Monday, April 30, 2007

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Well, it's all "said and done," and Clayton Fredericks of Australia galloped home yesterday with the Rolex win. It was a weekend of ups and downs (literally) but I hear that a good time was had by all. I'll get back up there again myself next year and join my friends for all the glorious festivities next time around!
(Photos by Michelle C. Dunn and Amy Dragoo)

Friday, April 27, 2007

A place, where nobody dared to go...

I love, love, love the movie "Xanadu," starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly. The songs (an ELO-heavy soundtrack is always a good sign that the movie is fabulous), the roller skating, the dancing, the cartoon love-scene sequence, the roller disco ensemble fiasco at the's just the greatest in classic 80's cinema. I remember being very into the hair barettes with the ribbon woven through them and trailing down the side of my head just like Kira's in "Xanadu." I was the most awesome, back in 1982.

But now, oh I can hardly believe it!!! "Xanadu" has come to Broadway! I was very excited when ABBA's music came to Broadway in the form of "Mama Mia," but this has got to be the best show ever. I'm dying to go. Anybody want to go to NY some weekend and relive the magic? "Everybody all around the world, gotta tell you what I just heard/There's gonna be a party all over the world." :)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Day 1

So, after the first day of dressage, it looks like Missy Ransehousen and her horse, Critical Decision, are in the lead (no surprise, since her mother was the great US team dressage rider and trainer, Jessica Ransehousen). Phillip Dutton is just slightly off the lead, in 3rd place, which is not shocking. I'd already billed him as a major contender, and he hasn't disappointed, with still one more horse for him yet to go tomorrow.

Let's hope for better weather in Lexington in the morning so that there are fewer soggy dressage rides.

Fashion, Fashion, Fashion

Oh, the spectacle of the first veterinary jog at Rolex. Looks like everybody pulled out all the stops! Sometimes, eventers do wash up pretty. Will has finally gotten quite good with the color coordination and found a suit that matched his Stetson. And, Ryan's adorable little hat and pin-stripes are just priceless!
Nice. Now, let's just hope you boys are as elegant and impressive in the dressage ring. :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Roley, Baby!!!

It's Rolex time in KENTUCKY!!! I'm not going this year (see previous post for my pathetic and tragic reasoning) but I'm holding out hope that Will and Brad steal the show this year (that's Will and Brad in the picture to the left). Phillip is going to be such a contender, as will be Clayton Fredericks from Australia (who resides in the UK with his equally amazing and talented wife, Lucinda). I'm still putting my bets on Will.

Here's to a great weekend of wonderful competition, to fun times for all the spectators, and to safe rides for all.

Day at the Races

I know I posted last week that our Central Marketing team was going to Keeneland for the day, and we had a blast!! I won't go into detail about how much people ate, drank, lost on the ponies, or about the unfortunate experience of seeing a horse fall and fracture its leg in the Royal Chase steeplechase (that's 2 equine fatalities for me, in as many weeks. I'm staying home from Rolex this weekend, because I'm not about to jinx Ryan or Will).

Everyone had a great time and it was just good to let our hair down and be friends among co-workers, instead of just grunts among fellow grunts. Here are a few pictures. (That's me and Erika in the one photo...I'm in the pink leather jacket, and that's Dawn, Kristen, and Kate from Cincy in the other). Too bad we don't get to do this every Friday!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


So, I am frequently caught up in all my little daily personal dramas, and yesterday was no different. Remember a few posts ago when I talked about the new book I just bought, "You Know Your Life is a Soap Opera If..."? Well, in my world, yesterday went a little like this: "You Know Your Life is a Soap Opera listened to your mother, you would have married that up-and-comer at your father's law firm." But, we never listen to our mothers, right? And, sometimes, we hear our friends saying things to us, but it's more like, "Oh, Missy just doesn't understand the situation." Perhaps I should listen to my mother more. Or, perhaps I should give my friends credit for knowing more than I'll admit to. Regardless, I talk to my friends a lot when I have things to say, vent, or complain about. And, sometimes these things that I say, vent, or complain about have to do with other friends. I'm not exactly talking behind those other friends' backs, but rather holding a discourse about these other people, when maybe I should just keep those thoughts to myself.

At any rate, a fellow Wilbur marketing guru has the following Sufi quotation as her IM tagline: "How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours." I frequently feel as though I'm a really good person who is sometimes mistreated by other relatively decent people, due to no fault of my own. Instead of verbally lashing out at those relatively decent people, perhaps I should think about my own karma and just leave well-enough matter how irritated, grossed out, or annoyed I am by those people or by their behavior. To tell you the truth, most people irritate me, gross me out, or annoy me, so that's why I have horses. My horses never disappoint me and never compel me to say things to other people that are most likely going to end up buying me an express train ticket straight to hell.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Yummy Monday!

Yep, It's Monday, which means I (we) need some Becks in order to get through. ENJOY!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Field Trip

Our very smart, talented, and amazing Central marketing team (consisting of the marketing peeps in Knoxville, TN and Cincinnati, OH) are taking a much-needed and well-deserved field trip by meeting up at the races at Keeneland today. This trip not only gets us out of a day of work, but it also is graciously provided at the expense of dear Wilbur Smith (may he rest in peace). Thanks, WSA! I look forward to seeing everybody at the track!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Thanks, Kristen, for this very unique and interesting take on toilet paper. I'm not sure if I love it or hate it...but, like Dawn, I know which one I'd prefer to wipe with. That's an effective and appropriate use of Victoria's likeness, I must say. :)

(Click on the picture for a larger version.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Guilty pleasure...

Besides shoes and horses, I have a terrible weakness for books. I have all kinds of books (following my years as a graduate student in English literature and my time as a college lecturer, most of them are well-worn, used books) and I regularly feed my literary appetite at the local Borders. My real bad habit is new hardback books. When did books get so ridiculously expensive? A new hardback is $30? Well, anyway, Erika and David and I took a trip to Borders in West Knoxville this morning to buy some reference books for work. While Erika and David bought reference books for work, I bought books for myself. One of the books I purchased is titled You Know Your Life is a Soap Opera If.... It's great! Even though some of my life certainly applies (drama!), I'm happy to be able to laugh at a number of the scenerios given, and not cringe nervously at their resemblence to my own personal saga.

As of right now, my favorite quotation is: "You know your life is a soap opera walk into a room and someone announces that the role of (insert your name) will be played by...".

Me want...

I really, really, really want these Manolo Blahniks. Unfortunately, they are $615 at Neiman Marcus. There is a lot I could do with $615, but these would really show off a brand new pedicure and make my legs look longer. Sadness!! This is one of those times that I lament the fact that Wilbur Smith just does not understand how badly a girl needs to be able to buy new shoes. And, when I say "new shoes," I mean Manolo Blahniks. However, to be totally honest, I love my shoes, but I am not terribly kind to them. Currently, I am still missing one of my red snakeskin strappy wedge sandals that I last wore back in August of 2006. The left sandal is so lonely. I have no clue where the other one is. Tragic.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


So, I had a post ready for today that was about the fact that Prince William has dumped his long-term girlfriend and is now TOTALLY available, but I couldn't post about something so inconsequential when we are faced with the terrible events that occured yesterday morning at Virginia Tech. I have many friends that attended VaTech. Being originally from Bristol, TN/VA, everyone in my hometown either matriculated at UT in Knoxville or VT in Blacksburg. I'm sure that everyone in that area of the state is just struck horrified by what has happened.

Besides being geographically from the same area in Southwest VA, I am also disturbed by the fact that this is such a terrifying violation of a college campus and the academic community. Having been at a university (UT) for the past 10 years (as a graduate student, administrative employee, and faculty member) I find it both unbelieveable, yet frighteningly possible. On the whole, academic life at a large state university was safe, fun, stimulating, and interesting. But, I also know that it crossed my mind several times that, "wow...that student really hates me and he/she is rather unstable." How easy would it have been for Jane or Joe to just walk into a classroom and open fire? Or, to walk into my office in McClung Tower and just gun me down? How easy would that have been? Well, it would have been as easy as someone simply walking in off the street and pulling out a gun. It's unexpected, unanticipated, unprepared for, and almost unheard of. I feel for the people who were killed, the many who were injured and who witnessed this atrocity, and for the friends and families of everyone affected. I hope that those who are struggling with this right now will find some peace somehow, because I know that there really is no acceptable justification or explanation for this crime.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Beckham Monday!

Today is Monday. Which inevitably matter how well my weekend went...that I need some Beckham in order to just get through. So, here he is. Need I say more???

Friday, April 13, 2007

My Middle TN Girls!

I am headed to Nashville this weekend to spend time with my horsey homegirls down that-a-ways. There is a small, unrecognized horse trial at Percy Warner Park in Brentwood, TN, on Sunday morning that several of the girls (my sister, included) are taking their young and green horses to in order to get geared up for the spring eventing season. So, with that being said, I will hop in my truck tomorrow morning and see you all for dinner! Until then...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

My Buddy

I heart my BFF, Will, like...whoa. That's my buddy, Willy Wonka, in the picture to the left. You are totally the bestest! You are always there for me when I need a hug. And, you love kittens and puppies and ponies and bunnies. And, you have the cutest little overalls EVER. Don't ever change (and, by "change," I mean change that adorable yellow and orange striped shirt). It matches your cap p-e-r-f-e-c-t-l-y. All that's missing is a little hard-hat, a truck, and work boots. I love you the mostest!


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Robin the rich to feed the poor

I totally admit that I am a shameless Anglophile. There is nothing wrong with that. England has given us Badminton Horse Trials, Burghley Horse Trials, Virginia Leng, Lucinda Green, William Fox-Pitt, Prince William, Range Rover, Elton John, Absolutely Fabulous, Coldplay, and -- need I even mention -- the great and glorious Mr. David Beckham. So, it stands to reason that one of my most favorite television channels is BBC America. Good stuff.

My latest BeebAm addiction is the new series of
Robin Hood. Fun and interesting story lines that stay true to the legend: there is a hero, a few villains, a heroine, and lots of cute boys galloping through the woods on horseback wielding swords and shooting arrows. Again...good stuff. Jonas Armstrong is crazy cute (I'm way in-love; it's got to be his rugged outdoorsy scruffiness that I find so sweet and appealing), plus he's got the most adorable accent. It's all there, on my t.v., every Saturday night at 9pm. Check it out sometime! You won't be disappointed. Unless you're hoping to see some Errol Flynn-esque "men in tights" nonsense. Then, yes, you will be disappointed. :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Beckham Tuesday!

So, our marketing teams in Cincinnati and Knoxville had a compelling discussion via email and conference call last Friday about whether or whether not David Beckham was vastly more gorgeous than his wife. I think that these pictures tell the real story. Thanks, Dawn, for the wonderful rendering of Victoria. So real and utterly true-to-life!!! What is he thinking?

Monday, April 9, 2007

Bittersweet weekend

This past weekend in North Carolina was mostly wonderful, as I got to spend time with other eventers and my "other" family, the Briggs fam. My BFF Kelsey and I spent every second together from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, and we couldn't have had more fun if we'd actually tried!!! The competition was fierce this weekend and all competitors, volunteers, and farm staff should be commended for the great effort exhibited to put on such a wonderful horse trial. Jim Cogdell, the owner of the farm, is a saint and a soldier for providing us with such a wonderful venue and competition year after year. It is truly world class. I can't say enough good things about him and his show.

On a more somber note, I must add that Kelsey and I had the great misfortune to witness the fall of Lindsay Pearce and her wonderful horse, Dutch Twist, on Saturday morning. Their accident occured at fence #3 on the cross-country course, a solid wooden and stone "table" that presents a horse and rider with the question of both height and width. Kelsey and I were jump judging at fence #4 all day, and we were directly facing the landing side of fence #3. We are not sure what happened, because all we saw was Lindsay and her horse sliding across the top of the table, flipping, and landing heavily on the other side. Lindsay stood up immediately after rolling clear from her horse, but when he did not get up, she fell to the ground beside him and remained there. Dutch Twist actually lifted his head and tried to get up, but he laid back down and did not move again. Unfortunately, he died about 15 minutes after the horse ambulance transported him back to the stables.

We heard that his death was due to a ruptured aorta, but in these situations, it is difficult to know whether it happened before the fence, which is why they would have fallen and not cleared the obstacle, or whether the rupture occured because of their impact with the fence or with the ground during the fall. What I do know is that there were emergency personnel for both horse and rider at the site literally within seconds. We have all heard of this tragedy occuring to either a horse or rider (although it is not a very typical or regular occurence, thankfully) and the reports always say, "medical and veterinary personnel were on the scene immediately." I always wondered how soon is "immediately," but I witnessed their very quick and professional response this past Saturday, and I know they did everything they possibly could to save Dutch Twist. In the blur of what I saw, I do know that he fell very stiffly from the fence, so I believe that whatever was the cause of his death occured before they ever hit the ground. And, whether that happened before the fence or as a result of the impact with the jump, I'm not at all sure. But I do know that if he could have been saved, the veterinarians at the scene would have been able to do so. The most cutting and painful of all the details in this situation, though, has to be the fact that -- as difficult as this is to believe -- Lindsay has been through this before. In March of 2005, her prelim horse chested the final jump (a stone wall) on the cross-country course at Poplar Place in Georgia, flipped, threw her, and died upon landing. Something like that cannot be expected or planned for. It just happens. I cannot imagine what she must be going through for the second time in as many years.

As heartbreaking as this is to recall and to swallow, I am grateful that Kelsey was there with me. To witness something as terrible as that is hard enough, alone, but to have one of my best friends there...someone who knows exactly what I was feeling and thinking the whole time, because she was feeling and thinking the very same thing...made the acceptance of what happened a bit more possible. Naturally, we asked and tried to answer the inevitable question: "How did that happen?" but it is not our place to ask questions that just cannot be answered. What we can and should do is to think of those who have experienced this loss and keep them in our hearts and in our prayers. 

Friday, April 6, 2007

And on the third day...

...we show jump. Ok, that wasn't intended to be as sacreligious as it sounded! Especially since this Sunday is Easter Sunday. Although, Sunday is the third day, and there will be show jumping.

I'm off today for North Carolina to spend the weekend at The Fork Stables (shown in the picture above) volunteering at the CIC***. I'm looking forward to some time away from home and the experience of seeing all the big name riders and their horses in their final tune-ups before Rolex. But, most importantly as always, I will be getting some Kelsey-time for the next 3 days, as I will happily be sharing the holiday with my "little sister" that I love the mostest and my "other family." I just hope that Mama Briggs doesn't forget my Easter basket! Lots of chocolate and peanut butter, please!!! :)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

The boys are back in town

Call me crazee, but I love "Entourage." The new season begins this Sunday night (what better way to cap off Easter Sunday than with a little bit of Johnny Drama?). I will be on the road this Sunday evening, so thank goodness for my DVR!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Patrol

Snow Patrol has recorded a new song that will be featured in the "Spiderman 3" movie due out this summer. I'm thrilled for them, as I've been a Snow Patrol fan since 2003ish (which is really nothing, as they've been around since the late-90's). But, in the 3 or 4 years that I've been listening to their music, I've seen their star rise, meteorically so over the past year, as their songs have been featured on "Grey's Anatomy" several times. Yes, they are the band that sings that song about "laying here" and "forgetting the world." :)

If you're interested in this new tune, visit their official web site. There is a Flash music player on the homepage that will sample a portion of the new song, "Signal Fire."

Monday, April 2, 2007

What has happened to... man's hair??? Today is Monday, which makes it officially "Beckham Monday" (as my friend Jenn and I like to refer to the first day of the long and weary work-week). What better way to get back to the office than by anticipating the prospect of celebrating the day with visions of his glorious Beckham-ness? But, today...oh, TODAY! I am deeply saddened by this new development. It'll take a lot more than a bad haircut for me to ever think Becks is even slightly less than utterly lucious, but I fear he has gone off the deepend. Perhaps he felt so bad about being vastly more gorgeous than his wife that he thought he'd even the playing field a bit. Eww.

But, you know, hair grows back, so I'll move on...

(click on photo to enlarge)

Sunday, April 1, 2007

"Just sit there...wait, wait, wait...."

I had the wonderful privilege to observe Donna Smith teaching this weekend in Bristol, TN. She is one of those very knowledgeable, experienced, and high-profile international eventers that other eventers inevitably say things about, like, "She's so approachable," and, "She's really easy to work with, and very friendly and unassuming," and, "I really learned so much from her. She makes everything very clear-cut and straightforward!" I'd have to say, although I wasn't able to ride for her, that all of these compliments are absolutely true. She is one of those trainers who focuses on the basics, practicing simple exercises, and taking small steps in order to accomplish huge improvements regarding the "bigger picture." I can't tell you how many times I heard her telling various riders this weekend, "Balance, sit up, now wait, wait..." and no matter the horse, the rider, or the type of jump, things inevitably fell right into place if everything was done as she instructed.

It's really amazing how much we let our knowledge and our minds get into the way of our riding. I am a classic case of the "overthinking/too smart" rider. I will be coming down to a jump thinking (my brain churning out every item of riding instruction I've ever read or heard at the rate of about 100 miles per second) "shorten, leg on, shoulders back...shoulders back, eyes up, leg, leg, leg..." and all my poor little horse is thinking is, "stay out of my face, let me do my job, and just don't fall off." Why does it have to always be so complicated? Sometimes, it's great to have a big name rider just remind us that all we are doing is steering, balancing, and hanging on! When all that happens effectively, it doesn't matter if it's a 2'6" vertical or a 3'9" corner, life will fall into place as it should. I fear that in my thinking so much and getting so involved in the details of my every action when I'm riding, I forget that my horse knows a thing or two about what we're doing, and if I just let him do his job, then life is good!

Best of luck to Donna next week at The Fork CIC*** and best of luck to my friends and fellow riders who had the chance to train with her this weekend. I look forward to taking a lot of that information and putting it toward my first day back in the saddle (since February!) later this week.