I know that it has been a long drought for blog posts, and therefore I probably have no more readers! However, Im not really doing this for the notoriety and fame, but rather to inform/teach/support whomever might find them helpful. So, here I go, writing to myself for my own support!
I left for the entire month of March for a long California trip with 8 horses, four riders, three trailers and one dog. Overall, we had an extremely successful and happy time. There were a few dips in the graph of enjoyment, but mostly there were peaks. One of the things I introduced to the girls was Hi/Lo discussion at dinner, and I think they loved it because after a few evenings I no longer had to prompt them and they would start asking each other for the day review. It works like this: the first person tells the group what was the highpoint of their day and what was the worst part of the day. Discuss. Sometimes, it would be an obvious thing. Like, one high for me was the moment Lear was jumping the first water combination at Galway. After galloping through the water, we jumped a brush on a lump/hill, and on landing there was a bending, downhill 4 strides to a maximum corner. I could have been a monkey up there on his back, and he still was going to jump that corner clean and confident. In that split second, he felt like an educated and mature event horse, not a horse who just moved up last fall and had the entire winter without schooling.
Other highlights included watching Kaylyn turn into a fierce competitor and make her debut at Preliminary on Larry. So many times during this trip I have had flashbacks to past years to seeing her on foot, teary eyed, walking the path of shame off the cross country course when they were riding the lower levels. I didnt know her very well then at all, but I knew she had wonderful support with Julie Hook and they were trying so hard to help her be successful. Larry (for that is my new name for him) apparently had to go through his difficult years, as talented horses are wont to do.
And sometimes the highs were really simple. Carly had a high of drinking (apparently) the world’s best butterscotch float! Who knew! Kaylyn had a key lime float that didnt make the high list of that day, however. Letty had a memorable high that was purely based on a conversation we had together, simple but seriously deep.
But a life of highlights creates either pathologically depressed or Pollyanna people, and its the lows that give us perspective on life. Lows give us a baseline to judge the highs from; there is no fist pumping when you win every time. My personal low of the trip was watching Lear be in pain as he suffered through an impaction on Sunday night after Galway. He leaped his heart out over show jumping that day and I couldnt have been more pleased with his effort. He isnt the most beautiful horse to watch jump, as his bascule is naturally squareish. He gives room by altitude, not by snatching his knees tight. So to feel him leap extraordinarily high, and keep calm and carry on through a lovely round…. it was devastating to be up with him at midnight rushing to the hospital.
There are other lows that affected our entire group, and they will remain our private hugs and winks. But living for 4 weeks with Letty, Kaylyn and Carly was absolutely lovely, despite and because of those hardships. Ive never been with a foursome that was so cohesive and supportive and because of that I want to do the whole trip again!!