Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Groton House Farms Horse Trials completed Sunday...  I did not.

It wasn't because I couldn't do a Training Level Stadium Course or that I wussed out and withdrew because of torrential rain or thunder and lightening.  I believe it was because I did not realize that landmarks used to determine your XC route could also be ...  um... obstacles to avoid. 

Oh, the stories that could be told and may never be told are vast...  it was an EPIC weekend.  Not the kind of epic weekend where you are given lovely fruit dipped in exquisite chocolate by your masseuse or where you are seated in a beautiful restaurant overlooking the San Francisco Bay with the man of your dreams.  Nope...  not that!

Dressage was our best of the season - 33.6   And, I'm sure it could've been better if I hadn't thrown two Novice transitions in as a bonus to my Training Test A.  What made me happy was that Sugar was present, obedient and I was able to get some brilliance.  The afternoon made me smile.

Groton House Farm HT is absolutely fabulous!  The XC course is made for galloping and jumping in stride.  The jumps are big natural obstacles... and the questions asked are fair.  I've dreamed of riding it for 6 years and it was going to be mine soon. 

Jonah completing GHF's Novice XC
No pictures of Sug and I...
As I walked the course with my coach and fellow rider, I could not stop feeling the thrill of the run.  I could not wait. 

My warmup was awesome...  Sug and I had fire in our bellies...  we were prepared and ready to roll.  Out of the startbox and on to the course...  just she and I...  Over the first jump, in stride and off to jump #2 a nice oxer...  up and over.  Life was looking really good and I was having a blast.

Here's where the course walks come in.  Jump #3 was a log jump with a slight down hill landing which ended up down hill.  The plan was to half halt at the entrance of the woods, then ride a forward show jumping approach...  treat it almost like a drop, then run down hill left of the tree.  Then make a gradual right hand turn to gallop to the fourth jump.

Note the landmark...  TREE.  You see, when walking one's course... one might also view said landmark as an obstacle to avoid.  That's right...  a tree.   Now this tree is about three strides from the jump and to the right of the novice landing.  Sugar has run this course four times with professionals (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009) at Training Level.  I am sure that the Pro went right after the jump to take the short approach to the next fence.

So, we landed... I executed my plan to go straight ahead the same time that Sugar turned right to go directly to fence 4.  Surely the slight downhill played a part in my catapulting into the landmark - TREE - thus ending my Groton House Farm dream.

Four broken ribs and bruising that rivals a motorcycle accident are the consolation prizes. My already lumpy middle aged buttocks has taken on a whole new shape and color.  I swear it has its own zip code now...

I was disappointed that I never got to ride Groton House or prove that I can do a Training Level Stadium Jumping course.   Yes I was...  I can not lie.

Friends make everything ok!
What has made me teary (not a side affect of percocet) is how everyone has come together to help me.  The Chase Farm Crew for taking care of Sugar and packing everything up to come home, Groton House Volunteers/EMTS/TDs/Organizers for being kind and insistent that I go to the ER despite me being sure that all I did was pull a pectoral muscle, to the Devil Child for shuttling off to the hospital with me and listening to my chattery, to all my friends and family who said kind words to sooth my savage ego. 

You know...  the world is a very good place filled with awesome people.  I am lucky to be a part of it!  I will ride GHF one day...  knowing that there is much love out there!  And one must not let landmarks become obtacles!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Live streaming Rolex Three Day is a blast.  I love the running commentary because its raw, unscripted and honest.  It was really a bit funny when they paired Bobby Costello and an Olympic Jumper rider (can not for the life of me remember who it was...  Sorry).   At one point, when a rider jumped off a bank into the water, she critiqued the ride... (not quoted/remembered) - Look at how the rider is behind the vertical and loses the reins...  time and accuracy is lost while they scramble to pull the horse together.  You could hear Bobby take a deep breath and gently, take her through the proper XC ride.  She never jumped to speak first from that point forward.

Novice - Valinor HT 2011
Kind of pretty...
Photo courtesy of http://www.flatlandsfoto.com/
Who hasn't heard or read threads that Eventers "GET IT DONE" that "Ooo, that was ugly but we were clear".  I've even seen our pride rear its ugly head when we talk about Equitation Riders or Hunters...  "pretty, perched on a perfect pony".  

Ok...  let me be the first to say...  I want to be effective as much as I want to be pretty!  My most favorite, exhilerating rides are those that are galloped forward and in stride.  I want that!  I want that!  I want that! 


Groton House Farm Horse Trials begins in five days and I am entered at Novice Training (Training Dressage, Novice XC at Training Speed and Training Stadium Jumping).  I went for a lesson yesterday to tune up @ Training for GHF.  It was not pretty!  Actually, it was painfully awkward and a bit uncomfortable.  Keep in mind, not dangerous at all...  but seriously...  NOT PRETTY!

The move from Novice to Training seemed easy ...  "What is another 4 inches?  It is the width of my hand, the thickness of another rail and really, are you going to notice that on a 16.3+H horse?  Really?"  Nahhhh, is what I said when I entered.  Yesterday's lesson did not scare me.  My confidence is still intact.  But I have been humbled...

The jumps were just another 4" and they came up faster and I needed more pace, more hind end impulsion and I needed to be thinking quicker and reacting faster.  I had to balance Sug better while asking for more...  more...  more...  I HAD TO BE A BETTER RIDER!  And, if this was a performance appraisal...  I met standards...  not exceeded...  I just met standards.  {{{sigh}}}

At one point, I wanted to scream at my trainer, "Should I drop down?"  I really did.  Then the thought passed through my cluttered mind, "if she really thought I'd be a disaster or dangerous, she would say it".  Then I thought...  "Oh, it won't be pretty but I will be safe and I will complete."  I will get better, that I know...  I want pretty.  I want effective.  And I want it now!

I have 5 days... loads of determination and an inner cowgirl that roars.   Let's do it!

Friday, June 17, 2011


Dating is risky business...  Way back when and a long time ago, I did online dating.  When it came to the actual hook-up, I practiced rape-prevention quite diligently.  Before leaving for said date, I would carefully prepare...  First call my BFF and put her on alert - "I am meeting Blind-Date-Guy at X-time in a public place.  I will be taking my own car to provide a sure-fire escape plan. I will not be trapped."  Hmmm, do you wonder yet why I've remained single all these years?  It was a twisted way to seek a mate, huh?
Complete Trust

There is a thread on one of my Horsey Bulletin boards that is driving me crazy...  (Ok, it may be a short trip but it shouldn't be wasted.)  You see, the thread is about trailering or more specifically, how to say no to folks who ask you share a ride.

I was shocked at how many posters would not share a ride, who worried about liability, who thought it wrong for someone to ask or thought the person asking was taking advantage of the trailer owner.  Shocked I say.

You see, unlike the dark world of my dating past, I believe that sometimes you just gotta trust!  As a kid, I was a poor barn rat who, through the generosity of others (and hard work) found a place in the horse world.  Without these kind folk, who knows what life would have been like...

You gotta pay it forward!  For every kindness recieved, you must release another kindness.   Dare I say it?  It is about Karma!  You gotta give back for what the world has generously given to you.
Bestest Eventing Buddy
Photo Courtesy of www.Flatlandsfoto.com

I don't buy the liability/insurance fear excuse/worry.  Yeah, it might happen and someone might sue you but really?  Do you want to spend a life in fear of being raped (odd metaphor but it works if you think about it) or do you want to meet great people and share in a lot of good times?

Oddly enough, I met my Bestest Eventing Buddy in kind of like a great blind date.  Area 1 has a place on its bulletin board for folks to "ask" for trailer rides.  I answered an ad/post and have enjoyed 3 eventing seasons/adventures with one truly awesome Buddy.  Ah, the stories...  some other post, I'm sure.

And let's not forget the random act of kindness from the Good Samaritan who gave Sugar a ride home last weekend while the DWSB laid broken on the side of the road.  It is folk like this that make the world an awesome place.

Really, sometimes you just gotta trust!  The world is an amazing place when you do!!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011


DWSB Bleeding Out
kar·ma/ˈkärmə/Noun  1. (in Hinduism and Buddhism) The sum of a person's actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.

Deep thoughts for a Monday...  I believe to this to be true.  If I do good things, am a good person, right my wrongs and see life in good terms, than that is what the universe returns to me.  What shocked me is to hear a total stranger, a Good Samaritan, waive off my unending stream of thanks by saying, "Karma is why I do this.  If I give out good Karma to you, you will give good Karma to someone else and that good Karma always comes back.  One day it will be me and someone will do the same."

The DWSB (Double Wide Short Bus) left it's first stop in the pouring rain at 5:30am with a full load:
  • One whiny/exhausted Novice Rider heading to Valinor Horse Trials
  • One, almost, very white braided and polished Princess/Diva Event Horse
  • Two very awesome companions/coaches/grooms/friends - New Barn Girl, Devil Child
  • One slightly smelly, flatulent Convict
  • And, a full load of eventing equipment for the compulsive Scorpio rider
It was an uneventful ride...  unless the torrential rain and verbal diarrhea disturbed anyone but the person (me) going on and on about scratching and not riding in torrential rain and/or doing a very expensive dressage test and heading home.  The DWSB was smooth and experienced...  taking care of the "team" as it should.

The ride home...  not so much.  Less than 5 miles from the grounds, the truck lost power gave a pop and died.  I coasted it without power, carrying its precious cargo to a stop on Route 3 in Plymouth.  Dead, dead, dead....

Minutes later, while on the phone with USRider, http://www.usrider.org/index2.html, a truck and trailer pulled off the highway.  It was a fellow Eventer (David Wilson, owner of Flying High Stables, Andover, MA).  It was clear that the DWSB was bleeding out... he offered to take Sugar home, to keep her safe and sound after a long day at Valinor HT.   It was an offer of immense proportions.  Grateful, as a word, does not express my thoughts.   So off they went with Devil Child as Sug's girl. 

NBG avoiding paparazzi
And, New Barn Girl, the Convict and I waited.  I've said this in another post (It Takes a Village), tragedy really helps you reflect on what you have and the good in your life.  My village rocks...  NBG is hysterically funny...  Her Karma - never did she complain, always had a laugh, didn't allow me to feel any more guilty about the situation than what it was and that is a gift.  And at the barn, the Barn Owner took care of Sug's home - clean stall, water and food and the Devil Child took care of the rest.

Oh, that's right...  I did show that day too.  Dressage was uneventful... couple of contained spooks but no real diva hijinxs...  a 40 but I had a horse willing to try to perform.  Stadium Jumping was the best we've done ever...  double clear, forward and rhythmic and jumping from her hind end.  Cross country...  ahhh... fast and clean.  I will say that instead of jumping a course, I galloped and jumped jumps.  That "in the moment" hyper focused ride caused me to over shoot two sharp turns...  just a note for the future.... courses not jumps.

I could go on and on about the show, how great Valinor is, how wonderful the organizers were to make adjustments due to the weather and how much fun it was to be there with my peeps (DC and NBG)...  I could, but today is about gratitude and doing good deeds...  THANKS UNIVERSE.

Think about it...  make good Karma.  And, see it as good Karma when it happens to you!

DWSB Rescuers

Saturday, June 11, 2011


This morning the New Barn Girl and I headed off for a bit of a pre-Event "I-Really-Can't-Do-One-More-20-Meter-Circle-In-The-Indoor" gallop at Great Brook State Park.  It was exactly what Sugar and I needed to let loose just before the next attempt to break 40 in this year's Eventing Season.

For the record, pleasure galloping in a light to moderate rain is kind of awesome.  Photographers love misty days because the sun's rays or shadows do not change color.  And what colors we had...  green grass, pink mountain laurel, soft yellow new growth, wild white rose ...  rich and deep.  We were riding in a beautiful New England Spring painting.
Double Wide Short Bus

The park was empty, for who ventures out to ride in the rain?  Sug's back was relaxed and her hips swinging and just a pleasure to ride.  My little alpha mare was the first to see a big doe protecting her fawn.  I speak for myself but I am sure the NBG would agree...  it was heaven.  

I am grateful to have my own horse trailer - the Double Wide Short Bus (DWSB).  There was a time not so long ago when a group of folks were off to a Hunter Pace.  There wasn't enough trailer spaces to take everyone who wanted to go.  It kind of felt like waiting to be asked to go to the Prom all over again.  Take me, I wimpered in my head....  take me...  take me!   And, I ended up staying home.

Now, I didn't run out and get a horse trailer because I did not go to a Hunter Pace.  I got it because I wanted to wander the world and do all sorts of things and play.  I wanted adventures and fun.  The DWSB is the ticket to freedom and I use it well. (BTW, I did get asked to the Prom.)

My goal is to keep the second stall filled as often as I can.  I want everyone to be able to experience adventures off farm.  It was awesome to be share such a wonderful day with someone. 

Giving back what is generously given is what makes life much more pleasurable!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Tragedy brings out stuff in all of us.  It makes us think.  It heightens the reality of that moment when you look at what you have and thank god for all that is good and safe in your life. Carpe Diem - Seize the Day because now is all that you have. And, make that now...  great!

The fire at True Prospect Farm truly was a tragedy.  We felt it so closely because Boyd Martin is our rising star.  Did we not cheer him on at Rolex 2010 when he and Neville Bardos made the course look easy?  And, those kids?  What of those working students who did what they could do to save the horses - their partners and friends?  Could we not feel their pain?  I cried for them as much as I cried for the horses.

It takes a village...  I don't think...  no, I know, my non-horse-folk family can not understand the fascination I have with horses.  Actually, I could say almost anything about them in my posts because they don't read them (OK, Maureen does) because "its about horses".

Embedded in these stories about horses is a community of friends who support you, keep you together, help you laugh when sometimes you want to cry, cheer you on and sometimes push you when you want to quit...  They are the Village... (hmm or are they enablers?)

All of us have many stories where our horse girl peeps took care of us, of our horses and even our dogs.  I read about them in blogs, on bulletin boards and on Facebook. 

I guess this post today is about gratitude for all the people in my life - past and present - that have enabled (emphasis on this word) me to do all that I do.  So, for today, let me give thanks to my villagers, in no special order:
  • Dressage Trainer - you rock!  You have made Sugar and I better together than I ever expected.  You have the patience of a saint - feel free to take your crop out and wack me a few times when I whine too much.
  • Eventing Trainer - Huge thanks...  who'd thunk I would be thinking of a move up to Training or could believe that maybe,one day,  I could do Prelim.  I love your team, students and working students... 
  • Barn Owner - ahhh...  The Vortex rocks!  You challenged me to be a better rider through being afraid to tell you we tanked at a show.  And, foxhunting?  WOW!  Thanks...  no, really, THANKS!
  • Eventing Buddy - You make me laugh!   You know so many "stories"!  And you sooo smaht!  I luf you!
  • Devil Child - Sug loves her Wednesdays with you!  You make us both happy and smile!  The Convict and Lil Boy luf you!  So much talent... 
  • New Barn Girl - the perfect addition to the vortex!  Did not know that such a lil thing could lift and stack two tons of hay. And,you are so funny!
  • Chief Operating Officer - silently, efficiently you organize the team, keep the inhabitants tidy and neat... without you FBF is lost...  you make us safe and secure...  thanks! 
  • Blonde Babe with perfect t--s - Awww...  you listen to my stories and cheer me on...  priceless
  • The Don - you get things done and lend a hand when you can...
  • Work Buddy - you like this world and you make me laugh
  • Novice Rider Groups - how great are you folks...  unlike the Beginner Novice folks - you laugh in the warmup, offer great wry suggestions and are really confident and cool...
  • Stabling Friends - you pop up every overnight...  you have food and drink to share, tell great stories, laugh alot and make every event a "showcation" by offering entertainment.
  • Hunt Club Peeps - you think I'm braver than what I am and because you think that...  you make me so!  Awesome
  • Dog walker - you make it easy to have two boys and still have a horsey life.  You offer rather than take.
  • Long-Lining Goddess - because, without you, Sugar would still be home and afraid of the trailer, and your Long Lining sessions are poetry in motion.
  • Vets, farrier, masseuse, chiropractor/acupuncturist - you keep the princess well and happy
  • Facebook "Friends" - you're funny and you support my craziness through your "LIKES"
  • My sister - cause I love that she reads my writings even if they are about horses.
I am grateful tonight.  I am sure I haven't finished the list...  I'll update in comments and feel free to add your own.  Thanks...  no, really, THANKS!  Love you lots! 

Off to hug my pony and da boys!

    Saturday, June 4, 2011


    What I didn't confess last week, in my Mystic wrap up, was my extreme disappointment at our dismal dressage performance and our error-free 54 score. I left that ring at the lowest of lows - mad at Sugar, doubting my abilities as a dressage rider and thinking that I should retire as an eventer and fox hunt instead.

    Energetically, I was a brewing thundercloud - dark, gloomy, swirling with thoughts ... I smiled but it felt like an act. "This is the part in the play where we smile and accept our ride because today is not our day.". Truthfully, it wasn't felt deeply in my heart. We, no I, should be better... I must get better.... I can not keep doing this! That muddy energy just got deeper on the slow walk back to stabling...

    The folks in stabling were selfish and snappish - taking up space, ordering friends and family around and complaining. No one seemed friendly, open or helpful. I blamed it on the location - surely a reflection of where the competitors came from...

    As I started to take off my coat and boots, it hit me. My negativity was being reflected back at me. It wasn't them. It was me! If I didn't change my reality, I would ruin a beautiful day surrounded by two friends, fun eventing peeps, the Convict and my personal Diva (Sug's evil twin Saccharine).

    At that moment, when I realized that my doom and gloom disappointment and my high expectations
    affected my view of the world, I had a choice. As I meditated in the Port-o-Pot, the chance to change my perspective unveiled. The world got better, the air cooler, the people sweeter/happier and life was good again! Mystic became an adventure and I had fun... Lots of fun!

    This post is all about that cranky, unhappy person you see everyday. That friend who never seems to get a break, who has another twist of bad luck, who suffers another setback. This is about them (and sometimes me).

    When I feel like that person, I know I control my perspective. And to be happy, I do what I can to change it. So my dressage scores are... um... less than stellar. So what?

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011


    I met a man today.  His companion was a lovely, energetic golden retriever with a cloudy, bluish right eye.  Oh, I wish I could tell you the magical story of the two of us bonding delightfully over our dogs about how chance brought us both together urged on by the love of our pets.  {{{{sigh}}}} That isn't this story...  but I am left wondering... hmmm, what if?  (Oops, I digress...)

    Chandler was there for his orthopedic follow-up visit and I am sure to help fund the new orthopedic surgical center.   (Ok, just kidding, well... kind of.)  This was my third visit to a major veterinary hospital in 3 weeks.  Two of them were for Chandler and the third, for my Bestest Eventing Buddy's fabulously talented, rehabbing horse.

    Here comes a rant...  beware!

    I hate the whole concept of Pet Insurance.  That's right...  I hate it!  And, those Credit Cards that allow you to pay for veterinary care interest free for months or even a year... yep, hate that too.  And ok, might as well get this out 'cause if I'm going to rant, I must let it go.  I hate Veterinary Specialty Hospitals.

    You see, at one point, we had to make real decisions about care based on real factors - age of the animal, use, cost of care and the quality of life in relationship to the treatment.  With all of that, money was a factor in the treatment.   Pet Insurance and interest free specialty Credit Cards makes it easy for us to say yes and yes and yes.  And because we can say yes "easily" the necessity and cost of care go up.  And it will continue to go up as far as we can "afford".

    Love can not be calculated by money, right?  So, we take these loans and we pay whatever the charge because of our love, right?

    One person stood out for me...  she was a young girl, at best, in her late teens.  Her horse was a beautiful black Quarter Horse - dead lame.  I asked her what brought them to this fully-equipped Specialty Hospital.  "They have everything here - MRIs, Nuclear Scintagraphy - everything possible for him.  I have insurance and he's fully covered, so I said, why not?"  Poor thing, she does not yet know about full coverage does not mean everything they do is covered fully.  Poor thing.

    My newfound-in-the-moment-could-be-a-boyfriend fellow dog owner?   His dog "needed" to have her eye removed.  He explained that the dog never bothered with the cloudy eye, never scratched at it or banged into things and that she was happy, playful with a great appetite.  The vet (or vet tech) insisted that the eye had to be removed and added, "How would you feel if you had a low-grade headache every day?"  This Golden was 12 years old.  His decision?  She was fine, just the way she was and at 12, surgery would be too hard for her with no great result.

    For the record, let it be known that I am sooo in love with Chandler, Jonah and Sugar.  I believe firmly that as an animal owner I have a responsibility to do for them what needs to be done to keep them fit and healthy.  (OK, I actually should have that same motto when it comes to me and my health... uh, 'nough said.)  

    Sug, you know, gets pedicures, massage, chiro, acupuncture and supplements to keep her joints moving freely and her body strong.  I have her saddles fitted two times a year.   The boys, Jonah and Chandler, belong to a doggy play group, are walked several time a day and only eat good quality food.  All of them recieve regular and appropriate vet care and immunizations.  They want for nothing.

    I pray that I never have to make a serious care decision solely on its financial impact.  And, I also pray that I don't make decisions to do things because I have insurance (Sugar) or an interest free Credit Card (Jonah and Chandler)  For me, cost and outcomes must be a consideration...  a responsible consideration.  I'm ok with that!