Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Annual Rolex Entry

Until I recap my 2014 Rolex adventure, I thought it fitting that I repost this entry from last year:

Walking in the Hoof Prints of Greatness

On a quiet Sunday morning, in the shy hours of a Kentucky day, I traced a path. 

Before the hum of sound system checks and the call of vendors, before the rattle of gates and the cheer of the crowds, before the sun had noticed the morning dew, and, most desperately, before the passing of time had allowed the magic to fade into crumbled dirt and workman’s boots.

I stood at The Start and felt the power of a hundred hooves. I looked down and placed my own foot gingerly in the print before me, still soft and perfect in its outline, feeling a pang of guilt as the form collapsed to accommodate my weight. I let my eyes gaze down that historical lane, and then I walked.

And I listened.

In the hush of that morning I listened to story of the prints below. I followed along like an eager child, stopping in my own tracks at the dizzying magnitude of obstacles as they came into view, an obscene combination of beauty and terror, and for a moment I became lost in a memory of imagination.

I hear the disconnected reality of thousands of voices muted into a faint echo. The law of time suspended as motion slows and each stride becomes its own pulse. Nostrils widen, breath quickens, a bead of sweat falls away. And for a fleeting moment gravity patiently waits and there is only air. Perhaps a spectator’s gasp escapes the silence and an ear twitches to follow the sound. But then hoof and earth reunite, the ticking of the clock returns to its proper pace, and the raucous joy of fans is left behind in the wake of effort.  A private conversation is shared with a pat on the neck in a single gesture of gratitude, encouragement, and trust.

I made my way around that famous course. Turn by turn, jump by jump, my own breathing becoming labored at times, until I reached the last. I paused at The Finish and looked back at the prints that had allowed, possibly even welcomed, my company.  I quietly thanked them and a subtle nod of respect passed between us.

And then I stepped beyond the boundary and it was over. A gentle wave of sadness rippled through me as I suddenly became just a girl occupying space on a random clod of dirt.  Around me there were dogs splashing, children climbing, workers coiling miles of cable, and memories of victory and defeat sinking into the earth to escape it all.

I traced a path of greatness that morning, a path built upon hope and struggle, of jubilance and sorrow. A path that many will dream of, but few will achieve.

As I walked away I submitted to a brief delay in my return to reality and took a sentimental glance over my shoulder.  I was surprised to see a man standing alone and quiet at The Start. He gazed downward at the rounded outlines in the grass and tentatively took a step forward.

And I smiled.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

And the Award goes to . . .


Wow, what to say? This is such an honor, truly, such an honor.  I mean, I know I’m amazing, but to have it recognized by my peers makes me feel even better about myself.  I didn’t even plan a speech. This is such a surprise! I guess I’ll start by thanking all the little people I stepped on to get to where I am today, the unfortunate souls not nearly as awesome as myself who clearly provided no appreciable competition, and of course, The Academy for recognizing the magnitude of my accomplishment.

When I heard there would be an award for “The Most Overworked, Under Slept, Over Extended, Super-Supreme Blog Procrastinator with the Highest Beer Titer” I have to admit I had hopes it would be me. I mean, take a look around. Was there really anyone else in the running?

When you’re good, you’re good.

Blogging is a delicate art.  Blog too often and the entry lacks substance, wait too long and so much has transpired that trying to recapture the moments is like opening a locked car with a coat hanger: desperate, embarrassing and rarely successful.

You don’t win awards for being desperate, embarrassing, and rarely successful.

Since last we chatted:

·      I’ve given up on waiting for my stupid 'non-unioned' toe to stabilize and I’m back to riding 3-5 horses a day. Seriously, it’s a toe. I’m over it. Wrap that sucker and saddle up.

·      Cotton is steadily recovering from his back to back brushes with the grim reaper and I’m hand walking him about 2 miles four times a week, with 5 minutes of walk-trot under saddle. He is grateful to have a job again and the activity will hopefully keep adhesions from forming in the torn gaskin muscle. Long term soundness will be whatever it’s going to be. 

·     ·      The Carolina International CIC3* was a blast! I volunteered three full days sandwiched between two 24hr shifts (clearly shedding light on the overworked, overextended, underslept, overbeered status), the COTH sponsored jump was a huge hit and it was great hearing Nigel announce it as riders cleared, and I thought it hilarious that the Organizers named my XC jump “Shattuck's Launch”, having been lawn-darted on more than one occasion (I'll find out who was responsible for that little chuckle and NOT name them in my next award's speech).  Check out the link to a most awesome recap with photos over at Team Flying Solo’s blog. Totally worth it.

·      Rolex is in a few weeks which means copious Kentucky Ale, exhausted credit cards, and LOTS of fun things to write about. We’ll even have a cameo appearance in my annual Rolex entry from a certain someone who shall remain a surprise for now.

Till next time (you worthless, no award receiving, little people of no consequence . . )