Tuesday, December 31, 2013


"He puzzled and puzzed till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. Maybe Christmas, he thought... doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps... means a little bit more!" 
Dr Suess's  " How the Grinch Stole Christmas"

I was gonna start this little ditty with a story about a girl who used to spend the Christmas season alone, deep into the throes of workaholism  and just waiting for the time to pass.  Yeah, it was the way I wanted to start this...  but I can't!  You see, that was a time way back when in a world far away!

You know, I'm not puzzling and my puzzler certainly isn't sore...  Finding Christmas Spirit truly is a little bit more.  I'm finishing December sitting in a very cold house waiting for the heating guy to save me from what will soon be an artic holiday!  And yet, there is a smile on my face and sparkle in my heart that keeps all but my typing fingers warm (maybe the layers of fleece help too).

2006 - Girl meets Sug for 1st time
Celebrating is an action verb where one must seek and find adventures.  I, personally, look for bright lights, beautiful colors, moments of expression, doing things with and for people.  I like to fill my soul with the sensuality of the season.  It makes things whole.

Sugar and Da Boys went on vacation with me.  Well, actually Sugar spent her vacation in NJ at my teen niece's eventing barn.  She was to be the Teen's BFF for Christmas Break - my dream to share one love with another.  And maybe, it was seeing a reflection of me in her and...

Whatever it was, her joy in having her own "lil' pinto pony" made my Christmas one to cherish...  And, this Teen got her, she understood all that is Sugar and it was good!  It was really good!  Let's see, her reports back to me said it all:

Day 1 - Me - " How was Sugar?"  Teen - "She was amazing.  We jumped and she was really great but a chicken."  Me - "Did you make her go?"  Teen - "Yeah, of course I did!"

Sug, an Angel? Not really
Just being herself!
Day 2We hunted together.

Day 3 - Me - "Did you ride yet?"  Teen - "Just got off.  She was rather rude today, but okay!"  Me - "Rut ro!"

Day 4 - Teen - "Just finished riding --- Sug was fabulous!  We jumped."

Day 5 - Me - "How was Sug?  Teen - "Great!  We jumped - even the stone wall.  She was great!"

Day 6 (the last day) - Teen - "hey!! Sugar was amazing today!  Like really!  Best day we had so far.  we did lots of angles and Trainer made a skinny.  She was working hard.  I'm actually sad to see her go.  Thank you for this opportunity.  This has really been a blast and I loved "owning" my own horse."    Me - "I'm soooo glad you had fun with her...  It makes it all worthwhile."  Teen - "Hopefully....  Maybe... If you can....  Can she come back this summer?"  Me - "We'll make it happen!"

Me, filled with Christmas Cheer
I cried a little bit as I drove my family up the Garden State Parkway.  For what?  So many things, including joy...  The gift was mine...

And, Sugar?  I love you even more for giving this Teen a good experience, for putting your schoolmarm outfit on but not making it too easy for her.  Could I ever really let you go?  Not really... you have a home no matter what!  Thanks.... 


And the Teen seven years later... 

Monday, December 23, 2013


I'm all a jumble trying to put this experience into words.  I was going to start off all "tales of season's past" and all that but it just doesn't fit.  So let me get to the point:

Sugar and I are in NJ for Christmas (Yes, I am the crazy single person who brings all of the animals home for the holidays - coming to a Lifetime Movie soon.)  She is enjoying the attention of my 15 year old niece (and I hope my niece is enjoying her.)

There is something amazing to be in the place where you grew up, to be able to share your horse with someone you love and then, take her foxhunting for the first time.  Ok, and it was absolutely fabulous for me to be able to hunt Sugar in territory where, as a young 20 sumthin, I played.  And, with an old school hunt club hunting live. 

Our hunt club is a drag hunt.  And, no...  the men are not dressed up in fancy clothes.  Wait, they are but in red hunting frocks not women's dresses.  Wait, what are frocks?  That sounds a lot like women's clothes.

ONBH Pack - Fall 2013
Phew, back to drag hunting.  Most of the foxhunting in Massachusetts is done by hunting drag, not live foxes.  Since our territory is not vast, and we are fighting suburban sprawl, laying drag (scent) allows the huntsman to direct the hounds away from danger (roads, homes, domestic animals).  The scent is laid to mimic a live hunt but, often the hounds run hard and the field is fast... lots of galloping.

Hunting live is unpredictable.  No one knows where a fox will show up and how fast and far they will run.  The Huntsman may have a good idea of where to send the hounds but nothing is guaranteed except, maybe a good time with like minded folk!

ONBH Pic, not this hunt!
We started off in pouring rain - "just like hunting in Ireland".  Our pack was twenty couple (40 hounds) with noses on the ground and tails wagging high over the winter fallow.  The Huntsman's voice called, "Find him!" as she led/followed them from field to covert.   Her Whips were like sentries, riding tall over on a hill to the right and another to the left of the pack moving quietly, ready to guide and direct.

It was a methodical ride as the pack hunted for the wile fox occasionally giving a yip, a bark as the scent grew stronger and quieted as it faded away.  The footing was slippery and the Fieldmaster was cautious and meticulous in following the pack.  It might have been boring if it weren't for the magnificent hound work and gorgeous views.

Then a huge white tailed doe burst from the woods and bounded, white tail flagging her way.  I gasped, just sure that the hounds would run riot after the deer.  Nothing...  these hounds knew that deer were not their prey and continued moving forward with nary a look.

Minutes later, the strike hound screamed that the fox was found and the pack tongued wildly as the chase ensued.  39 hounds in hot pursuit - a sight and sound to behold.  (Suzanne, I thought you said that 40 hounds went out....  Yes, I did but I believe this cute little black and tan was meandering somewhere else.)

Whip pic but not of this hunt.
Unfortunately, the view was cut short as the fox entered the swamp.  Oh, we could hear the pursuit for the hounds gave voice for all to hear.  We waited enjoying the beauty of a warm, rainy winter day and I was filled with the joy of being alive.

Did I miss the big gallops?  Just a little bit...  What I lost in speed and thrills, I gained in the most awesome hound work - sights, sounds and scents.  My only regret was that I have no pictures to share. 

Close your eyes, picture a hill painted dark orange, flecked in gold and brown.  There is a man, dressed in red riding a white horse.  He is standing at attention waiting for the Huntsman.  The sky behind him is gray with billowing charcoal clouds - breathtaking!

I am a lucky girl, INDEED!

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Da Boys - Angelic
Today was not one of my best days... In fact, if you were to ask Da Boys to judge my performance, I believe that they would give me an overall D - impatient, testy, angry, loud and just plain rude.  And, I don't think I want you to ask them to give me individual scores 'cause that would be far to embarrassing.

You see, I hate ice.  And, here in New England, the winters can be beautiful - a wintery wonderland of intense weather and stark beauty.  That is, until the ice arrives with its slippery surface begging you to trust it or hiding itself under new snow waiting patiently for it's next victim...  I HATE IT!

And let the barking begin!
Sugar's trip to the farrier was just a delight and a test of my serenity (which I failed).  The truck and trailer entombed in ice and at 16 degrees, there was no hope of the sun helping with the thaw.  My plan to walk the dogs, take them home and head off, alone, to the farriers failed me.  (Did I mentioned that I fell on an ice patch buried in new snow?)  Da Boys were coming too.

As I pulled out of the farm, my truck slid on the untreated surface.  And, Chandler barked.  I screamed for him to shut up.  He barked some more.  Who wouldn't?  "Obviously there was something gone wrong... send out the alarm!"

And there began my morning of yelling at a hound, bemoaning the untreated surfaces and acting like a 13 year old hormonal girl.  I think the only "adult" in the truck was Jonah.  He acted like a person frantically trying to make things better.   I think the peak was parking the trailer...  hound obstructing the mirrors called for renewed yelling and maybe a tiny bit of throwing things...  just a lil bit...
Jonah - the sane one with an
eating disorder

Sigh, I am not proud of my behavior.  And, what was worse was the look Chandler gave me when I got home.  It was one of those, "I am outta here crazy lady!  You just go on about your business... I will not bother you again!"


Dog... god... dog... god...  very, very similar...  The amazing thing is a dog's capacity to forgive and to love unconditionally.  Wish I was more like that! 

Tonight, I sit here, nestled between two gods...oops, I mean dogs.  They cuddle and love... today's role of angry mare, hormonal 13 year old is forgotten in their eyes.  I survived our first ice and I am home safe, blessed for the company...
Dog.... god... dog... god.... dog.... hmmmm  

Sunday, December 1, 2013


The Thanksgiving Hunt was cold and windy.  This was at our
Blessing.  Sug's Twenty Sumetin Friend rode her that day.
I'm grateful to know her.
I really thought I'd be writing about the traditions and pageantry of the Thanksgiving Hunt.  I would be telling you that it was the most fun and exhilarating start to a day of gratitude.  And then add that Black Friday, for me, was the day of moaning and groaning over quad muscles screaming after a 3 hour hunt where at least 1.5 hours was done at a dead gallop.

I really did think that I would be writing about that.  But...

There was this post on Facebook that fills my heart with the very emotions that this Holiday season evokes - gratitude, love, hope and joy!  It was a very simple thank you:

"I have the best horse in the world. Went to the beach for the first time ever and he was a superstar! What an amazing experience, so proud of my boy. Thanks EC for making Christmas come early!"

I don't know the poster's circumstances for she is not my "FB Friend"...  I can feel her joy and happiness and, her gratitude is deep.  EC, my "FB Friend", had the trailer space, made the offer and quite simply made someone's dream come true. 

Tis the season... 

Selfishness comes in all forms...  For me?  It's time and that overwhelming phrase, "I'm too busy to _______."   It isolates me from beauty and keeps the colors gray.  And, in the end, work is never completed and I am alone.  Ahhh, knowing one's behavior is a key step in changing it. 

What if?  What if you just for a moment, did something simple... something positive for another person without expecting anything in return...  You just never know when, you too, could give someone a gift... an experience that could last a lifetime...  you just never know.
Da Boys showing their gratitude!

Read the book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, you just never know how your actions impact another's life. 

Go for it and make someone's day!