Sunday, April 2, 2017


Phew!  Opening Day in Area 1 has come and gone yet the dreaming of a wildly successful season wafts through my brain and enters every ride. 

Yes! 20's here we come!
Every graceful upward canter transition, every smooth effortless trot to walk movement and every swinging, flowy free walk screams that this is the season to break into the 20's.  I dream of cross country schooling when I see the snow covered jumps in the farm across the way...  WE'VE GOT THIS YEAR!  This is the one! 

And then, perusing through posts past, I wonder...  Sugar and I were good, weren't we?  Ok, our record reflected my college career - we either aced it or flunked.  Then I think, wait... we had the training, great coaching, talent, desire, a good work ethic and the desire to do well.  And, dear god, we had GREAT lessons and performed relatively well in clinics....  What was missing?

Used with Permission
What was missing?  Ok, some were obvious - missing GRRRR, Honey Badger stick-to-itness in hybernation, the kick ass Cowgirl was replaced by a truck and a bull horn...  but, we still were ok with all that...  What was missing?  Hmmmmm....

Last year, Maisy was amazing with her Happy Young Professions (HYP).  She was green, game and seemed to love showing off without being a diva.  The HYP brought her along consistently and lovingly.  I did compete her at the end of the season  I was still myself with a missing GRRRR but it was fun and hard and fun...  What was the change?  What was the change?

OK, some of you are saying, "that this all so obvious!  Please, get with the picture, you have a new horse!"  Maisy is sooooo different and that she is what the change is!  JEEZ, do I have to give you a head smack?"  Sighing and shaking your head, you walk away...

A bit exuberant!
Well, what if I told you that I know what the problem was all those years coming home from a show with my head bowed and my bottomed muddied?  What if I told you that I know what made the difference last year and what will make the difference this year?  And, what if I shared this secret and your season takes off in a manner so successful that you will be giving yourself that head slap... huh?  Ready?

Hmm... better get a new one!
I blame the USEA.  Do you remember getting a sticker every year when you renewed your membership? 

Yeah, for the first 4 years competing Sugar, I had a USEA sticker on my car and my trailer.  Those years we were kicking butt and taking names.  Then, I got a new truck and trailer timed exactly when the USEA gave out magnets.  Magnets are nice but I have 7 of them on my refrigerator and none on car, truck or trailer.  Our results got sketchy.

Along comes Maisy, USEA sticker (bought at the Annual Meeting) on car, truck and trailer...  She rocks with HYP and I begin to rock on her and at shows...  Call me crazy but the luck is in the USEA Sticker.

Today, after another snow storm, mine looks like this...  I'm left pondering... is this good enough?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


I believe in Angels!  I know, that when single women reach a certain age, who also have a few pets and then who also state that they believe in Angels, we sometimes set aside a label or two or perhaps we keep a tight white jacket nearby... you know, just in case.  Shhh...  there are Angels about and many of mine are found in barns. You see, I've seen them.

15 year old me
A Facebook friend posted a picture of teenage me showing, in hand, my first love Hank.  That picture sent a ripple of memories coursing through my body.  The kindness and generosity of her mother, Mrs W, saved my life.  She gave me my dream and fueled a lifetime of gratitude and a commitment to "pay it forward" to lost little girls with a deep hunger for horses. 

My parents had little money and thought that riding was an expensive sport.  They did everything to discourage me.  It wasn't done to be cruel but more to protect me from hurt and disappointment.   My passion and longing was so strong that I felt real pain and loss at my horseless self in our 4-H Club.

Pat Star Hank
I wish I could tell you that I handled my hunger well and maybe I mostly did.  Often I was consumed with envy and sadness that I had nothing and "everyone" else had "everything".  I'm not sure how or why it happened, Mrs W offered/allowed me to ride and show Hank.  She opened a world and gave me a gift so precious that throughout my adult life, I've tried to pay back.

When it comes to horses, everything I do and everything I try to do, Mrs W is the Angel attached to the memories that guided and showed me what kindness and humanity is all about. It is why I shared Sugar and now, Maisy with so many.  It's why I volunteer so much, donate money and time to organizations that help kids of all ages.

And, when I see an Angel - the young trainer who puts her kids first, who networks so the poorer students have the same experience as the more afluent or the other Mrs W's in the world that ask for so little and give so much, I feel a need to tell them that they are making the world a better place. 

One of my favorite books is "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom.  It'sone of those odd books that grabs you by the heart and engages your mind.  It's about a man who believes he lived a failed life.  When he dies, he meets 5 people who, in some way, were changed because of him.  On his way to Heaven, they tell him their stories - some simple and always profound.  Read it 'cause it's a good one.

And when you're done, know that everything you do (and say) affects someone.  And if you're one of those Angels, know really know, that your touch goes deeply and profoundly. 

Sending love and thanks to the real Mrs W and all those who embody her spirit!

Saturday, January 7, 2017


You'll hear the word presence tossed around at horse shows and events everywhere.  There will be a certain energy that surrounds the horse that just makes you turn your head as you pass or stop as you watch the test, the round or the simple move into the start box.
Sugar - Lucky Me

It may be beauty, a sense of power and grace, an ease and confidence or a way of going that reminds you of a prima ballerina or running back gliding through the defense to score a touchdown.  And, you may not be able to name what IT IS but you know it is something special, something wonderful and you know you're lucky to have witnessed it.

Presence - something extra ordinary, something that can not necessarily be named and yet, something that when you're in it or have it, you know it's a gift.  Sugar had presence and by all appearances, Maisy may also have the spark too.   A Maisy spark all her own...

Maisy - Lucky Me - Too!
This morning, I remembered a friend who died just under a year ago.  I did not remember her death from a rare cancer nor did I really spend much time remembering her wake where hundreds of people lined up to pay their respects and how I could not speak coherently for my tears filled my words.  No, those were flashes of thought.

Mostly, I remembered her laugh and how she lit up a room when she walked in and said hi.  I remembered her beautiful art even if it was contained in the boring world of insurance marketing.  She loved deeply and when her friends struggled, she worked on causes to improve their lives and those that suffered similarly. 

Her energy was boundless and her eagerness infectious.  You could be lifted by her childlike enthusiasm at approaching a problem and finding a solution.  And, as any person to belong to the human race, she had a primal response in those rare moments of anger or frustration.  Moments that worked themselves out but moments that made this angel real. 
Searching for presence

This is a soul presence not aided by physical beauty but by a deep soul connection to love and joy.  My friend had a presence that made a person richer for knowing her.  I do not mourn her loss as much I revel in the fact that I KNEW HER.  And, Facebook memories offer me moments where I can still feel her.  Lucky were we...

Presence... something special... something full.  What kind of presence will we leave when we're gone...  Yes, not sad but inspirational...  Thank you, my friend!