Sunday, April 25, 2010

Look out Princeton Show Jumping!

Princeton Show Jumping held its Spring Challenge this past weekend, and my friend Cheryl (my first trainer) and her daughter Kendall came down from New Hampshire to compete.  Kendall is a senior in high school and has been competing in the Big Eq classes for several years.  I've had the privilege of watching her in Gulfport, the Vermont Summer Festival, and the USET Talent Search East Finals over the past few years, and have enjoyed watching her grow through both successes and failures. 
Kendall is concentrating on the Junior Jumpers now, and she brought her young Dutch mare, Valencia.  I played hooky from work on Friday so I could go down and watch her contest the 1.25 meter Junior/Amateur class.   She did well and jumped clean, and placed sixth in the class, but I think she was a little frustrated.  Her Big Eq background makes her a bit of a perfectionist, when she needs to attack the courses more and let her inner speed demon emerge.  She'll tend to carve the perfect turn and hold Lena to a perfect distance sometimes when she'd be better off sending the mare down the line at a good gallop and leaving out a stride. 
This morning she and Lena entered the $5000 Junior/Amateur 1.30 meter classic.  Andrew Philbrick and Kim Perlman's course was made more complicated by the misting rain that fell all morning.  The footing held up pretty well, although there were a few sloppy areas.  The first riders all had rails, and we were towards the end of the order before we had a clear.  That rider went for a clear round and conservative jumpoff, clocking in at just over 38 seconds. Kendall went next, and did a quick and careful round that left all the rails up.  Lena looked like she took a pull on Kendall on the jumpoff, and it looked like the brakes were failing a bit around the turn to the last line.  The mare bulged her left shoulder and dropped a heartbreaking rail, but the trip was good enough to grab second and part of the $5000 purse.
The jumping was good, the show personnel did their best to make the competitors and spectators welcome, and the catering was to die for!  The Fire Roasted Tuscan pizza party on Friday had some of the yummiest pizza I've ever had -- I highly recommend the sausage and caramelized onion!

Check out the fun:

Monday, April 19, 2010

World Cup and other ramblings...

This morning I was following my normal routine after sending the kids off to school. In other words, I was spending some quality time on the couch while reading and enjoying my morning latte.  Today I was re-reading Take a Good Look Around, by eventing guru Jim Wofford, and giggling at all the funny bits (there are quite a few.)

Anyway, while I was doing this one of those large, B52 type bumble bees decided to try to to crash through my picture window.  He gave it a good try, smashed his little bee brains against the window 5 times before flying off to tilt at other windmills. 

His efforts made me think of Ben Franklin's definition of insanity. To paraphrase, repeating the same actions while expecting different results.  The more I thought about it, though, why couldn't his efforts be looked at as a lesson in perseverance?  Perseverance is defined as a determined continuation of something, often over a long period of time in the face of numerous failures.  They may not be the same, but in many respects I'd say they are similar.

Am I insane to continue spending a fortune on riding when I am never going to realize my dreams and compete at the highest levels.  Heck, the odds are against me ever being competitive at A level shows.  Or am I persevering in the face of pretty long odds? 

How am I going to tie this back into the World Cup, you ask?  Simple -- insanity and perseverance tie together at the intersection of dreams.  My dream may once have been to ride at the World Cup level, but I know I'm more likely to be spectator there than a participant.   I spent much of the the 2010 World Cup weekend glued to my laptop, watching other's dreams unfold.  Some saw their dreams come true (congrats on the 3-peat, Marcus!) and others saw them tumble around them. 

Like many others, I was flabbergasted at the news that Sapphire and McLain Ward were disqualified due to hypersensitivty tests.  I pored over all the press releases and related articles, watched the videos, and lurked the forums, and I'm still not quite sure what to make of the FEI ruling that dashed what seemed like a very realistic chance at realizing a dream. 

There's a lot more to say, but others have said it far better than I can, and I've got a ridiculously early plane to catch.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Lately life has been a tad dramatic.  Been in the middle of finding a new barn for my horse, kids and myself, coming to the conclusion that what works for me and my rehabbing mare might not work for my kids, so looks like we may go to 2 barns instead of one.  Saying goodbye to friends, trainers, farrier, and other support personnel has been like breaking up times 20.  Add to that the fact that work has been insane, the kids' schedules brutal, and I'd have told you life was stressful.

That is, until we got the call that my brother-in-law was hospitalized with a swollen face and leg.  He's got a cardiac condition, so any health issue is more intense for him.  Long story short, it took the doctors two days to find out what was wrong, and when they did, it was a terrifying diagnosis.  Necrotizing fasciitis, or flesh eating bacteria.  They had to surgically remove the flesh surrounding his knee, he was kept in the ICU, and it was 48 hours of touch and go before we finally got word that he would not need more surgery and would recover. 

My brother-in-law is self-employed, with a wife and two kids, age 12 and 14.  This will be a challenging time while he's recovering and rehabilitating.  They're strong as heck, and will get through this, of that I have no doubt.  

Kinda puts things in perspective, doesn't it?