Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Shhhh...  don't tell the Area 1 folks that I am blogging before writing the article for our newsletter (Optimum Minutes).  I just can't help myself...  this thought will not let me be...  so, shhhhh... 

The first fall after that last bad fall (you know the one...  the one that really hurts, that lays you up for awhile, the one that makes you feel lost and vulnerable or the one that kind of scares you...  yeah, that one) is a relief. 

Where we actually had little fear...
Photo used with permission
Before that, you kind of spend a lot of time thinking about how not to have it happen...  you know, falling/hurting yourself again.  And, that "a lot of time thinking about not falling/hurting yourself" doesn't really seem to take up any time at all.  You're out there... fox hunting, taking jumping lessons, galloping out on Hunter Paces or hooking up with Eventing Buddies on a play date cross country schooling.

Yeah, you look normal (maybe a tad more verbal than others) and you appear to be doing normal things... Healed...  fully and completely healed you say to the world.  I'm back on track and ready to go... Yup...

But, lurking around in the deep corners of your mind is something different - not quite right.  You can't force yourself to be better!  A wise horsewoman told me, "you don't ever have to get over anything...  you just keep putting one foot forward and one day...  like forgetting to take Advil...  it fades to nothing and without fanfare, you're better.  It just comes"

The fall came from the last lingering injury...  the fear of falling, the fear of getting hurt.  I knew Sugar did not have the power from behind to jump well...  And she had the spook factor building up for it was the end of a lesson and she was looking for excitement.  I asked for more, four strides out, then, thought too much, and when I felt her moment of doubt, I did not ask and she did not give...  The spook became a prop and the spin spun me off into the dirt onto the healing left side.

And a star from "The Don"
After the screech and the curse word sputtered out...  I thought...  dirt is a hell of a lot softer than a tree.  Actually it's touch is cool on my body and cradles my side supporting its descent into the earth.  And, as I watched my pretty girl gallop around the arena, I thought...  "I am going to kill you...  You will jump that jump until I get over my need to kill you."  Thank god for my trainer...  insert marriage counseling now.

That first fall... after an injury... Relief! Real, real, relief... you see, I thought I was a Weeble but a FB Friend told me that they wobble... "The Don" told me that I was a Bumble... 'cause Bumble's bounce!  And you know, she was right!  I bounced and it's all good!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”                                                                         Buddhist quote

A wise woman once said that life for the clever is often too complicated to enjoy.  Ahhh... the Confessions of an Overthinker...  oh, so true.  I can think my way into and out of anything and sometimes, I'm left with a brain pain...

What is most magnificent is that moment when I am free of thought, totally aware of sight, sound and feeling.  And in that place, I want for nothing...  it is that good.  That peace came Saturday on a gallop through the woods, following my fellow fox hunters, listening to the hounds as they searched for and found the scent that sends us all forward.  The smile on my face could not compete with the smile in my heart. 

Tally Ho...
Photo used with permission (

I have heard it said, by quite a few, that fox hunting is perfect for the Eventer (horse and rider)...  you see, "it's all cross country and no dressage."  It is here that I hope to build up my Inner Cowgirl.  I want to get back to the "over-confident-take-no-prisoners-maybe-I'll-move-up-to-Prelim" rider that started this season.  She's there, I can feel it. 

So when my Dressage Trainer* asked me why I liked to fox hunt, my only answer was...  "I don't think.  I live!" 

OK and the galloping is sooo phenomonal.  Oh, and I love the clothes and of course, Sugar looks great in her Hunt attire and the Teas are excellent.  And I love the people and the woods and the hounds and the traditions.  And....  and...  and...  Hmmm...  I do believe I'm overthinking again...  {{{sigh}}}

*Note - Dressage Trainer was an Eventer and Fox Hunter...  she gets it!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I have a belief that, for the most part, people are good.  They want to do good deeds.  They want others to be happy.  And they want to have good things.  For the most part, their hearts and heads are in a good place.   

Lovin' should feel good...
Have you ever belonged to a volunteer organization?  Have you ever belonged to a group from the very beginning and watched it grow?  Have you ever worked for something you loved so much that you could not bare to see it fail?  And have you worked so long and hard on something you loved that it defines who you are?  If not you, do you know these folks? 

Change comes hard to them.  Their vision was once so clear and so strong that they were followed - their voice the only voice.  Over time, things change...  they are older now and can not do what they once did.  If they are no longer the organization, what will they become?  Who are these folks that fill in the gaps that begin to show?   Are they worthy to take the reins so lovingly braided?

There are those that let go and watch the world evolve.  And there are those who seek to destroy the thing they loved so much because they can not set it free.

The act of letting go is a gift of true love.  (OK, there is a Hallmark Card brewing here...)  You do not run from the thing that you love, you just set it free.  Like your child, they will not leave ...  they are yours forever. 

Set them free with dignity, grace and gratitude.  They will honor you as they walk in your legacy.  Destroy them and your work is lost forever...  nothing is left behind...

Monday, September 12, 2011


Ooops, I did it again... I passed judgement without thinking it through.

Slow to learn...

You see, at first I thought it was the guys.  You know the type.  When it comes down to moving big trucks and trailers and bossing people around, it's gotta be a guy.  I failed to perform the duties of the parking attendant at our Hunt Club's Annual Fall Hunter Pace.  And, I thought it was the guys, for they were the folks who excused me from my shift.  It's gotta be the guys.

As I walked the aisle of shame between trailer rows one and two, I sighed.  I tried to be a good parking attendant.  I really did.  As I trundled along muttering to myself...  "Guys, they always think they know better when it comes to parking...  it's because I'm a girl...  they think I can't do it..."  And on and on I muttered.

Of course, as I looked at the big open space between the three horse with the side ramp and the Featherlite two horse bumper pull with the mother and son team, I thought that that open space is ok because they came together and wanted to tailgate aftewards.  And, oh, there are my Eventing peeps, they want to park together...  that's ok, the next small trailer can fit that hole.

And, those riders don't want to park on a slight hill so we can move them over.  And, look...  that group has dogs tied to the trailer, they need a bit more space to fit dogs and horses.  And really, people need to be able to tie up somewhere so we definitely need a bit more space.

Rut ro..  Oh my...  Really?  Shucks, I am way too empathetic to maximize the parking.  Oh no...  I'm too soft, a softy.  I really am lousy at parking horse peeps and their entourage. 

I guess, I'll stick to jump judging and leave trailer parking to the experts who can say no to the special interest.  So for all the guys out there...  I apologize.  You really are good at this job!

And, just a quick post note on the Hunter Pace, Sugar and I teamed up with a fellow Eventer/Fox Hunter and her fiesty Morgan pony ....  Our team ...  "Cracked Ribs and a Side o'Fun" (both of us coming off of rehab from riding accidents) came in First place in the Jumping Division - a nice bonus to some seriously good fun!

Hunt Field (not Hunter Pace) or One of these things is not like the others...
Used with permission (

Friday, September 9, 2011


There is nothing more spectacular than that first bite of a perfectly ripe peach.  It's fuzzy skin glistens from my efforts to strip it of it's tickle-ly fur.  Underneath it's cover lies a summer sweetness that can not be replicated.  Today, at lunch, I had my last.  It IS New England and our season is short and intense... teasing us to indulge now for it does not last...  YUM!

Alas...  despite my efforts to ignore the inevitable...  the days are shorter and any attempt to leave work on time to ride outside is futile... dusk comes quickly.  Summer has left and winter is threatening around Autumn's corner.  Do I mourn?  NO!
Used with permission

Fall marks the death of the deer fly, the end of baking horse trailer and the lethargy of summer's humidity.  {{{OK, it also means I get to break out my jacket and hooded sweatshirt collection/obsession.}}}

Welcome to the adventures of Fall...  Oh yeah!  For the next three months, the air is brighter and cooler, Sugar more lively (hmmm, is that a good thing?) and the colors will be brilliant.  It is a rebirth of sorts...

And for those of you who live outside of New England...  you miss Fall Festivals, Hunter Paces and Fox Hunting amongst the reds, yellow and oranges woods and fields of pumpkins.  It is a magical time and I welcome it with open arms.

This last perfectly ripe peach drips its juice on my keyboard.  I savor it... It will be my last memory of the summer and soon will be replaced by the elusive Honey Crisp Apple.  A second in deliciousness but delightful as well.

See you out there!  Make it memorable!

Monday, September 5, 2011


Heading out...  Let the games begin
Photo by Jeff Phaneuf, dedicated Eventer Dad  (not mine, Janelle's)
So I could wander around in this post telling some tale from the past or setting up some vague, perhaps, meaningful metaphor in order to set the mood...  But really?  All I want to do is dance!  Dat's right...  All I want to do is dance the joyous dance of the free!!!! 

It has been a long rehab/recovery...  and truthfully, my effen ribs still ache and I have some weakness/pain in my hip and thigh.  {{{My sister lovingly told me that the lump on my left hip, the one I'm sure is the remnant of the football sized hematoma is in fact my own middle-aged lumpy buttock.  I thanked her for the support.}}}

It's been kind of like the seven stages of grief:

1) SHOCK & DENIAL - From the moment I hit the tree... it's just a torn pectoral muscle, I'm ok to the I'll be riding again in a week... to being absolutely unable to understand why I still had so much pain after just three weeks...

2) PAIN AND GUILT - Pain... 'nough said.  I was riddled with guilt, thinking I rode like crap, that maybe I wasn't good enough, that I should just give Sugar up to the pros that did so much better with her.


4) DEPRESSION, REFLECTION, LONELINESS - I never really got too far into this.  I was grateful for the great help and support of friends and family.  The inability to live MY life and the sometimes overwhelming feeling of "being a burden" did catch me more often then I care to admit.
Hope and Happiness
Bathed in Brilliance

5) THE UPWARD TURN - Each return to normalcy brought more energy and that energy brought more bits of normalcy.

6) RECONSTRUCTION AND WORKING THROUGH - Doing more, involving friends willing to help you do more, asking trainers for support and guidance is building a stronger foundation than what I had before I hit the tree.

7) ACCEPTANCE AND HOPE - Let the Cowgirl ride!!!!

Not that tree..
some other day perhaps
All I want to do is dance!  Sugar and I had an awesome weekend of galloping, jumping and reawakening our Inner Cowgirl!  We galloped through thick woods pretending we were out on a cross country course.  Characteristic of my naughty girl, it felt a bit like skiing... slooshing back and fourth... spook, jump to the side, spook, jump to the other side.  She was so happy to gallop again that her stride was exuberant. 

Never, not even once, did I even think about getting hurt, getting spun off into a tree...  like a kid, it was sheer fun...

And, today we jumped...  It was hot as hades...  I felt reborn... wild and free.  NOTHING can stop us...  right Sug? Nothing!  And that is good.

So, this evening...  Omnibus in hand, I seek out ways to extend my season that never really got started.  Area II...  the DWSB is gonna be back on da road agin!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Titling this, "Starting Over" sounded depressing...  like a loss of something.  That's really not what this is about.  With the cancellation of GMHA's Fall Horse Trials, it looks like my Eventing season may have ended well before it ever got started.  
Used with permission

Truly, I can't be depressed...  we had an earthquake on the East Coast and Vermont got devastated by Hurricane Irene...  um...  isn't Vermont like way far away from the ocean?  And... um... the Washington Monument has structural damage from an earthquake, really... an earthquake?   I think 2011 has more oddities to it than ending my eventing season laying at the foot of a tree after the third fence at my third event...  (hmmm...  threes?)

What is exciting me...  yet again...  is the thought, not that my season might be done...  but Sugar and I can look at the world with a fresh perspective.  It all begins again!  And, I warn you, a fresh start does not mean a slow start.. Training is right there in front of me.   What it does mean is that we get to what we did and make it even better.

So, at this beginning of my very long Labor Day weekend, I put on my jumping tack for my dressage lesson.  Today, we were going to work on the minutiae...  the correct canter, my shoulders rather than my hands lifting the canter upwards.  And, with the help of my dressage trainer (former upper level eventer) we approached our jumping anew. Walk, collected walk, leg, leg...  jump.  Trot, collected, collected, leg, leg... jump.  Canter, collect, jump...  Awesome...
Used with permission

Sounds basic and in some respects it was...  yet, it had a wow factor hard to describe.  Here I am again feeling like the possibilities are endless.  And, that I can not wait to do it again.  So my advice is not to run out and injure yourself but to make it new... make it fresh.  Get outside and race your friends across a field...  live, laugh and love!

 So, it looks like my season might be over...  but then again, rumor has it that Area 2 may be a nice stop for the DWSB.  Hmmm.

And, before I forget it...  Fox Hunting returns in two weeks!!!!  Let the games begin!