Monday, March 31, 2008

A Change is Gonna Come

My sport is in serious flux right now. Too many accidents, too many horse and rider deaths, too many questions, too much happening, too many people going in too many different directions. Too much money going to the wrong things; too many people riding and competing for the wrong reasons.

I am an eventing purist. I want it like it was back in the day when I first fell in love with the idea, concept, and passion of three-day eventing. The picture (to the left) of Lucinda Green and Regal Realm at the '84 Olympics represents a time and place in the sport when I first became aware of this discipline and I really fell in love with it. I watched her. I studied her. I wanted to BE her. Flowing forward, galloping/jumping, galloping/jumping. None of this fancy-shmancy show of big dollars and tricky obstacles that have horses and riders stopping/starting/jerking/turning/twisting/and flipping that we see on cross-country today.

Something is going to happen. Something has got to happen...now. Before I drop another dollar on another entry fee, before I pack my trailer and gas up the truck one more time, and before I saddle up and point my horse at one more fence...I want something to change. To quote the great Bruce Davidson, "In short, the sport needs to evaluate what made it great and return to that so it does not turn into a spectacle that neither horse nor rider understand."

Friday, March 28, 2008

Tough Call

I'm conflicted over this story about the 70 malnourished Walking Horses in Kentucky. 70 is a lot of horses and to try and feed them must be near to impossible. I have 5 horses and it has been a challenge to me (albeit one I'm obsessive about, and a challenge I rather enjoy) in order to properly and successfully balance my horses' nutrition, feed, and condition. I have all types of horses, all ages, and all have a different function. It's not easy to keep them in the precise weight range I want, with no real pasture to speak of and grain prices going through the roof. But, 70 horses? I really can appreciate the quote in this article that says, "Instead of seizing animals and bringing charges, the government should help people by finding and providing hay." Malnourishment is definitely abuse, in many cases, but how can you punish Mother Nature for just not providing us with enough rain last year? These horses were fed and the owners were trying, but they just didn't have any grass in their pasture. They certainly did better than the man in Jefferson County here a few months ago who shot his two horses because they were making his pasture muddy (no grass) and costing him too much to feed. Then again, it's all about the perspective: perhaps he felt that killing them (instantly) was better than letting them starve to death over time. I'm just grateful for my hay guy, Buddy, and the people at Purina Mills so that I can keep my ponies healthy and happy. I know there are so many others out there who aren't as lucky.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gamenight

Hold your breath, make a wish, and count to 3...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"Charleston Nine Memorial Highway"

It really has been almost a year. I hope this June will be a hopeful and forward-looking (although sad) anniversary for all those affected.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Easter travels

Well, I'm going to Lexington this weekend for Easter and some quality time with Michelle, Jim, and the kidlets. I'll be gone Friday-Monday, so I'm looking forward to a wonderful time in Kentucky and a happy holiday with friends who are like family. Happy Easter, everyone! Safe travels. :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Fattening

Following on my profession of love yesterday for "No Reservations," I'll comment on something I saw on Anthony's "Pacific Northwest" episode. If there ever was a food item that could be pictured beside the word "Fattening" in the dictionary, it would be these unimaginable concoctions. Voodoo, indeed.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A.D.D.I.C.T.E.D.

This past weekend, I watched about 15 episodes of "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations" that have been DVR'd on my cable for the past 2 weeks. I am, basically, addicted. There are the "fast forward and don't look" moments, of course (he's not exactly a vegetarian), but his interest in and his fascination with the people and places he visits is what this show is all about...not necessarily just how many gross animal parts or odd dishes he can consume during a one-hour timeframe. I love it and I hope there is another all-day marathon on very soon!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tragic weekend

It was another sad weekend for the eventing community at Red Hills in Florida on Saturday. My friend Amy's trainer (Jonathan Holling) lost his wonderful horse, Direct Merger, (pictured to the left) to a pulmonary hemorrhage on cross-country. Jon and Monty were short-listed for this year's Olympics in Beijing, and my heart just goes out to him, his wife Jenn, their students and staff, and of course Monty's owner Janet Olsen.

In addition to Jon's loss, Missy Miller lost her horse,
Leprechauns Rowdy Boy, when he flipped at a bounce and suffered an immediate fatality. Missy was thankfully unhurt, and perhaps her only consolation is knowing that her horse went instantly, with no pain or suffering. These accidents really hit home the concept of "in the blink of an eye."

Finally, to add to the already sad and horrifying occurrences of the day, former Olympian Darren Chiacchia had an accident in the prelim division, when his horse fell on him, injuring him severely and requiring that he be airlifted from the course to the local Tallahassee hospital. His prognosis is critical, with most of the concern centering around his massive head injury and the possible effects of that trauma.

As I told Amy this weekend, I love eventing and I look forward to each new and exciting competition, but I'm starting to ask myself the question time after time: "Who will it be next?" It's no longer a matter of "if," it's simply a matter of "when."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Did not know...

I was not aware that a person can shop Bass Pro Shops online. Nor that there is such a thing as a Bass Pro Shops Visa card. Nor that there is currently a spring fever special, whereby someone could receive a $1000 Bass Pro Shops gift card with the purchase of a new boat. These are all things I did not know.

I love BPS. I was there just this past weekend. It's near my house. My friend Erika went shopping and got a sweater on sale last week at West Town Mall. I went shopping at Bass Pro Shops. I also got a sweater on sale, but what I really wanted was the Arctic Cat ATV out by the front door. Sweater/4-wheeler? Sweater/4-wheeler? Oh, well. The sweater was cheaper.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ugh

Soooo glad I didn't buy a diesel pick-up truck this year.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It's not always about football...

I saw this news story in our local Knoxville newspaper yesterday morning. As an alumnus of the University of Tennessee, and as a former lecturer there, I love reading about UT's academic successes just as much as I enjoy hearing about all the athletic wins. Knowing some of the fundamental disadvantages more than a few academic departments suffer on an ongoing and daily basis at Tennessee, I feel good knowing that former UT students all over the world, all the time, are making the most of their education - though they may never have stepped onto an athletic field or into a sport's arena in all their time at college - and changing the world in their own unique and incredible way.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

*Sigh*

Ok, I take back what I said yesterday about South Carolina.

SC, you know I love you. That's why I'm so hard on you. But, it's just a matter of time before I come crawling back and forgive and forget. Loveyoumissyou!!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

South Cackalacky

I've actually considered moving to this fine state. Don't ask me why! Oh yeah....it snowed here this weekend. That's why I want to move!!!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Girly Girl

Ok, I usually keep my fingernails natural and rather short (because of all my outdoorsy pursuits), but lately, my nails have been long and I did a French manicure last week that looked great. Of course, just as my nails start looking good, I'm bound to break one, and then I'll just cut them all off and start over again. Yesterday, I went to a new nail salon here in Knoxville and got a gel nail manicure. This is a manicure that applies a tip and coat of gel over top of the natural nail to protect it from peeling, chipping, breaking, or snagging. My "new nails" are the exact same length of my "real nails" underneath. In fact, they are my "real nails" with a protective gel coat over top. The great thing is, they aren't any longer than I normally grow my nails, and the natural state of a gel nail is white tip and opaque nail bed...hence, perma French manicure. No longer will I have to trim, wait, grow, paint, polish, gloss, then break. I think I like this pampered look! Plus, it'll be a lot harder to break one when mucking stalls or tacking up. Score one for the prissy princess in me just waiting to make her way to the surface.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Victory shall be mine!













It was so worth it to stay up last night and watch every, single last second of this game. The Bruce is loose!!! I heart the Vols. :)

God Save the Queen

This amazing new place is opening today here in Knoxville. I CANNOT WAIT TO GO. Why, oh why, did they not have something like this when, in grad school, I practically lived at the various eating/drinking establishments in the Old City? Better late than never, I guess.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Borderline

As much as I know this post title tempted you all with the Madonna reference, this entry in fact has nothing to do with Madonna. Sorry. :) Am I wrong in thinking that state borders were established, oh, like at least 150 years ago, if not earlier? Can they really be serious about just arbitrarily moving the Georgia state line north into Tennessee, should lawmakers want that? I think there is already enough "Georgia" out there, so let's not add any more.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Take your pick

With these kinds of prices, I think I'll stick to hanging my hopes on Eddie and Reece. I am glad that they had such a successful experience, though. I think it's great to offer a nice selection of prospects, ridden/trained by such wonderful professionals, and all available to view in a beautiful location. I hope everybody had a great time and that some fantastic horses found homes with some talented and deserving riders. The event year is gearing up!

Monday, March 3, 2008

I heart dorks


I saw Ben Schott on the Martha Stewart Show the other day and think he's so adorable! The geeky glasses, the "aw shucks" Britishness of his demeanor, and his sharp pop cultural savvy is so cute. I have to start reading his almanac. Martha actually commented, "Once you read this, you'll be able to finish the New York Times Sunday Crossword easily in one sitting." Well, I can pretty much already do that each week, so this sounds like something that is right up my alley!!!