Monday, October 27, 2014


The little rain drops
Way back when, I used to work for a software design firm.  It's uniqueness was embedded in their research - they watched folks while they worked, recording every step as they used a piece of technology or software.  It was the little steps, the tiny gestures and the stuff to minute to remember that were important and it is all remembered in the very moment...

In addition to our handwalking,  three of the days I am permitted to walk Sugar, under saddle, for no more than 20 minutes.  Sugar is not quite sound (almost but not quite) and the tendon injury is 80% healed.  We're getting there... 

A little bit of color as fall fades
Tonight, alone in the indoor, we were serenaded by a pack of coyotes howling and yipping nearby.  They were so close, I expected them to come in to check us out.  Sugar was not impressed and continued her quiet march around and around the arena.

If you asked me what I missed most about riding, I may have said something like, "I miss the connection between her body and my hands."  Or maybe, "The rhythm and power of her trot."  And all sorts of riding stuff...

But, what I really, really missed was our post ride ritual.  I slide her bridle off, careful to not bang the bit against her teeth.  Then with cupped hands, I wipe the foam off her outstretched muzzle and scratch her head and ears finishing with kiss on that kissable nose.

Tonight, for the first time in 6 weeks, I wiped, scratched and kissed.  I believe my Lil' Pinto Pony was as happy as I was...  Life is indeed... very, very good!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


First a definition - From Webster's Dictionary:  "morally good, having or showing virtue, ethical behavior, good moral values"

Used with permission
I do not smoke, drink and, with effort and consciousness, I try to be kind and gentle with others.  I donate time and money to organizations I love (USEA, American Cancer Society, youth programs and scholarships).  To the bane of my mother's existence and teachings, I do curse like a drunken sailor on leave.  The key thing is that I really try to be morally good.

Phew...  now here it comes...  the word that cancels out the above:

BUT, I am so sick and tired of hand walking my lil' pinto pony!  And, at a client meeting this week, a CFO kindly said that he would say a prayer for her healing.  I stopped him and thanked him profusely for his kindness.  And. then begged that he would pray, not for her healing (she will heal to 100%) but that I would stop this god forsaken whining! 

Enjoying photographing
the Hunts
Seriously, when a client... no, a C-Suite Client, sends a prayer to your horse, you have to acknowledge that your whining is out of control.  And, it's not just clients, it's coworkers, vendors, the girls at Dunkin Donuts, my neighbors and even the guy who mows the lawn at the church across the street from my house.  Yet, I believe that no one is more tired of hearing it than me! 

Sigh...  patience and acceptance is not one of the virtues I embrace.  Want to have?  YES!  Embrace? NO!
At least watching, I can
enjoy the beautiful colors of Fall

Clearly if not patience, what has this experience given me?  No, my house and tack are still not sparkling and the closets are still stuffed with things that need a bit of organization.  And I can assure you that I haven't solved world peace or found a cure for cancer. 

What it has given me is the clear understanding at how frustrating lay-ups are to owners/riders/persons.  Our on-injured-reserve-list-ponies are having a good time eating, drinking and being gently attended to with their every need met. 
Sug looking stressed with her boy toy!

Sugar has enjoyed the company of an older sophisticated UL dressage horse and a young boy toy who is just getting a career going.  She has a full belly, is groomed every evening and is hand walked during which she has moments of grazing to "stretch her neck and back muscles".  

Our on-injured-reserve-list-ponies are not suffering.  Their owners are...

Last show, jumping Novice again!
Lucky and grateful me!
used with permission
And, here is a confession for you!  I never, ever, ever understood that!  So, I send out to all those that are suffering or once suffered a rehabbing horse my sincerest of all apologies.  I am sorry that I planned fun adventures as you hand walked your horse!  I am sorry that I may have pooh-poohed your angst and frustration at being trapped in a ring as the weather tickled your galloping bone.  I am sorry that I said (what I thought was kind encouragement) that you would soon be out and about again.  I am truly humbled and sorry for my lack of virtue in this regard.

The vet comes tomorrow for the next lameness exam, ultrasound and shock wave therapy.  I'll show up in riding attire acting as hopeful as my hound watching me eat - so eager, trying so hard not to let my anticipation erupt in sound.  Maybe tomorrow will be the day we will be set slightly free!  Maybe!

Sunday, October 12, 2014


No matter what discipline, every organizer agonizes over how to attract and retain their volunteers.  Without volunteers, no event is possible. 

{{{And, if you've never volunteered before, please dear god, do not complain about how a show is run or even, make suggestions on how to make it better for the participants.  And just once in your life, show up the day before an Event and ask them if they need a hand.  Trust me, you'll never complain again.}}}

Course Brook Horse Trials was Newbie Event Rider's first (and hopefully not last) volunteer stint.  "Come on, it is so much fun", I told her!  It was 47 degrees and raining.  Despite wearing a rain coat, hat, three layers of fleece, ski pants and waterproof insulated boots, I left my post jump judging at Course Brook Horse Trials shivering, soaking wet, and chilled to the bone. 

You know the kind of chill where it takes another 5 hours of deep therapy - hot shower, dry clothes, hot food, hot steaming tea and two very warm pooches to finally warm up.   I can only imagine Newbie Event Rider's excitement at volunteering the next time (maybe a plague of locus?).

{{{Pretty sure I could have used deep therapy for other reasons, like understanding why I spent 6 hours outside in the rain watching folks leaping over jumps.}}}

How do you attract and retain volunteers? 

Well, Course Brook Farm provided each volunteer with a lovely gift bag, a nice lunch and, when we thought we were going to die from hyperthermia  (yes, Newbie Event Rider, I will use this word again and again), they delivered hot chocolate and coffee out to our fence. 

{{{Angels arriving in a gator... best sight ever!}}}

What else?  Did I mention that we were cold, wet and suffering from hyperthermia (that word again)?

Hmmm, how about a Fence Judge's Drinking Game?  Ok...  what would that look like?  So we set out with a simple Jump Judge's Chug-a-lug.  At your jump only (or it could be a very short game):
Used with permission
  • One shot for every "Good Boy/Girl" (and please hope that the Beginner Novice Division is small)
  • One shot for every long spot (really hope that the Prelim folks are not contenders)
  • Two shots every time a rider makes a fence judge gasp (could be any fence judge)
  • Chug-a-lug for every "Good Boy/Girl" after just having done a flyer at your jump
For those of you who have never fence judged, this might seem to be a light weight game...  Right!  Don't actually try this, the day could be awfully short and the EMTs might be carrying you out!

{{{Shhhh, I'm actually not a drinker but it was fun to figure out a game where, if played, a person could last the day...  all depends on the BN Good Girl/Boy levels.}}}

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Fall Delights
Used with permission
"Forgive me father for I have sinned.  It has been several, well, many...  (Let's not get into length of time...  Seriously, time is whatever you make of it...), days (sounds better) since my last confession."

I'm bored!  There I said it... bored, Bored, BORED!.  It has only been three weeks since Sug has been laid up/resting/rehabbing/vacationing...  whatever you call it and I am bored. 

There is a routine to our visits.  I drag out her grooming kit and go over her with a fine tooth comb using the curry and three different brushes.  Her hooves are cleaned and keratoxed.  And, then we begin the hand walking - 15 minutes around and around.  Sometimes I entertain myself and practice "going down the centerline", "lengthening across the diagonal" and a few "marching reinbacks".  I visualize the perfect gait and march towards it.

There is only so much mental entertainment that can be done as the days get shorter and our field of view are the walls of the indoor.  And, what's even worse?  I feel the green goo of Facebook envy.  You keep teasing me with your ear pics overlooking great galloping spaces or the beautiful fiery fall colors.  It's the lust for the experience that consumes me more than the envy. 

Autumn calls to me...
I want you to keep enjoying life's pleasures.  It is so good for the soul.  And, for me, I must remind myself to be patient and tolerant... 

I am bored and by the animated antics of my lil' pinto pony, I suspect she's bored too.  My tack is not yet clean, nor is the brass polished and please, don't ask me if I cleaned the closets, finished and/or put away the laundry...  I guess my boredom can not be solved through cleaning...  sigh.
We will jump again
Used with permission

Some of you are probably saying...  "Seriously, just a month and you're bored?  Get over yourself!  I handwalked my horse for (insert # of months here) and didn't ride again for (insert # of months here)."

"I know! I know! I know how lucky I am.  I know!"  And, despite my overwhelming positive attitude toward her lay off, I still want to whine just a little bit!  I beg your forgiveness!

Ultimately, my boredom does not extinquish the gratitude that Sugar's injury is minor and that IF I am patient and tolerant, I will have a jumping horse in the end. 

{{{And, if we're really lucky...  I might even have one before Christmas!  Shhhhh, don't tell anyone because that would mean I'm not patient...  just sayin'!}}}