Monday, December 23, 2013

Stall Rest - It's not just for horses anymore . . .

 Noun: A state of existence in the confines of an enclosure relatively proportionate to the body mass of the confined for the alleged purpose of physical rehabilitation but more commonly known as a form of mental torment secondary to stagnation induced brain clouds.

Being stuck inside feels like this:

Today is post-op day 5. Feels like post-op day eleventy one. But, at least now I can start the getting better and put the great crash of 2012 behind me (maybe?).

All ready
Getting a nerve block, great for postop pain


The 1st dressing change. GRROOSSSSS!

Hopefully my stall rest will be upgraded to “hand-walking” soon, and maybe even “limited turnout” in a couple of weeks. I’ve put in a request for supervised visitation with the horses but so far the judge won’t even give me the time of day, sheesh. Something about court backlogs and weather contingencies and blah blah blah.

I thought about sneaking out with a bag of carrots tied to my crutches, but someone must’ve snitched and now I’ve got guards outside my door with 2 way radios. They’re dressed like giant ninja warrior Easter Bunnies, except they have an elephant nose and are riding tricycles. One of them is juggling giant candy cane shaped jello molds, probably to distract me.  I don’t remember where this was going . . .

I have learned a couple of important lessons. #1 – ALWAYS take a stool softener with pain pills (really wish I’d remembered that about 5 days ago) #2 – 7 hours straight is the most you can watch Netflix on an ipad before you get retinal disfigurement from the screen (cured with pain pills and stool softeners) #3 – white wine is best paired with Vicodin, beer is okay and margaritas are a Class 2b violation.

If only I could learn to relax like this:

Merry Christmas everyone.  Hug your children. Pet your horses. Beware a juggling ninja bunny warrior bearing a jello mold . . . 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Lucinda Green Clinic

What do you get when you combine equal parts grit, experience, entertainment, knowledge and a fantastic accent? A smashing good eventing clinic with Lucinda Green, that’s what. I’ve been craving a Hungry-Man meal of learning and this was a delicious dish.

Add a heaping scoop of fabulous North Carolina weather, perfect footing,  good company, and you’ve got yourself a complete meal. Of course, I like a little wasabi with my appetizer so I spiced up my rides with a dash of naughty horse and an unplanned dismount (you’re welcome, spectators).

Day one incorporated stadium jumps to recreate the skills necessary for effective cross-country riding. Lucinda dotted the field in a seemingly random arrangement of skinnies (like, Jenny Craig skinny), barrels (of the horse eating variety) and standard stadium oxers.

Well, the genius of that “random” pattern soon emerged like the plot of a really good book. We were flipping pages like the library was closing in 5 minutes and we still hadn’t found out who killed Colonel Mustard (btw, it was Mrs. Plum . . . in the library . . . with the candlestick). Not only were holes in the horse’s education exposed, but rider weaknesses as well.

She was very quick to praise a well-ridden line, and equally quick to point out what needed help. I loved her style – blunt but kind.  Otie did a lot of growing up, as did I. He is a fantastic horse, “lovely” according to Lucinda. But he has had me a bit backed off of reinforcing some basic boundaries. She instantly pointed out that he has a very powerful hind end and I’ve got to learn how to ride it if we’re to be successful. His “stop” button was conspicuously absent, and when pressed for a prompt response to the aid he chose to change the subject. She did say she thought he would benefit from going over some really big jumps once in a while so he has a chance to use that power and feel like Superman. She thinks he could really be a top horse in the Jumpers or up to the 3* level in Eventing (“might be too heavy to make time at the 4*”. Darn, and I was just filling out my Rolex entry, too).

This video should have music:

This video is raw footage with Lucinda's voice heard:

Coby, on the other hand, was my serious fun factor for the weekend. He is constantly teaching me something new, even if it’s how to get off the ground with a smile and ride the line again. He is entering his retirement years and this was our last hoorah together. After teaching me so much he has finally said he’s ready to drink martinis and watch the ladies go by. Enjoy it Coby, well deserved (as the tears plop down my cheeks). I will be putting together a video tribute of our time together very soon. My unplanned dismount was a direct result of worrying about the skinny and under riding the oxer.

Next year I hope to be able to really show Lucinda how far Otie and I have come. Maybe I’ll even have another one getting started . . .

Friday, September 13, 2013

Life as an Also Ran

So as I stood staring at the mammogram machine in my paper vest I began to wonder about some things.

(Step forward, lift your chin . . . )

Mostly I wondered why they bother with the stupid paper vest. Seriously, what does it do? It doesn’t keep you covered, it sure as heck doesn’t keep you warm, and as soon as you take one side off to feed the machine the other side falls to the floor.

(Hold you breath, don’t breathe . . . )

They only come in ‘one size fits none’, and since you have to remove your deodorant for the boob eating x-ray plate all of your nervous perspiration is there for the world to see.

(Breathe, step back . . . )

I started to wonder if Beezie Madden or Karen O’Connor’s paper vests fail as miserably as mine. Does Becky Holder have a bead of sweat running down her armpit while she waits for the whir of the guillotine machine?

(You moved, we’ll have to reshoot that one . . . )

And then a short time later as I sat on the stupid paper sheet with the stupid paper drape across my lap and my stupid paper vest falling off my shoulders, staring at the miserable steel holders that have.the.nerve to call themselves stirrups, I continued to wonder.

(Scooch forward . . . )

Does Boyd Martin have to wear a stupid paper sheet to turn his head and cough? Does William Fox Pitt feel the need to make nervous chatter while waiting for

(Cold hand, sorry . . . )

And I thought to myself  “well, it doesn’t get much less glamorous than this.” But, of course, it did get less glamorous. Much less glamorous.

(Little pressure here . . . )

And like my stupid, useless paper vest I felt like the least glamorous thing on the planet. THAT, for some strange reason, is when I came to the realization that I am officially an ‘also ran’. Not the one watching the scoreboard to find out which tier of the platform I’ll be standing on. Not the one smiling for the camera with my beaming support crew all around me. And most definitely not the one planning my Fall thinking “another awards banquet, how utterly droll”.

Being an ‘also ran’ means your glory is measured by subtler methods, like the smile you wear back at the trailer because you just jumped 8 of the biggest tables you’ve ever seen; or the personal satisfaction that you just gave every drop trying to get that last 3rd level score, even if the number didn’t happen. It's definitely the pride you feel when you know your horse tried his heart out for you in stadium.

Life as an ‘also ran’ might not be flashy or glamorous, in fact the only camera capturing the moment might be the one looking back at you in the rear view mirror, but it’s my life. It’s my ordinary, average, 8 table jumping life.

And it’s a whole lot better than that stupid paper vest.

Here's some footage from Five Points Horse Trials last weekend. A cheeky stop at the water, but otherwise an amazing XC run. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Mission Control to Sanity

Mission Control to Sanity . . .
Come in, Sanity.

“Sanity here”

Yes, Sanity, what is your location please?

“Um . . . let’s see, there’s a tree to my left . . . I hear frogs . . . Wait, did I just hear a train? No, that was just the sound of unstructured thoughts running around my brain. Huh, weird, sure sounded like a train for a moment there.  Sorry, I guess I’m lost.”

Houston, we have a problem.

Since we moved to the country I’ve been pacing the halls of mission control like an expectant father in a hospital, eagerly awaiting the delivery of my little bundle of Farm Zen.

You know, Farm Zen, that magical state of mind with rainbows and butterflies and fairy dust. Where background music softly plays as you greet each sunrise refreshed, a steaming cup of coffee in your hands. Where the horses nicker affectionately with gleaming coats and spotless fields. Where the breeze always flutters your hair in that ‘I look fabulous and I haven’t even brushed my teeth yet’ movie-star-glamor kind of way.


Not only have I NOT received my lifetime supply of Farm Zen, but the sanity I traded in for it has not been returned. It has not been returned and I want it back. I’ll love it and hug it and pet it and squeeze it and it will be mine. 

I keep thinking about Private Benjamin, when she said there must be some mistake because she joined the Army with the condos and private rooms; I signed up for the farm life with perfect weather, well behaved horses, and dogs that don’t dig up everything you put into the ground. Good Heavens, my recruiter lied to me!

But then I see this:

And this:

And this:

And I realize that it’s okay not to be in control of every variable, it isn’t the end of the world if the horses have the day off because one more thing wasn’t going to fit, and I’m almost certain that the sun will not cease to rise in the East and set in the West if I have to burn a moldy round bale. Really, who cares if my coffee spills on my lap in the Gator, or the UPS guy pulls in while I’m feeding breakfast in flip-flops and bed-head? I have horses in my front yard and wine in the fridge, life is good.

An adjustment? Heck ya. Worth it? Absolutely. . . . 

Knock, knock.

Who is it?

“It’s Sanity. I’ve found my way home.”