Thursday, March 25, 2010

Some of the many things I have learned....

Another day, another blog entry!! Yippee and thanks again for the much needed break yesterday. The wave of stress receded and I am back to my happy, bubbly self. Of course this comes after a long day with a great time on a fabulous horse.

Now surely you all have heard all the popular quotes that follow us “horsey people” around all through life:

“There’s something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a man” -Winston Churchill

“No hour of life is wasted that is spent in a saddle” –Winston Churchill

“The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse’s ears” –Arabian Proverb

And so on and so forth. Essentially the bond between writing and riding has clearly existed for a very long time and has retained with it the element of inspiration. So I find myself inspired after one very good ride, and one not so good ride today. The inspiration only gets my fingers as far as the keyboard; let’s see what my mind can create.

A long time ago I was a small girl growing up in rural Baltimore County. We didn’t live on a farm. We lived on a tiny road that was near a few farms. Somehow, and believe me everyone in the family has tried to figure out how, I found the horses that lived closest to us. Even now I recall the memory of watching those horses and riders pass before me as I leaned against a split rail fence around age 5. It was love at first sight.

As a teenage girl I was fortunate enough to have understanding and brave parents who had not only a sense of humor but a bit of wisdom. I’m sure their thought process went something like this:

Mom: “Ok so we caught her riding a horse at a friend’s house without a clue in the world how to do it. I think we need to get her in a lesson program”

Dad: “Well I mean really what will it do for her?”

Mom: “Keep her away from boys”

Dad: “Who do I make the check out to?”

I laugh, it probably wasn’t exactly like that but it did keep me focused on equines more than boys for a very long time. And in the process we all learned many things about being “horsey,” things that Mr. Churchill and the other great equine laureates had not mentioned.

1.) Buying the house 1.7 miles from the entrance to the nearest ER was in fact a very convenient move! They still know me there.

2.) When it becomes girl vs. horse. Horse always wins.

3.) When it becomes girl vs. riding instructor. Instructor always wins.

4.) Basically girl will almost always lose battles of will with equines and those who understand equines..or at least understand equines more than girls!

5.) When you show up 45 minutes early to try a sale horse and it's being lunged and already covered in foam, don’t believe the sellers who say “Oh she’s just out of shape we were on vacation last week.” Umm yea no. She was a dead run away all the time I owned her. (Yes we bought her, we were still learning)

6.) Moms and Dads need to be given some credit, just for allowing their children to hop on 1000lbs of herd animal, divided from its herd and kicked in the ribs by a small shrieking object. See we think it’s the child that’s in danger, mom and dad know it’s the horse!!! And they happily let us do it because we want to, and because before the internet it was really good cheap entertainment.

7.) When the people from the summer day camp call and say that they found your kid unconscious in the horse field, at least try to act surprised!

8.) When the first truck and trailer take their maiden voyage to a local show, and the car phone hasn’t been installed yet, why would it be a shock that you blow a tire on the trailer? On July 4th, and can’t find a soul at the end of any phone.

9.) When you can go into any hospital in the U.S. and tell the CT scan technicians what will happen and what noises the machine will make, while concussed, you know you’ve done this too much.

10.) You tell your grandparents, who have helped kick in to buy a horse, that their one and only job as ‘owners’ will be to name the horse. Ok, here’s the name. You like it.

Me: “Hey Gramma, how did you come up with the name?”

Gramma: “It was your Great Grandfather’s favorite Irish hunter’s name.”

Me: “Wait! I have family that rode.”

Gramma: “We all rode dear.”

(This was a newsflash at age 23!)

11.) Horses mean travel. Travel means being not close to the previously mentioned ER. Hence you end up lying on a gurney listening to your mom tell you how a wheelchair guy in the Atlanta airport with nothing to do, saw her and her expression, chucked her in the chair and RAN her to her gate, of course the furthest away from the concourse! (You can get anywhere from Atlanta…Mom made it to the Ky. ER an amazing 4.5 hours after she got the call from the hospital)

12.) Same time, while lying in hospital corridor, with intern patiently dialing your house 800 miles away, and entering the 20 (!) numbers of your long distance calling card, after the 1-800 access number, and the 10 digits for the actual number, you finally reach your father and have this conversation:

Me: “Hey Dad. Things aren’t going so well here.”

Dad: “Oh? What’s up?”

Me: “Well I am staring up at IV bags”


Dad: “Oh, the horse got hurt.”

(Shake my head close eyes)

Me: “No dad”


Dad: “Oh…..OH!”

Me: “Yea dad”

These are just some of the things I have learned from horses. And even as I go through this list I realize how involved my folks and other family members have been. I really do owe them a much bigger thank you for their assistance to my one devotion. My poor mom got bucked off my first pony and still has a scar on her nose. Meanwhile my poor dad has every right to think he’s a jinx because for a while there he ended up in some ER, with some rider, not always me, a whopping 75% of the shows or races he went to. They’re there still and I think they’ve grown to like or at least appreciate what these horses have helped their little girl to become. My mom’s still my best groom, and my dad, with proper allergy pills, can walk and graze a horse like a champ.

So whether it’s a day when I feel like I am a writer who rides horses, or a rider who occasionally writes, just know that behind this page, letters, sentences and lines is a woman who has hit the deck, eaten too many carrots, painted her nails with white out, hates grammar and learned to deal with those 3 am mornings, all for the euphoria of a gallop into the wind or a paragraph that comes out better than you’d hoped. And it all started leaning against a wooden fence.



  1. Speaking as one who didn't start riding until she was in her mid-30's, you are very lucky to have the parents you do. Don't forget to tell them so, regularly.

    Just as a side note, would you consider changing the color of your lettering? I'm having a really hard time reading the white print against the pale lavender, pretty though it is. Thanks!

  2. Hi Louise!!

    I was having trouble before with the dark background and the light color. So I was re-tooling. Tell me if this new color scheme works for you. It looks better so far. I was just having trouble seeing "lines" as I was reading.

    Hope this helps, let me know if not!!

    All my best,


  3. I remember all of this. :-)

  4. For all you watching.... "Anonymous" in this case is my mom!!