Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Role Models...

Soph doing her thing.
You know, having a kid is a complicated thing.  As a parent you're supposed to teach your kid right from wrong even as you continue to make your own mistakes.  You  try to lead by example and hope that in the end you've done more good than bad and that you've raised a decent human being.  Notice I'm not setting the bar overly high here.  I said decent. I'm not expecting the next Bill Gates or Mia Hamm (Although that would be nice. Think of the horses they could buy me!)  I just want them to be good, happy people.

Sophie is now 13, a tricky age at best. Some days we're besties. Others?  Not so much.  Those are the days of  the eye rolling/foot stomping/aggrieved sighing variety where you start to think piercing your nipples and pulling your lower lip over your head would be less painful.  (Yeah, I went there. My blog, my rules.) To paraphrase a friend of mine, many days we're like boxers, punch drunk and just bobbing and weaving and praying to make it to the end of the round.

I think Soph and I really do like each other (Yeah, that bold statement is probably going to swing back and bite me in the ass somehow).  I am continually amazed by her. One second she's a somewhat goofy 13 year-old freckled chatterbox.  On a soccer pitch she's laser-focused and a fierce competitor. Heaven help you if you think you're taking that ball from her.  She's a strong field general, communicating with her team, setting up plays. She has growing pains in her joints that that sometimes leave her hobbling when she walks on the pitch, but she plays through the pain and when she runs down the field you'd never know she was hurting. 

Same thing happens when she rides.  The goofball goes away and she has the intense focus of someone years older. She analyses every move she and her horse make, and rides as if she's thinking five steps ahead all the time.  Me? I'm just thrilled to get to the other side of each jump alive.  If I were to be honest, on one hand I'm totally in awe of her ability to do that, and on the flipside I'm just a bit envious. (Okay, more than just a bit.)

I tell her how she impresses me quite often. 

At the World Cup 
with show jumper  Marco Kutscher.  Squeeeeeee!

Last Sunday were on the way to a soccer match and had stopped at a highway rest station for a Starbucks fix.  As we were climbing back in the truck Sophie says, "Mom, I'm so proud of you for getting this big truck and learning how to drive the trailer.  You are not afraid to try new things, even if you're scared."  She then went on to say how cool it was that I worked so hard to be able to afford to ride, and that I'd started my blog and parlayed that into writing for Horse Junkies United.  She thinks I'm cool because the HJU connection has allowed me to cover competitions like Devon and the Zoetis Million and most recently the Longines FEI World Cup in Las Vegas. She thinks that the fact that I get to talk to and interview famous riders that we watch on live streaming and FEITV "is, like, totally awesome!!"

She inspires me to be stronger, physically and mentally, to go forward even when it hurts.  She's watched me get an EMBA, do I think from that understands the importance that education offers in terms of getting to a place where you can afford to realize a dream. I think she sees from watching me that you can be a woman that succeeds at work in a man's world.  That you can have a family, a passion, and a career, but that it takes a lot of  hard work and you have to go after it, not wait for it to come to you. That you can try new things, even if they scare you, at any point in your life.

Her comments absolutely floored me. ( And damn, did I wish I'd recorded them!) They also got me to thinking: So often we think of sports figures, business tycoons, or other famous folks as role models. I think it's pretty cool that my kid and I found role models a little closer to home.

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Horseless Horse Show...

What do you do when it's a gorgeous Spring day, you're finished with your homework and it's the one day a week when you don't have soccer and/or riding? 

If you're my daughter, you set up some jumps in the front yard and spend an hour pretending you're a famous show jumper.  I think she pictures herself as McLain Ward's Rothchild, because they are both small and feisty and damn good jumpers.

I call this clip "The Jump-Off" as it's clearly a shortened course. The fences are 3'9" and 3'6".  No big deal if you're on a world class show jumper.  More of a big deal if you are a 5'2" girl, albeit one with springs for legs.  "Don't video!" she said to me. "I'm not at my maximum height."  (In case you are wondering, so far that's been just over 4'."

What do you do when you're bored with jumping the high stuff?  You start asking yourself some technical questions, of course.  Can you lengthen and shorten?  Are you quick enough with your legs?
Clearly it's time to set up some gymnastics.  Jim Wofford would be proud.

"The Bounce"

"Bounce to a One Stride"

"Going the Other Way"

Seriously, the kid never stops, bless her heart.  If she were a dog, she'd totally be a Jack Russell. No joke. She asked if I wanted to try a course or two.  Uh-uh. Nope. Taking a pass on that one.  The kid got me to do a cartwheel the other day and I damn near killed myself. 

No thanks, kiddo. I choose life.  You jump, I'll video.