Sunday, August 28, 2011


Photo by Jeff Phaneuf, dedicated
Eventer Dad
Have you ever been so hungry for something, wanted something so bad...  that you could feel the need pulse through your body?  Have you ever loved someone, something or some place that the very thought of it made you smile?  Were you willing to do something about it?  Were you willing to dream that it could be done?  Were you going to make it happen? 

If you answer yes, then you live a gifted life.

This horseless child, the Sister, came with the same intensity as each of us mounted.  She was willing to walk for what could have been miles for the chance to hop on the Instructor's horse in the schooling field.  She would do what she had to do... for the dream...

She represents the desire, the want as well as the will of seeing it through.

Eventing is the great equalizer. There are some out there who would have you believe that we are adrenalin junkies (maybe we are), and there are some that think, as riders, we could not excel at anything so we chose a sport so intense that we are brilliant in our mediocrity.  And there are some who want you to believe that if you are not rich you can not have a place in our sport.

{{{ And, on the other hand, my mom just thinks that the whole thing is crazy and would rather me take up sewing instead.}}}

Eventing IS the great equalizer...  all we need is the dream and the willingness to work for it at whatever level.  We will get there...  rich, young, old or poor....  we will get there!  Make it happen!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


The "Best" Dog - Bruno
Everyone was his equal and his friend
I've been at it again and I just wish sometimes I could drop the whole white knight persona when it comes to righting wrongs.  Besides, as my sister used to say, "Who died and left you boss of the world?" 

Folks its a rant ..  again.  You see, sometimes I spend a bit of time reading horsey bulletin boards...  sometimes I get inspiration, sometimes camaraderie and sometimes really good advice or stories.  In this one (or two threads), I got a rant!

Why must "we" categorize folks with sweeping generalizations.  If I see one more thread begin "trashing" the rich for owning/riding/competing great horses at the top levels, I will be forced to "express" myself yet again in some wordy post (translate... controlled counter comments).

Being rich does not necessarily translate as spoiled, lazy, untalented riding on talented horses, nor does it mean that they do not have to work hard to achieve any level of competence.  Truthfully, I want to be rich and in some cultures, I am.

Yes, the young are full of life and yes, they may feel like our advice is somber and slow.  This is what makes them young.  Like a yearling running free in a pasture...  their wings are unclipped, their feet untethered.  Me?  I'm tethered to Advil, a career, a home, horse and two dogs.  I say, let them learn... some will gain by experience and great mentors, others by hard knocks...  oh, but they will learn.  One day, they will be us...  and, I hope they will be kind.

Nothing as deep as the ocean...
almost infinite
Once upon a time, way back when, I lived in a world where love and good things were limited.  It was a world of my own design.  It was like there was this cosmic bucket of all that is good in the world and if you got something good, the bucket was less full...  and, that meant ...  here it goes...  less good things for me. 

So with MUCH HELP and desire, I changed my outlook to believe that good things came from an infinite and deep spring...  when you took something out, the spring quickly filled in and sometimes, it even overflowed...  more good things than the universe could handle...

So, I wish them well!  Let them be judged on their own merits by the folks that know them.  May their horses stay sound, may they be grateful for what they have and may they give back to their community so it will be here for the rest of us...

And, may I do the same!  Karma baby...  good wishes out, good wishes in!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Used with pernission
Sometimes this blog writes itself...  an idea, thought, emotion twirls around in my head and I MUST write it down.  Those are the best...  writing...  hot and fresh (or am I thinking of Sugar...  hmmm).  And while I'm thinking about it...  I write these thoughts not for self-promotion... maybe I do it because you can't...  Maybe, just maybe...  you can relate!

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
Winston Churchill

I jumped today.  That in itself is not post worthy.  What is?  I wanted to quit.  It wasn't necessarily the pain from the injury and the disappointment of the season that never was.  It was truly the loss of innocence.  The belief that when you leave the farm, you come back home (Eventing Rule #1 - Leave together and come back together.)  That even though "No one cares on Monday" (Eventing Rule #4), you get to tell your story to the disinterested on Monday.

I wanted to quit!  I didn't want to take any chances.  I wanted to keep our little world safe and secure.  And yet, that thought was choking me.  I could not quit and I could not get started.  And my pain was of the emotional kind... and no amount of Advil was going to take it away...

Getting started was about admitting to someone that I was scared to get back into the game and then asking for help.  And I got it.  Did I mention that I jumped today!  Did I mention that my heart is so happy that I feel it bursting (or is that my healing ribs calling for more Advil?).

Sugar and I have more crappy dressage scores than I want to admit.  Oh, we are both quite capable of rocking the test, yet, through a whole plethora of issues, we manage to disappoint.  So, success for us can not be measured in ribbons.  For me?  Today we rode Rolex.  Just today, we rode Rolex clean...  Because today, I wanted to quit and showed up anyway!

Watch out Area 1... We're Back!

Sugar expressing a Happy Heart
(or just expressing her ability to threaten
the Lil' G-Pirate)

Friday, August 19, 2011


Coming up out of the muck
Photo used with permission

So, if Advil is an Eventer's best friend...  what does one do if it is already doing its job and you think you need more?  OMG, am I now an Advil addict?  Have I reached the limiting dose and it no longer has any effect?  Am I going to go to the next drug and take Aleve?  Will I soon be out on the street...  shaking 'cause I am Advil-less?  What will become of me?

Ok, in the spirit of "confession", Yes, I compete on drugs...  non-steroidal-anti-inflammatories ...  Advil and ibuprofen are my drugs of choice.  I generally take two on the morning of a show or before a clinic.  You know... just in case... well, to mask pain or tiredness.  At 50, all I'm trying to do is to appear that completing a one day show or a 3 hour clinic is a mere jaunty walk around the block. 

And I don't think I'm alone... 

At 6:59 am on June 25 I posted the following on my Facebook page:

Suzanne wonders how much Advil she needs to counter the aches gained from camping in the rain...  How much will help her 50 year old body ride XC like a 30 year old?  And, would that amount kill her?   Hmmmm....

Within 2 hours, 10 people had an answer:
  • "I don't recommend it.  It will probably give you a belly ache."  {{{Ouch}}}
  • "WHAT you are not 30?? You had me fooled...  see you soon and stretch the years away..."  {{{My favorite.}}}
  • "There is nothing wrong with riding like a 50 year old."  {{{So true, it was the trailer camping in the rain talking.}}}
  • "It's all in your head!  Mind over matter - if you don't mind, it doesn't matter." {{{From a youngun'.}}}
  • "Nothing that a large iced coffee can't fix." {{{Right, there is nothing a large iced Dunkin Donuts can't fix.}}}
  • "Two Aleve twice a day does a lot to alleviate the aches and pains.  Ask me how I know and good luck."  {{{I'm an Advil girl!}}}
  • "Four Advil and you will ride like the wind! LOL!"  {{{Yes!}}}
  • "Will it ever end!"  {{{Oh, that was about the rain.}}}
  • "When camping, ALWAYS take one regular Advil and one Advil PM before going to bed ;-) ...  In the morning, coffee or Coca-Cola."  {{{Practical and doable.}}}
  • Used with permission
  • "You might want to try something a little stronger..."  {{{That's my girl!}}}
So, why this angst about Advil you say?  I committed to a jumping clinic on Sunday!  (YES!!!!  I did!  I did! I did!)  I am still taking 800mg of Advil for the healing ribs so, I think I must go cold turkey on my pre-gaming.  What I'm taking will have to be enough.

So, admitting that I had no direction, that I couldn't get started, that maybe I was just a little bit afraid to get back into the game, actually helped kick start my return.  Life is, indeed, good!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Back when I had mojo
Valinor HT 6/12/11
Used with permission
Riding in the car with my old boyfriend was kind of fun... that is until we needed to get somewhere at a designated time.  Way back when, before Mapquest, before GPSs we used paper maps or Triptiks...  I know, call me crazy, but we even asked local folk for directions.  

I live a purposeful life...  Now, that can be a most fabulous gift or a curse.  You see, order, purpose and habit are three things that guide (no, really, they pull) me towards doing the next right thing.  I get up.  I walk the dogs.  I feed the horses and clean Sugar's stall.  I shower, eat and go to work.  I ride after dinner and walk the dogs after the ride. Oh, this life is peppered with adventures nestled in all that routine.  It is how I move about the world.  (More on the adventures of a commitment-phobe at another time.)

Is there anyone out there that can give me directions?  You see, I believe I've lost my way somewhere right after the third jump on the Novice cross country course at Groton House Farm.  It appears that none of the roads before me seem right and that stall rest has left me confused and disoriented.  What were we working on?  How do I get Sugar to do that?  What shows were we going to?  What level?

Way back when... growing mojo
BN @ Valinor HT 2009
My body is almost healed.  Strength is returning and the ache is manageable.  Yet, I feel that there is an invisible barrier holding me back.  I think I lost, not only direction, but I think I lost my Inner Cowgirl.

My GPS is on the fritz.  When should I begin jumping?  When do I go out for my first gallop?  Can you help me locate my mojo?

Hey you!  Can you give me direction?  Can you kick start my return?

Thursday, August 11, 2011


See, sheer exhaustion..
Writing has been difficult recently...  I have a rant that just doesn't seem to want to be clearly written.  It may be that I care too deeply and that kind of love/desire/passion is never easy to "verbalize".  You feel that what needs to be said is soooo important that you HAVE to be sure that the words mean something, and that they inspire the reader to feel the same way...

It starts with a story...  Once upon a time, way back when, Area 1 was an Eventing Mecca. That's right, Advanced and Intermediate Eventers could be sited everywhere... Folks came from all over the world to compete here at Groton House Farm, Over the Walls, Stuart Horse Trials and Millbrook.  Our rolling hills, deep woods and hay fields raised hardy, brave and talented folk who made history.  They made a path for us to follow.  Area 1 was that good.

Over the Wall's Last Advanced
 Event 2003 (Extinct)
This weekend, I traveled out to NY to watch Area 1's last Advanced Event... Millbrook Horse Trials. Let me emphasize - IT IS OUR LAST REMAINING...  truly an endangered species.  Didya know that there is a core group of folks in NY that work their hearts out doing what they can to keep this endangered species alive? And by the looks of this Event, their achievements are great for the venue is devine.

Wherever I went, I was standing among our elite, our Olympians - Philip Dutton, Karen O'Connor, Leslie Law, Boyd Martin, Allison Springer, Buck Davidson (to name a few) and those who are beginning their ascent. And the best is quietly listening to them teach their students on how to better approach the jump, on the characteristics that make one horse perform better than another and what makes a rider better. Lesson were taught that required no money all you needed to do was listen.
Taken with Trusty iPhone
Dear Area 1 member, we need to do more... each and every one of us need to do more to ensure that what is now endangered does not becomes extinct.  It can be money - a little or alot - whatever you can give is enough.  Good, but let's not limit our support to dollars alone - fund raising, work groups, volunteering and yes, even showing up to watch is a way of saying this Event is important. 

Why? Do we really need Upper Level Eventing here? I say YES as loud as my writing can reach. To see our kids eager to get autographs was touching. Our future stars are born in these moments... Dreams come from the moment you think... Maybe... maybe I can... maybe I will.

Our weather doesn't allow year round eventing so we may never be the mecca of our past...  but maybe, just maybe we could be more...

Caitlin Calder, Jollyiat
Intermediate B

Thursday, August 4, 2011


"If you never chase what you want, you'll never get it. If you never ask, the answer is always no. If you never step forward, you'll always be in the same place." ~ Nora Roberts
Gates Pond, Berlin/Hudson MA

Contentment is the goal of a good life.  As a word, it doesn't imply riches, having things or even doing stuff but offers a sweet richness felt deeply in your soul.  It's heart felt and good...

So why am I all aflutter with the grand esoteric concepts of life?  (And why am I using such big words?) 

I used to be one of those people who believed in the power of the word NO.  I said it often and even, kind of, built my early career/reputation by being able to say it well to others.  What I never saw was how often I said it to myself or how tricky a self-stated no can be when said by a self proclaimed optimist. 

One day...  one year...  I said YES and chased a dream until it became reality... who'd thunk?! 
Da Boys makin me

It may be winter Sugar
but she looks content!
Today, I walked my two boys - Jonah (aka The Convict) and Chandler Bing (aka The Lil' G-Pirate) at the crack of dawn... just me and the boys traipsing around the most gorgeous reservoir as the sun rose.  Tonight, I will ride Sugar (aka, Princess, Diva, Saccharin, or Fame and Frolic).  It will be a quiet one, but soon, I will be cantering again, then galloping, then jumping and then, life will be as it always is... on the road again... taking the next step towards more adventures.

Attitude is everything.  I plan to dream the big dreams...  and, then take those steps, no matter how small, forward.  When I see it as such, the possibilities are endless.  I believe that to be true!

Note:  Nora Roberts quote was taken from a "friend's" Facebook page.  It inspired me...