Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Identity Crisis...

After two post-Rolex rides, I've come to an earth-shattering realization. (Cue pregnant pause). 

I'm not William Fox-Pitt.

You're shocked, right?  I certainly was.  I mean, yeah, I'm not 18 feet tall and I have the wrong plumbing, but seriously, you spend enough time watching this guy and you get delusions that you've sucked up some of his ability through equine assisted osmosis or something. 

I watched him, and listened to to the commentators, and sucked in all the amazing riding from a lot of other amazing riders at Rolex.  Then I left Kentucky, came home, and I guess on some level expected to be able to catch some of that lightning (or at least a small spark! lol) in a bottle.

Nope.  Sugar would tell you that I did not come home as WFP.  Or anything remotely close to it. 

Oh well, guess it's back to the drawing board.  In the meantime, it was a great trip filled with amazing horses, superb riders, and new friends.

Gotta aim between the bourbon barrels

GAWK!! It's Buck Davidson, Gamal Awad and Hawley Bennet-Awad

Aaack! Me with David O'Connor!!!

Getting a lift from Peter Atkins

Thursday, April 25, 2013

When In Kentucky...

Running around meeting with clients (gotta work to pay those bills!) and trying to fit in some fun in as well. Kentucky is heaven if you're a horse person; all the green fields populated by gorgeous equines and everyone seems to be involved in horses somehow, so you make new friends everywhere.

I got up to some fun stuff in between client meetings yesterday. stopped by Buffalo Trace Distillery to buy a bottle of bourbon for a friend, and after my last meeting I was able to run over to Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, for a tour and some time in the Derby Museum.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Heading to KY

Woohoo! Tomorrow I leave NJ to head down to KY for a business trip. Why am I so excited about a business trip, you ask? Because after I'm done being a professional, I'm gonna go play pony for a day at the Rolex 3 Day Event!!!!

Yep, I'm a Jumper and I'm off to US eventing Mecca. How cool is that? Looking to soak up a little interdisciplinary learning.

So here's my dilemma: Which boots do I take?

My plan is to wear them only a little while, because I fully intend to visit the Dubarry of Ireland tent in the trade fair to have a complimentary glass of champagne while I try the new Longford boots- and maybe win them? Check out Dubarry of Ireland on Facebook for details on how to enter.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Pretty Crappy Week...

Nothing makes things better
like hugging your horse.
Unless you've been living under a rock or in the one place on the planet untouchable by the vast reaches of the Internet, you know what a craptastic week it's been in the US.  How is one supposed to just trudge along through the day to day grind when it seems every day on CNN some new tragedy unfolds?

Do you ever just want to tilt your head back to look at the sky and scream, "What the heck is wrong with people??? Why can't we all get along."

I don't have the answers.  Greater minds than mine have wrestled with these questions and come up without answers.  I just try to be as nice as I can as often as I am able, and do my best to bring a smile to someone's face each day.  That's it for me.  I just try to establish a connection with people, and hope that connection comes back as good karma.

Because despite all we've seen recently, I believe people are basically good.  Shortly after the first Persian Gulf War, I was backpacking throughout Europe with my future husband.  We wound up in Turkey, working in a resort town refitting a yacht for the tourist season.  We met some wonderful people.  Many of the people we spent time with would ask us why we were so friendly with them, because they were Muslim and they knew the US mainstream media tended not to portray Muslims in a good light.  (I'm painting this in a very simplistic light because it's too darn long to reduce the whole area's history to a blog post.)

We were recent college graduates, knew nothing about politics, and were probably dumber than hell to boot.  We didn't know bupkus.  All we knew was these people invited us into their homes. They had kids that they cared about, whose futures they wanted to provide for.  They had older family members they cared for, jobs they worried about.  Long story short, although their culture and religion was vastly different than ours, we were still able to find common ground.

When ugly events happen, I try to remember that time and the fact that at the root of it all, people are the basically the same.  And remembering that, I try to keep putting good out into the world, with a smile, a cup of coffee, or a helping hand.  Because I have to believe, naive as that belief might be, that behavior like that has to win out over the kind of senseless crap we saw this past week.

Take care out there, and go hug your people and your ponies.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Horse Addict Travels...

What do you do when you have to leave home and you don't see your horse for a while?  Scroll through  pics on your phone?  Bring along the latest issue of your favorite equestrian publication?  Wear your boots or barn jacket so you have something that smells like home? (The horsie version of Linus and his blanket?)

I had to head out to Texas on a business trip this past week and here's how I fed the horse addiction while I was away from my ponies:

Holy crap!  Finally an airport newsstand that sells equestrian publications!

On my way between cities I saw a sign for a tack shop.  What self-respecting horse person can resist exploring a new tack shop?  Not me!  I walked in wearing my Professional Business Woman outfit, and walked out looking like a local. (Alright, maybe not, but I gave it my best shot!)

I've found my people!

I need THAT one, and THAT one...

These need to come home with me.
So many to choose from!

Me in my new outfit with STT's Mary and offical canine mascot, Pita.

A few miles down the road I passed Southwest Stallion Station, a premier breeding facility that stands several Quarter Horse racing stallions.  I wanted to pull in and visit, but the black skies, high winds and tornado warnings made me think that continuing on to Austin was probably a better idea.  Next time!

Maybe somebody oughtta set up a 12 step program for horse addicts? LOL!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


My gorgeous girl.
You know those moments where you love your horse and riding so much that you're just giddy with it?

I had one of those moments this past weekend. Sugar has been cleared to get back into work and we've been gradually legging her back up. The weather has been generally crappy so we've been relegated to working in in the indoor, which is becoming a bit mind-numbing. Yeah, I know, you're saying, "Quit your whining, Princess. At least you have an indoor. Mind-numbing beat ass-numbing any day of the week." You're right, I'm a cow, consider me duly chastened.

So, anyways, we finally had some over-40 degree weather and the ground wasn't that too slick , so the Sainted One and I went out and worked in the field. Bless her big heart, she was feeling full of herself but kept her sass under control, and we just had a lovely time trotting up hills and in circles around the field, and playing with leg yields and shoulder-ins.

We both had to work hard to stay in a semblance of balance, and as a result she was working really round through her back. When I stepped her into a canter and went up the long side of the field, she was so underneath herself and had so much impulsion I felt as if we were flying!

You know that scene in the Lord of the Rings movie the Fellowship of the Ring when Arwen and Frodo are being chased by the Nazgul and are galloping across the field on her gray charger? That's what I felt like. Well, except for the semi-conscious Hobbitt and vengeful Ring-Wraiths. The sun was beating down on us and the mare felt so powerful and her footfalls were the most beautiful music and I just started laughing out loud.

I think Sug felt the same, for she tossed her head and snorted. We were both drunk on the power and the beauty and just the fun of being together.

Pure JOY. Gotta love those moments. Aren't we lucky these magnificent creatures are willing to give us glimpses of moments like that?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Dork of the Day Award Goes To....ME!

This equestrian thing can be dangerous.

I mean, your body can take a beating. If you fall, it's usually from about 5 or 6 feet above the (hard) ground.  Sometimes higher, if you happen to be jumping when you and the horse part company.  And let's face it, we don't usually fall off while the horse is standing still. (Although, to be truthful, I can say that I've done that.)  Most of the time when we experience an unintentional dismount, it's at speed.  Which makes the ground seem harder.

By the way, did you know that there are scales to evaluate the hardness of an object as it pertains to the bounce back of the object hitting it? I prefer using the Leeb Rebound Hardness test, myself.

Yep, from now on you can look at your falls as science experiments.  You can even get a little doohickie called a schleroscope to measure the distance of your rebound after you hit the ground. 
Even better, there's even something called indentation testing that measure hardness based on the indentation left by an object hitting a surface.  So, you can measure the hardness of the ground by the size of the crater you left behind when you landed.

But I digress.  At least when you fall, you can point to your injuries with a sense of pride. Unfortunately, our equestrian passion often subjects us to less, uh, illustrious injuries - the broken toe from being stepped on, the bruised side from the bite of a girthy horse, or the scraped up leg from when Poopsikins tried to pry you off by using the nearest fence for leverage.

I give you my most recent Stupid Horse-Related Injury: The Self-Imposed, Helmet-Induced Nose Job.  Sadly, I was nowhere near a horse when this happened.  I was just getting ready to tack up, grabbing my saddle and helmet from the top rack, and the helmet bounced off the bottom rack, rebounded upwards and the brim smacked me right in the bridge of the nose. BAM!!!!!

I saw stars, and darn near went to my knees.  Bled like a stuck pig, too.  This is what it looks like 3 days later.  Lovely shade of Spring-like yellow, don't you think?

I'll be the first to tell you, helmet safety is VERY IMPORTANT!!!  Those suckers can hurt!

Anybody else have a silly horse-related injury they want to share?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Happy Happy Joy Joy...

Hmmm, this looks cozy.
Actually, I almost hesitate to write that title, as sometimes it feels that the merest whiff of happiness will bring the Gods of Equine Mischief down upon my head and there will be yet another issue

You know that feeling - the one that wakes you in a cold sweat in the middle of the night wondering if Poopsie's cast or colicking and makes you yearn to rush out to the barn to wrap your beloved pony in bubble wrap?

The vet came out and pronounced Sug's corneal ulcer healed!  Cue heraldic trumpets and choirs of seraphim, cherubim, and other heavenly crooners.  There was much rejoicing. I did my happy dance.

Which looks like somewhat like this:

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My kids rejoiced because Sug was better and that makes them and Mommy happy.  The husband rejoiced because Mommy would finally RELAX.  Yes, relax in capital letters.  You know the tone I'm trying to convey- the way your husband says it when you are 9 months and 1 week pregnant and the baby's room is still a shrine to his college athletic achievements? 

To celebrate Sug's recovery, and to thank everyone who was so helpful while she was on the IR, I went into a fit of "Thank You" baking.  The vets got Whoopie Pies and Banana Bread with Caramel Glaze. (They came out on a Sunday morning before leaving on vacation, so for that they get extra goodies!) The grooms, who medicated her 6x every day for 3 weeks got some of their favorite beverages and some Banana Bread with Caramel Glaze as well.  I need to make them some brownies as well.  That was a lot of medicating.

Can I ask a  favor? Can you keep your fingers and toes crossed that the Sainted One stays healthy?  My sanity (and let's face it, my bank account) could use a break.

Thanks to all you guys for your support and for checking in to see how Madam Mare has been faring!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Monday! A Little Video Humor to Start the Week...

It's Monday.  I don't know about you, but I'm sensing this one has the potential to be a looooooooooong one, if you get my meaning.

Therefore, I am building in a stress reliever to aid in dealing with the "Crap, it's Monday" blahs.  Check out this video and tell me if you don't giggle a bit.

Just in case it might be a particularly rough Monday for you, I'm throwing in a bonus video.  Who can resist cute and cuddly kittens? Certainly not me! 

There!  You're smiling now, right? Good.  My work here is done.

Have a great Monday, my friends!