Saturday, March 31, 2007


As many of you other eventers know, our sport is inherently dangerous to competitors: both horses and riders. One thing that many of us who compete in horse trials face at one time or another is the question, "But why do you do it?" I think that's the $1M question. No matter whether it's at the lowest level (me!) or at the international level, not a one of us can really describe in so many words what it's like to be an eventer. We just have to do it!

I'm constantly concerned about my welfare, my horses' welfare, and the well-being and safety of my friends and fellow competitors. But no matter how efficient, how well-prepared, or how professional an event is organized, run, or contested, the unthinkable does happen. This year, our premiere event in the world of eventing (The Badminton Horse Trials CIC 4-star) has named the Spinal Injuries Association as the official charity of the 2007 competition. Some may say that this is surreal, but I happen to think it is facing reality head-on. Unlike those competitors who won't look at the medics/ambulances situated on-site on cross-country day (for fear of jinxing themselves and bringing down bad luck!), I happen to appreciate the medical personnel who volunteer to serve at our competitions. We can't pretend that nobody ever gets hurt. And, frankly, I am pleased when I know assistance is near at hand, as I think to myself, "wow...if Eddie decides NOT to jump that stone wall, when he slams to a halt and I hit it, something is going to get broken!" When that day comes, I know someone will be there for me, so I think it is worthy to recognize and support those organizations dedicated to being there for and caring for those individuals who have been severely injured doing what they truly love.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Kiwi Power

In my sport of 3-day eventing, it is traditionally understood that the British riders, the Australian riders, and the New Zealanders kick everybody's butts on the international scene. Of late, the Germans and the French have really come to the forefront, and we Americans are typically strong and successful contenders.

But as historical eventing powerhouses, the Brits, Aussies, and Kiwis are the riders that have given us some of the most amazing partnerships: Mark Todd (NZ) and Charisma, Virginia Leng (GBR) and Priceless, Lucinda Green (GBR) and Be Fair, Blythe Tait (NZ) and Ready Teddy, Andrew Hoy (AUS) and Master Monarch, and Phillip Dutton (previously of AUS, now riding for the USA) and any horse he's ever really competed. These are just to name a few.

This weekend, U.S. based New Zealander Donna Smith, featured in the picture I posted above, (who most recently rode for NZ at last year's World Equestrian Games in Aachen) is coming to the farm of one of my friends in Eastern-most TN (on the border of VA) to teach a two-day clinic. I have been unable to ride for the past month due to contracting Mycoplasma ("Walking Pneumonia") about the same time that I'd gone to this same farm to ride with former Rolex-winner and Adelaide-winner, Nick Larkin (also from, you guessed it, New Zealand) back in early February. I'm very excited to get to go and watch several of my friends ride with Donna, and to, hopefully, glean some wisdom and knowledge that I can bring back home with me and share with my steadfast little partner, Eddie (Good Willing). And, as an aside, I have to say that Eddie is in-no-way complaining about our recent lay-up and wouldn't mind it a bit if our competition schedule was delayed still yet a bit further this year. He's a sweet one, but there is no Rolex in our future, dare I say.

So, I'm off to visit friends in Bristol and spend tomorrow and part of Sunday basking in the glow of good riders, good horses, and great instruction. For someone who doesn't believe that at least 50% of your work as a rider actually happens on the ground (through study, reading, listening, and education) then that person is only half the rider that many others truly are. I'm looking forward to learning everything I can this weekend, and then returning to my horses to get my spring season started off on the right foot.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

"How do I look?"

So, I have several friends with blogs, thus I've decided to plunge in and join the ranks of the millions of other internet junkies filling the cyber-ether with...stuff. My stuff is about as useless as the next person's, but this is at least a place when I can (hopefully) keep up with what all I've got going on and let my friends do the same. Sometimes, my horse friends get pushed aside for my "other" friends, and sometimes my "other" friends get pushed aside for my horse friends. Sometimes friends get pushed aside for my family, and sometimes everybody gets pushed aside for my work. Maybe if I can check in here at least once in a while, then perhaps I can organize my thoughts enough so that no one gets pushed aside or left out. We'll see how this goes...