was not critical.  When I got to the barn after work, the leg was hot, sore and swollen twice its normal size.  Cue in worry, fret and whining.

You know?  It's probably a good thing that I am an Aunt and not a Mother.  I'm pretty sure I'd be that parent that does not offer comfort and hugs...  I'm the one that says,  "I am so mad!  You did this to yourself and now it's going to cost money for the vet to see you and how am I going to find the time to ice and wrap you three or more times a day.  I hope you're happy with yourself."  {{{Um, I actually was that mom to Maisy... oopsie!}}}

Yeah...  I'm not proud of that but, this is a confessional blog... sigh!

Maisy & her Happy Young Professional
Used with permission Spotted Vision
Photography
And, I'm not whining about the time or the money or even the possibility of scratching my first (and last for the season) event.  I'm whining because I HATE WRAPPING LEGS!  There I said it.  I hate to do it!  I hate the responsibility it carries to do it right or suffer the consequences.  I hate leaving the barn wondering if this is the night that she gets a bandage bow because I wrapped too tightly.  And, if I wrap to loosely, I'm afraid that they will fall down and tighten around the feet/leg cutting circulation and ruining the foot/leg.

The vet came and declared the leg sound, the laceration superficial and is treating the hematoma underneath the cut seriously and aggressively to prevent lymphangitis.  I get to walk under saddle for three days (15 minutes) and then ice, treat the wound and wrap.  She is clear that everything will be ok.

I need to stay with that...  She is going to be fine!  And, I need to stop lamenting our fate.  Everything will be ok. And, I need to be a better parent - love and comfort her...  Yeah, that sound doable!  Maisy is gonna be ok!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

SEASONING

I had corn for dinner tonight.   Deliciously sweet and seasoned with butter, salt and fresh ground pepper... It was the first ear of corn and most likely the last.  The season for sweet, farm fresh corn is over and, I was late in tasting that delectable deliciousness...  "'Til next year, 'til next year", I say, "'til next year!"

Yesterday was the very last recognized Horse Trial here in Area 1 and there is some sadness in saying good bye!  Some folks will travel south and catch a few in Area 2 and others will be cleaning and putting away vests, studs (or if you're me, you throw them in your tack box and act surprised when they have mud on them and are a bit rusty.) "'Til next year, 'til next year", I say, "'til next year!"

Maisy was lucky to finish her second Horse Trial ever with the Happy Young Professional (HYP)!  Have I mentioned that she's Irish (IDSH)?  And, if you know anything about the Irish, they are a bit bold, maybe a tiny bit stubborn, love to socialize and are a bit too smart (OK, I'm of Irish descent and I can name a few other interesting stereotypes.)  Ms Maisy is very true to her heritage (although she is half German, hmmmm).


Used with permission
www.spottedvisionphotography
 
At the barn, she's shaking like a leaf perhaps anticipating a wild day of hunting, or a long separation from her beloved gelding friends?  At the show, she boldly moved off with nary a hesitation (let me show you a few things HYP).  She floated around the crowded warm up as if she was alone in a valley of thick sweet clover - light on the ground, soft in her body and floppy ears.

This show she knew her job and wanted to help the HYP do the dressage test... well the one that she KNEW and not necessarily the one required by the organizing committee.  The HYP was discreet in reminding her that this was just her second go and that maybe the HYP knew more than she did.  It was a lovely test - 30.8 for first place.


Used with permission
www.spottedvisionphotography
Her jumping was big, bold and brassy.  Did we not know that she did this three weeks ago and knows exactly what she should be doing? If you watch the video, you can see a moment's hesitation...  My Lil' Country Bumpkin might know what she's doing but she still doesn't understand what all the activity is outside of the arena and sometime gets distracted (SQUIRREL).  Clean and still in 1st place.

Her cross country was fast and her jumping careful.  There was never a hesitation in her jumping but there was a big galloping stride that added 2.8 speed faults finishing in 4th place.  And, Ms Maisy was quite pleased with herself...  And, I'm sure would've enjoyed a beer!

Today, she and her BFF went on a Hunter Pace.  Despite a few moments of hysteria when her lover left her or new horses joined us at the check, she was a very lovely ride.  And, I jumped jumps (not all of them) and she was quite the lady!  I love this horse!  I really do!

 Our debut will be at a schooling show on Halloween.  My only goal is to get the first done so I too can be a bold, smart, know-it-all!  Then, cheers to winter wanderings and some butt kicking jumping lessons... 

Next year it would be great to start the season early... hmmmm, maybe I'll have sweet corn in June next year too!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

JUST BE!

Ganesh - the Remover
of Obstacles
What we think, we become.  Buddha
 
We all know an Eeyore...  it's that person who always seems to have bad luck.  Things never go right for them no matter what... Life is always hard!  If you were to ask an Eeyore how was their day, they would have a long list of things that didn't go well.  Ask them what did go well and you'd stop them in their tracks - "nothing" would be their sad reply.  Eeyore's life is exactly what they want it to be because, "What we think, we become."
 
My confession this Sunday night...  I think I've become Maisy's Eeyore. 
 
Oh, did I mention that Maisy's Happy Young Professional competed my Lil' Country Bumpkin at her first recognized Horse Trial?  Well, Maisy came out of the trailer and marched down to the dressage warm up as if she was a almost-ready-to-retire-Grand-Prix-dressage-horse.  
 
All Gussied Up - Like a Grown Up
By the time I walked down to watch, Maisy was in full warm up, ears soft, fancy prancing in a very tight electric environment.  I turned to a friend and said, "I know she's mine but dear god, if she wasn't I'd be lusting after that horse!" 
 
She entered the ring at a brilliant, relaxed trot and... wait... where is the spooking at the judges booth?  The letters?  Wait, why isn't she spooking at K?  Wait?!  That is amazing...  My Lil' Country Bumpkin did her first dressage test and scored a 28.4!  A 28.4!

 
Maisy and her HYP did well.  She was very green and jumped big but competently.  She did have a refusal at the first jump on the XC course.  She came out of the start box as if she knew exactly what she was doing.  My friend, watching, said it looked like she was confused, waiting for all the horses to follow her and stopped when they didn't.  It was the last bobble of the day and off they went with her green self getting bolder as they traveled over the course.
 
I haven't ridden well since then.  Oh, it didn't happen overnight...  Over the next two weeks, I couldn't get her straight, couldn't get her to hold herself up in the ring at a canter, and finally, couldn't even force myself to jump a cross rail by myself.  I was disgusted with myself and depressed...  "We'll just trail ride...  HYP and Dressage Trainer can show her.  They ride her better than I ever will...  I'll just get her fit."
 
We were signed up for a dressage clinic.  I wanted to cancel.  It would be in an indoor and Maisy hasn't been in one since the PPE and maybe not at all before that.  I didn't want to humiliate myself any further.  It was expensive and well, all we were capable of doing was the walk and was that worth spending the money?
 
"You know how to ride!  Why are you riding her like you don't?  Ride her exactly like you would have ridden Sugar!  You have the skills and ability to make this happen for the both of you!  Ride her like that!"
 
And, something changed.  I stopped worrying that I was ruining her, that someone rode her better than me, that it was so hard and I can't make mistakes or everything gained would be lost...  I stopped worrying and started to ride her.  Ride her just a little tougher, a little more demanding and much more confidently...  and, it was magical.  I felt that "I CAN DO THIS!" 
 
So, I dropped my entry into the mailbox.  Just a schooling show and at 2'3" Elementary and I am ok with that.  Just a mere 4 days ago, I had a lovely trail horse...  Now, I am an eventer with a green but eager event horse!
 
I CAN DO THIS!
 
video
 
 


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The RIGHT STUFF

 
I saw this quote today:  "Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help and brave enough to ask for it. (Unknown)"  It felt so good and so right. 
Pure coincidence on the matching outfits! 

You see Maisy will be competing in her very first event this week and, I am not her rider.   It is the right thing for the both of us.  My Lil' Country Bumpkin is going to need a confident ride to help her focus on the jumps in front of her rather than the normal chaos of a good sized event.  She needs someone to make it fun and successful.  And I believe that the Young Happy Professional is the right one to guide her in her start as an eventing pony.

My turn will come!  And, when that happens, Maisy will be able to focus on the jumps ahead and I will be able to manage my nerves.  Well, at least my anxiety won't crush her urge to jump by then.  She will know her job and I will be confident to keep on going forward.  It's all the right stuff!

I wish I could tell you I was sad or feeling low about this decision... maybe then you'd think it was long hard debate on what's best for Maisy and a final self-sacrifice on my part.  Yeah, I wish I could say that...  Instead...

Still a bit of an overachiever...
Waaaaaaa hooooooo!  Maisy is going to King Oak Farms Horse Trials this weekend!  And my soul job is to groom her within a inch of her life and make what is attractive... amazingly clean and beautiful. Waaaaaa hooooooo!  Grooming, pictures and being a proud parent!  Shhhhhh...  I love this role! 

I can not tell you how much I've missed getting Sugar ready for shows.  Oh, I do like competing myself and will do so before the end of the season.  But, I absolutely LOVE show grooming and presentation.  And, Foxglen's Lady Margaret will look fantastic even if she can not stop herself from picking her head up to look around. 

And, let me tell you how awesome the Young Happy Professional is...  When she did a dry run of the dressage test she turned to me and said, "Wow, your hard work really shows, that was a rather decent canter circle and respectable dressage test!" 

Shhhhhh..  my ego is not dead!  It just chooses its battles carefully! 

This is the pre-show jumping lesson...  I spent most of the lesson watching and waiting for the spooks...  Not a thing!  Just jumped da jumps!

My time will come... Course Brook Horse Trials Halloween Schooling Trial at whatever level I feel comfortable with!
 
 
 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

DOING TIME...

Do not judge me too harshly... In the spirit of being honest (it is a confession's blog), I've had moments this week where I've been consumed with sadness.  You see, I still miss Sugar.  I emphasize the word "moments" because I am not consumed by grief but the sadness is real and deep. 

Used with permission
www.connecticutphotos.com
Maybe its more real now because I was at Town Hill Horse Trials cheering on and "grooming" for the Bestest Eventing Buddy and the Newbie Eventer.  {{{The quotes come from the BEB... she feels I chat too much to actually take the quotes out. Harrumph}}}

Town Hill Horse Trials 2014 was the year Sug and I were on fire and showed up for all three phases.  In essence, we finished our career together with a fourth place.  And, we finished in style - fast and furious with the promise of being back at Novice after 3.5 years struggling with nerves. 

I was filled with the feeling of that victory over my fear this weekend.  It was mostly exhilarating with those moments of sadness.

Time...  Damn, it takes time to build a relationship and the trust I need to feel confident.  Time...  it owns me and teases me.  I am like a three year old who hasn't had a nap...  "I want it and I want it now!"

Maisy is turning out to be kind of special (no quotes intended).  Under saddle she is a rock star... not a spook in her and she LOVES to jump, wants to go to the jump and looks for more jumps.  And, I can ride her in the dark out in a field and she is ok with that... even at the canter. 

And, she whinnies when I come into the barn and looks for me when I'm there.  If I get unseated or rattled when she over jumps, she quietly waits until I reclaim my space.  There is not a mean bone in her body.  She wants to please and I love her more each day.
Truly a good girl!

Maybe the sadness is tinged with a little guilt. Maisy is not Sugar in so many ways.  Sometimes I miss riding the Wild Thing but mostly, I know how much of my confidence issues were and are a result of riding the Wild Thing.  Maisy has the wonderful gaits, the beauty and the talent that Sug had without the drama.  And, it feels just a little guilty saying that.

I'm doing the time and we're getting to be a team and maybe soon, jumping will be just another fun thing to do rather than the event to prepare for it is now.  Maisy is like that...  And, I am glad that she came into my life.

Monday, August 17, 2015

DEMONS FOR TEA!

The Wise Man told a story today about a woman practicing her yoga as three demons come crashing through the front door screeching and circling her ominously.  When the din became so loud that she no longer could practice, she built a fire.  The demons screamed and followed her into the kitchen as she quietly filled a tea pot and set it on the fire.  Louder and closer they came but she serenely went about setting four cups, cream and sugar and a plate of the finest scones.
Not a worry here!
The demons could stand it no longer and swooped down and asked what she was doing.  "Well", she said, "you will always be here, invited or not.  You might as well stay for tea."  With that, the demons quieted and joined her for a cup of tea...  her terms and not theirs.

You know, Maisy has been fantastic...  I think she is going to be the perfect amateur's horse and I'm lucky to have her.  Oh, there are moments of...  "Really?  What's up with that?"  But, I must emphasize that I'm talking about moments.  And, never once have I felt like a rock start riding out the wild thing... because Maisy is an agreeable, level-headed, nothing-phases-me kind of horse.

Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health
Yet, I still live with those demons!  I still fight the fight to keep the demons at bay so I can jump anxiety free.  And what a fight it is.  If I jump something every week, there is progress.  Missing a week sets me back and I want to scream at my trainer, "Dear God, don't push me! (even if there is no push intended)"

Maisy is green.  And her balance in the ring needs much work but oh my!, the potential is amazing.  And, the pleasure I get from riding a spook free horse can not be adequately described.  Sometimes I think, wow, Sugar really was hard to ride.  And, when I have to ride out in a big field as the sun disappears into darkness and my Lil' Country Bumpkin keeps working as if it was noon, I could cry with the joy of having such a good girl.

It's the demons that disturb...  They are ghosts of things unresolved in my past.  And, the fight to hold them at bay is exhausting.  Do I invite them for tea?  Offer them the finest scones?  Acceptance has a power unto itself...  So, I am a bit of a weenie jumper (now)?  So what?  Who is really judging me?

Do they even like tea?  Wait, scones are delicious!  I think accepting them as a part of my experience and allowing them to show up and then setting them aside to eat and drink as I ride is the right thing to do...

Hmmmm, do you think they'll steal the silver tea set while I'm jumping?  Hmmmm!

{{{{At a Meditation Retreat... a silent retreat!  I do know how to partay!!!}}}}}

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

READING THE END FIRST

Photo by Liz Kast
A pat for a good girl from a happy girl!
Here's a few confessions for you...  I like to read the last chapter of every book I read.  When watching a television series or a reading a book series, I google the plot summary so I know what's going to happen.  Oh, and here's another one, I read every spoiler alert and if you've seen the movie, I'll even ask you to tell me everything about it.  And, {{{here goes}}} it does not bother me a bit!  I just wanna know!

And if, in the moment, you asked me to tell you about our very first XC schooling lesson went, I would have gushed and smiled.  It was fantastic!  Oh, we did not jump anything but logs but we did it well! 


Water is fine!
You see, Sugar (god rest her soul), did not like XC schooling and for the most part was a wild spooky thang.  It took us 9 years to realize that Sugar was best at running a course and calling it a day.  The stop/start pace of XC schooling with horses leaving and galloping back was just too much for her to handle.   It was always a battle to keep her feet on the ground and to go forward over jumps without spooking.

Maisy, just jumps da jumps.  There is no hysteria, no reluctance to leave the group and no bold galloping with some leaping to get back to the herd.  She just jumps da jumps!  Weird isn't it?

Maisy's Twenty Something Friend
schooling her
Had the weekend ended on that note, my Lil' Country Bumpkin would have been my hero.  But I did not read the end of the book... Ms Maisy was a bit of naughty girl at the hunter pace.  Well, more than a bit but less than god awful.  I'll leave the details for some other day...  but, will continue to shake my head and say...  "Really?"

For all you new horse owners (and I do know a few of you), can we get a group hug?  When do the surprises stop?  When do you know and react effectively? 

A Wise Woman listened to my tale and said, "You know, in a year, you'll be laughing at this period and talking about the old "remember whens...  And, like delivering a baby, you forget the pain of childbirth and live with the love. It all works out!"

Do you think I can look up our story on Wikipedia? Maybe our Plot Summary can be googled?  Gosh, this living life on life's terms is really hard...  Where is a Wise Woman when you need one!

Well, she does Jump da Jumps!  And do you know what?  I actually feel that I can jump them too!  And, that IS good!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

CARPE DIEM

And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. ~Abraham Lincoln


Not a hound who
worries!
On your death bed, do you tell the stories of how hard you worked, that project that got done on time or the sales call that went well?  It was that kind of week!  Everything that I loved and all the things I cherish put on hold for that one big meeting, that one big sale!

Monday's lesson canceled.  "I'm sorry!  Things got screwed up and I have to stay late."  And, I think to myself, "Well, sometimes you have to put work first so you can continue to enjoy this life!  At least I have the Solstice Ride Friday!"

Tuesday's attempt to master the 20 meter circle before our first dressage show became quick swipe of the brush and a rush to beat the setting sun.  "Oh well, we'll look like drunks on a binge but, really, this show was about getting out not winning.  And, when we gallop at the Solstice Ride, that'll loosen her up a bit!" 

Wednesday's call to the Eventing Trainer sounded so familiar, "I have to cancel my lesson, big presentation tomorrow and I need to work late to prepare."  And I tell myself, "I'll be on vacation soon, I'll make up the lessons then...  This presentation must go well!  And, I'll jump at the Solstice Ride!"

Our ride Thursday had the makings of a good training ride - working on Maisy's balance and rhythm while obsessing on whether or not the new saddle worked for me.  Our circles were odd egg shaped ovals and our work down the long line had every appearance of a toddler running down hill. 
I want to be free!

I wondered... "Is this saddle throwing me all around?  Am I hanging on her mouth?  Is the girth tight enough?  Is the girth too tight?  Does Maisy like this saddle?  Did I waste $3,600 buying it?  I wonder if we won that sale?  Dear god, did I send that email out?  Can't wait for the Solstice Ride!"

You always think that you can make things happen exactly according to your plan.  I was to send out the "Thank You for meeting with us, here's why you love us and why you can not live without us" email, then, write a few more to catch up from all that was pushed aside and get out of work by 3 (no later than 3:30). 

It was not to be - no Solstice Ride, didn't get into the dressage show and no word about our presentation.  I tell myself "Sigh, sometimes work does have to come first!"



Freedom from worry and fret! 
Have you ever had one of those weeks where things just don't go your way?  And, then you think...  wait...  the weather forecast for the show is torrential rain and you really weren't ready even for walk/trot.  And, although you really wanted to do the Solstice Ride, you had a lovely walk around the fields as the sun set.  And work did go pretty well and you may just get that sale!

And, in celebration of a very hard work week, Newbie Eventer and I took our ponies out for a romp just a mere 7 miles away from the barn on a beautiful cool summer morning.  And, as we cantered around the "bowl", I smiled...  "This is why I bought Maisy!  This lovely, spook free, effortless canter that floats upward and out!  This is a tiny bit of heaven right here on earth!  Everything is gonna be ok!  Everything!"


Carpe Diem!  Seize the day! 


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

IN LOVING MEMORY

Last night while "chatting" about Maisy with Sugar's Twenty Something Friend, I said something to the effect of  "Yes, I am very happy with Maisy.  Yet, I still miss Sugar.  I find myself wishing that I could have them both."

Her kind and loving reply... "Ok, I'm going to put my B**CH hat on and say, TAKE SUGAR OFF THE PEDESTAL.  She was one tough cookie and as much as you learned, Maisy is going to actually allow you to enjoy it and put that anxiety behind you...  Me thinks it's time to smudge that old relationship away!"

Oh my!  Oh my!  Oh my!  And, I think she's right.  Maybe it's time to shine light on the shadow of Sug that covers Ms Maisy's shiny grey coat!

It would be so hard to say goodbye to all that was Sugar and our 10 years together.  Allowing those memories to live well is a gift to a period in my life that was pivotal on so many levels. 

So, the energy must be towards building the relationship with Maisy without the comparison (good or bad) to Sugar.  Maybe that's the key to letting go of the anxiety that became so much a part of jumping Sugar. 

Groton House Farm Horse Trial is just a little over a week away.  If you are a competitor, you might notice that a Stadium Jumping fence is honoring her life while supporting a great event.  And, if you happen to pick up the program, you will see the tribute designed by the Bestest Eventing Buddy...

I think this is not a goodbye to Sugar but the start of a Hello to Maisy...  Yes, that feels just right!

Monday, June 15, 2015

WEEKEND RAMBLINGS

Fancy dancy girl!
Maisy whinnied at me yesterday and I blushed like a school girl in the midst of her first crush.  "What? You know me? Me?  Does that mean you love me?  Me?  OMG, you do love me?"    Then I quickly looked around and ran down the Sugar checklist of needs:
  • Is there enough hay? {yes}
  • Do I need to adjust your flysheet? {no}
  • Is your neighbor in the barn? {no}
  • Are you hurt? {no}
By gosh, that whinny was for me!  OMG!  I think she knows me!

Playing hard to get!
And since this is gray day for rambling - Did you know that Lucinda Greene goes out for a run every morning before she teaches her clinics?

When the Newbie Eventer and I pulled into Ledyard Farm for her clinic, we saw a woman running up and down the hills of Boston's North Shore. She waived enthusiastically as we drove by and continued on at a very nice pace. And, later taught a kick a** eventing clinic all day in the hot sun looking as fresh and enthusiastic as she did when she started. God, I want to be more like her!

Did you also know that one of her major themes was telling the riders to dare to make mistakes. Being "perfect" is to stop learning and when we make mistakes we get stronger as riders fixing them. It was like a flow of energy released onto the field. She gave them the freedom to try and and the tools to get better. God, that works in everyday life!

After auditing the Lucinda Greene Clinic and watching the Bestest Eventing Buddy ride with Sharon White, I was pumped up with the need to master the one cavaletti set up in our barn's jumping field. 

You see I've been eyeing that damn cavaletti for two days trying to will myself to pop over it with my lil' country bumpkin.  And, for two days... walked away from it with all the past images of my mistakes and failings dancing through my need to jump.

Not me, BEB!
Shhh, I fell just a little more in love yesterday.  Maisy popped over it - big but simple - and, then we cantered up the hill just two girls with not a care in the world.

Today I answered my Eventing Trainer's text about Maisy's progress and finished with, "I think we're ready to jump with you!"  And, I smiled!  I think we're ready!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A STAR IS BORN

Sometimes you have a thought and that thought becomes a conversation and when the thought becomes a swirl of emotions that circle about your mind, you know that, sometimes, it's best to take that thought and let it out into the universe.

A fellow eventer/blogger/horse girl died this week.  She was 52 doing one of the sports that kept her fit and happy.  We "knew" each other through our blogs and met, face to face, just once at the USEA Annual Meeting.

I always knew, from her blog, facebook and COTH posts that she was one of the good ones.   She volunteered at events, supported up and coming riders, sponsored our top athletes, competed herself, worked full time and kept herself in tip top shape.

What I did not know was how much she did and how much she gave of herself or for that matter, who she really was...  What I do know was that she was a grateful woman, of a generous nature who did not fear giving her time and self to do good for others.

When Sugar died, she reached out to me and asked me to continue blogging and told me how much she enjoyed the journey.  And then, connected me with people and horses to help speed the search to heal my hurting heart.

Her death touched me in a way that I've struggled to figure out...  So young..  But, it wasn't the closeness in our ages but the true feeling of loss.  You see, you may not know her, but she was one of the good ones.  Her acts of kindness and generosity beget more acts of kindness and generosity from those of us recipients and the recipients of those that knew her...


I hope that when I leave this earth, I leave a quiet legacy of kindness, generosity and yes, love.  I will talk to the stars tonight and tell my blogger friend that she is an inspiration to live life well with and towards others.  Thank you.

Tributes to this blogger friend, use as your own inspiration:

USEA -  http://useventing.com/news/memoriam-seema-sonnad

Eventing Nation - http://eventingnation.com/home/eventing-community-mourns-the-loss-of-seema-sonnad/

University of PA - http://www.ajmc.com/newsroom/In-Memoriam-Seema-S-Sonnad-PhD--Colleague-Mentor-Friend

Her Friend's Blog - http://bluehillfarm.blogspot.com/2015/05/because-of-seema.html

A fellow blogger's blog who's story touched my heart again - http://www.teamflyingsolo.com/2015/05/its-not-about-eventing-its-about-living.html


 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

CHANGE OR MOVE ON!

Nothin' like a Lab
Thursday's company meeting was the quarterly report or "state of the union" and like a lot of company meetings it had its theme.  This one was that we must "EMBRACE CHANGE or wither as a company, afraid to move forward".  And, "More things will be thrown at us, some at a very quick pace because to succeed we MUST see change as essential and welcome it's activity." 

Finally, as we all sat in rapture of this motivational speech, came the kicker, "Some of you might want what you have in the past and may want the comfort of what was familiar... know that change will happen and if you feel the pull of resistance, feel free to move on."

Can I tell you a secret?  I cried today at the start of what was to be my first jumping lesson on Maisy.  Yes, it was nerves...  but there was something more. 

For whatever it's worth, good or bad, I knew Sugar.  I knew she would be spooky, quick to spin and more often than I liked, I could be spun off.  But, I also knew the rhythm of her stride, the cadence of her foot falls, whether the twitch of her ears was a good thing or a warning.  I knew her...  And, I still miss her...

Friday, I took Maisy over to the City Barn to get her back into the trailer for a short ride AND, if all went well, maybe jump a couple of logs in the XC field or, at least, work out in the open!  I did not have my big girl panties on and just did flat work and walked over some of the logs. 

Newbie Eventer needed to do ditches and the water complex before her event next week so we hacked over to it.  Her steed took a hard look at the complex, rocked backward and bravely went in. 
OHEC Water Complex

Maisy went to the edge hesitantly, dabbled one front hoof in the water and then, I felt started to drop to roll.  I was wrong, she gathered her hind end and jumped in, clearing what was a 4' imaginary jump.  After completely misjudging her actions, I popped off, mid-air, and landed with a splash dab smack in the center of the complex.  Maisy stood there looking at me confused at why I decided to go swimming.

Smiles for the future!
Change - Ten years of Sugar/Saccharine antics at green roll tops, lattice, hay bales, scary corners, farm equipment... you name it and I've never hit the water!  Hmmm, two thoughts - Maisy is not Sugar AND I've been there/done that and we're good!

Dressage Trainer looked at me before today's lesson and knew...  She said, "You're wishing that nothing changed, right?"  And, I cried.  And, then the Wise Woman in her said, "Change can be for the better, right?  And, maybe Change will be exactly what you need.  Welcome the changes as they happen and be sure you take the time you need... There is no rush."

Then we jumped.  Cavelettis to a vertical... nothing huge...  Just two girls learning to adjust to life's changes - together...  All in good time!

Monday, May 18, 2015

HOW DO YOU DO IT?

Minions at work
In no uncertain terms, Sugar was a warhorse...  She had the body of an elite middle weight body builder - big, strong and muscled.  When she walked off the trailer, she owned the territory and her minions made her world safe.   And, she never once left you wondering how she felt for emotional displays were her mark.  The equine Mariah Carey!

I was so afraid (and so were others) that I would find a similar soul in my next partner/friend.  So afraid that I did not shop alone and that I carried the mantra that "He must jump da jumps and beautiful is not an absolute".   And, if I found a beautiful or handsome horse I lusted over, I must wait before making a move...  "He must jump da jumps and beautiful is not an absolute".
Best Eventing Buddy takin
Maisy for a stroll


Maisy is beautiful.  Oops!  {{{Newbie Eventer, how did that happen?}}}

Maisy is not Sugar.  And, gosh... that is so confusing!  She hacks out alone and her one spook was a quick look away from a pile of rocks (always a surpise to our southern horses).  That's it!  No prop, spin and leap... just a look and a slight move away from the "scary" pile of stone.  And, she's walked passed big construction equipment and nothing...  HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN?


Trainer ride - Looking fancy!
 She is a very sensitive soul.  Oh, not in the diva fit way that was our norm but in the quiet, "I'll stand here and shake/shiver and sweat" kind of way.  I feel like she wants to do what I ask her to do but if it makes her uncomfortable, she internalizes it...  And, this sweet thing, is ulcery...

Everyone wants her to be successful, to jump da jumps and to be an event pony so the suggestions come in hard and fast...  Supplements, chiro, massage, acupuncture, new saddles... Try this, don't do that, do that... no, this, how about that? 

Welcome home!
How do you do it? How do you absorb the cost of treatment ($750 or so)? And, what if her tension requires anything more? How do you do that too?  Where do you skimp? How do you do it?  The pressure of not being rich is killing me.  {{{Note to self - win the lottery, ok?}}}  

And, then you have a moment with your new pony and her trot is amazing.  And you breathe, remembering that Sugar had ten years and we figured her out over and over again. 

Maisy, I think I'll do the same.  "All in good time", said the lil' pinto pony, "All in good time!"


Thursday, May 7, 2015

INTRODUCTIONS

Hello!
I am a greeter by nature.  Not really a Walmart Greeter but that friendly (dear god, please don't say intrusive) person that smiles, says hi and asks you about your horse.  It comes in a gush, "Love your braids", "Your horse is beautiful", "Great ride!"  "How'd you do?"  and on and on and on.

I am paid (again not a Walmart Greeter) to meet people, get to know them and help them feel comfortable and I help them with their problems.  I always said that the first date for me was easy.  Engaging a stranger in conversation, encouraging them to share their secrets and making them feel at home.  (Now, do not ask me how I do on dates beginning with #3....)

Eight weeks after I said good bye to the love of my life, Maisy  came to New England to enjoy our weather and the ministrations of an expert groomer and Sugar's former staff member.

Foxglen's Lady Margaret
aka Maisy
It was an arranged marriage with a very short dating period (one day).  It was a wonderful day, where I tested her hand gallop (floaty and uphill) and jumped a vertical or two.  My chaperone, Newbie Eventer, also rode her and jumped even bigger jumps and loved her so.  Now, just 4 rides into our relationship, I want her to tell me everything and I want her to tell me NOW! 

Ahhhh, patience!  A wise woman once told me to think more about grounding myself than seeking patience for being grounded is about centering the excitement and being patient only holds it a bay.


Used with permission
www.dexterpix.com
Oddly enough, my strength and confidence in doing things with Sugar came from the familiarity of a ten year relationship.  I knew what she would do in any given instant.  I could feel her energy and I knew what I had under me.  Her ears and her body conveyed what was coming and it was up to me to deal with it whatever it was.

I knew that Sug would jump if I told her to jump.  I knew she would spook, at what and when.  And, in my heart, wrong or right, I knew that if I could meet her, everything would be ok!


Our first solitary hack
No Spook... what a nice surprise!
But, what of Ms Maisy?  Was I so filled with the love of her gallop and the promise of more that I forgot to find out if she enjoyed evenings over jump courses?  What if this beautiful hunt horse who can jump a 4' coop on a fox hunt has no desire to jump da jumps in the ring? 

Dear god woman, did you not ask the right questions? 

I did.  Now, Maisy, it is just you and me.  Will you tell me your secrets?  Will you tell me them NOW?

Somewhere I hear the echo of my beloved Lil' Pinto Pony saying, "All in good time...  All in good time!  Enjoy the moments as she tells you her stories...  Enjoy!"  


{{{Maisy, aka Foxglen's Lady Margaret is a 9 year old 17.1H IDSH (sire Foxglen Himself out of a Hannoverian Mare).  She has hunted First Flight with a VA hunt, schooled XC and SJ but has not evented.  She is to be my Event Horse who hunts.}}}}