Saturday, November 26, 2011

In which I finally do a little catching up!

It has seriously been a while since I have posted anything - and while the blog hasn't changed, my life certainly has rocketed on a rapid pace.  The POS Ranger has been sold, geocaching on hold at the moment, and my life is a runaway train. 

Competition season is over.  As a friend said, this is the time of year when the horses are lame and the checkbooks are empty.  Not the case here but it is time for a welcome break and some re-tooling for next season.   Brynnie and I finished up a great year at the prelminary level, completing six competitions (five of them CDEs) and coming home in the ribbons, 4th or better, in five of the six.  It's been a great journey with him, and every day we drive we cement the partnership a little more.  I feel sorry for those eventers who will never complete a long format event, the time Bryn and I spend together prepping for our 13-14 kilometer marathons build a relationship that is hard to duplicate.  So without further ado. . . the 2011 Carolina Challenge Cup Winners - Preliminary Single Pony!

My heart horse Bo finished up a successful year with Boyd Martin - with a 15th place finish at the Fair Hill CCI**.  His dressage continues to improve daily and he has come so very far in the year he has been with Boyd.  I miss him very much but I know he is getting great care and the crew at Windurra enjoy having him around.  He successfully completed two advanced horse trials this summer with ease and top ten finishes.  He will be back out in 2012 with his talented stable mates and it should be a great year!!

The husband's horse spent the summer at Windurra learning his craft with great success - ending on a high note completing two training level events.  Bru, aka Krugerrand, is one of the nicest, calmest horses I have ever come across.  Lovely to ride, nice jumper and a pleasant boy all around.  He and Manny made their debut in the hunting world at opening meet this past Thursday, and handled most everything in stride.  Right up to the part where Manny forgot to steer, Bru jumped the four foot jump wing and popped Manny out of the tack.  Xrays are all clear, good drugs are involved, Bru is none the worse for wear and I have a promise they will only hilltop for the rest of the season!!

My son has passed in and out of my life once again.  Being a parent is one of the most bittersweet experiences I have had, and I struggled every day with the concept that my dreams for him are not his dreams for himself.  It was a pleasant departure this time, we chat from time to time and I hope that he finds his own path in life.  He should know that I love him with all my heart and that, just like that stupid song he doesn't like, sometimes goodbye is a second chance. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In which my heart horse takes me for a ride!

Boyd Martin and Cold Harbor have been named to the USEF short list for the 2011 Pan Am games.  I am definitely thinking this is one of those be careful what you wish for deals.  I have know since Sunday, it's been killing me not to say anything, and now it's out there in public for all to see.  Whoa.  I adore this horse and he and his charming Aussie pilot have amassed quite a record this spring.  Whatever will be will be and in the interim it's gonna be a hell of a ride!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

In which I speak about polocrosse

My life for the last few weeks, well two to be exact, have been consumed by polocrosse.  It is an obscure equine sport - a child of a lessor god in some people's eye.  Created in Australia after observing a british riding school, the sport is played across the commonwealth, and came to the US in the mid-80s.  My association with this polo/lacrosse hybrid started in 1998, when a rather imposing District Commissioner of the local pony club informed me that as I had access to a fenced pasture, I was to host a polocrosse clinic.  Jeez - we already had eventing and foxhunting.  I was absolutely not interested in ANOTHER equine sport.  But, as not to cross the DC, who scared the hell out of me, I acquiesed.  As the day progressed it was clear that the little and not so little pony clubbers had gained another partipant in the clinic.  The husband of the madwoman was eagerly taking part, asking questions learning rules.  Within weeks the Carolina Polocrosse Club was formed, we were members of yet another equestrian organization, and plans were being made for tournaments and pony club rallies, travel to distant cow pastures on borrowed horses.  Over the years, we have gone from staying in hotels, stabling horses and cleaning leather tack to totally embracing the polocrosse way of life - camping out, turning horses out in electric pens and white biothane tack.  We have made friends all over the world, and the madwoman's husband has developed an uncontrollable urge to accost any and all owners of large flat fields for permission to play on them. 

Jump forward to two weeks ago.  My son, home after a year in another world, applied to and was selected for his fifth international team - pretty neat for a kid who isn't yet 21.  He's been to Australia and South Africa, and this time around is playing for the USPC in England as I type.  His teammates descended on us, well me, last week, - it's the happiest and most content I have seen him in a long time.  I hope polocrosse will be his salvation, as combined driving was mine.  He's talented, cocky and a natural.  He practices very little, and can still pick up a racquet and hang with the best of them.  Outclassed his old man quite some time ago. 

The team is apparently have one of those "growth" experiences, communication is limited and it appears from all reports they have been handed horses that are of far less quality, while the other teams in this competition are playing their own mounts, with no provisio for switch rides or rotation of horse pools as is commonly done in international test matches.  The games have been heartbreakingly close, with the US team coming up short each time.  I wish I could say my experience with USPC this time around has been a good one - but I find my self disappointed in the lack of support, thought and oversight that has been put into this trip.  I expect that this experience will be fodder in the long run for great tales, fetes of accomplishment that will grow larger the farther away from the week at hand we get.  It's been hard to sit by and not say or do anything, and to let my son be his own advocate.  If you know me, you'd be surprised at just how quiet I have been about the whole thing.  What I have seen is my son step up and become a leader, whether on a conference call or on the playing field.  No matter what the outcome of this week, I am very proud to claim him as the madwoman's son. 

I head to USPC Championships shortly, in what will most likely be my swan song with that organization.  I love organizing, fancy myself to be good at it,and I am looking foward to running polocrosse championships one last time.  Dilemma as well - I plan on speaking to the powers that be about issues, hate people that complain without offering to be part of the solution, and yet I don't want to be part of the solution.  I am sure a path will present itself to me, and in the meantime I think it is time for a nap.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In which we attempt another round of Geocaching and Survive the Great Ranger Radiator Escapade.

Last opportunity for geekness for awhile, perfect early morning after some monster storms last night, appropriate targets selected.  Heigh Ho Heigh Ho. . .

One of the really special things about geocaching is the opportunity to find interesting out of the way sites right in your own backyard.  This morning's grand adventures started out just that way.  We picked three caches within a close distance to one another, and started with the one entitled Poison Ivy.  After reading the description carefully and realizing we had no heavy gloves we opted to attempt Pothole in the Woods instead. 

General area located, GPS gpsing, off into the wilderness we trekked.  Soon found ourselves standing directly on top of where the cache claimed to be located.  After about 15 minutes of wandering around in circles, with much muttering, swearing and snorting involved, it was determined the area of focus should be broadened.  Came face to face with a large traffic cone, in the middle of the woods.  WTH?  Took several mintues for it to register this was our intended target.  More muttering from the retired military guy about military geocachers.  Log signed and on to cache number two.  Still no gloves, but we decided to give it a try anyway, what's poison ivy between good friends? 

What we found was a lovely rural cemetary, full of area history, life and dreams and in at least once instance, a mother's broken heart.  The poison ivy turned out to be artificial and we learned a bit out this particular cacher, who is new to our area.  His third hide site was nearby - three for three - hoo-rahh!

Now, children, it gets ugly.  We decided to try for three more, just south in the Gamelands area near a military training site.  Made a wrong turn on the gamelands, with failing GPS (oh how I HATE AT&T and my aging iPhone!) and a poor road map.  The geocaching vehicle du jour is a POS 2002 Ford Ranger.  Doesn't run particularly well, gets lousy gas mileage and is both very underpowered and very light in the back end.  (Note: please see above reference to monster storms prior to proceeding). 

At this point we have made several wrong turns but are confident because at least one of us claims to have a general idea of a. our location and b. our destination.  This portion of the adventure has required some large puddle/stream crossings and after one very deep water hole the POS 2002 Ford Ranger sputters to a stop.  Drowned.  After repeated attempts to restart, accompanied by much swearing and sputtering, we proceed up a fairly steep incline.  (NOTE: please see reference above to light in back end and underpowered.)  Halfway up the hill we find ourselves buried up to the rear axle in soft sand.  More swearing and sputtering ensues.  POS 2002 Ford Ranger is eventually extricated and backed down the hill.  Decision is made to attempt the next cache at all costs.  Cue dramatic music.  To Be Continued. 

In which I contemplate the other woman in the bedroom

Ha! Not what you were thinking was it!  Gabbie is the Empress of Immenseness and she lives solely and strictly in our bedroom and bathroom.  She defends her territory with the fierceness of a mother lioness defending her cubs, and admonishes us for transgressions real and imagined like Sister Euphenia at Our Lady of Perpetual Grace Academy.  No opposible thumbs, thankfully so at least no ruler. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

In which you meet the human love of my life and Sunday morning pursuits

He's the guy I have been living with for the past 35 (ack!) years.  My soulmate.  Companion in crime.  Sparring partner from time to time.  And that's one of the other women in his life, Pancha.  Miss P.  Belligerent Bitch.  Queen Latifah.  She has many names, come to think of it, so does he!

One of the very many things the love of my life does is indulge me in silly pursuits.  One of the silliest is geocaching.  Geocaching is a real world, outdoor treasure hunt.  Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices, and then share their experiences online.  Really.  That's a direct quote from the website.  It's the ulitmate in outdoor "geek-dom".  Gives us a great opportunity to yell at each other in the great outdoors, trek through the underbrush in search of pill bottles, pieces of PVC pipe, ammo boxes, tupperware containers, tiny little capsules with magnets, bird houses (some geocachers have WAY TOO MUCH time on their hands!) and along the way collect useless pieces of swag, travel bugs, real bugs, ticks, chigger bites, and experience close encounters with snakes, wasps and the local constabulary.  The love of my life won't let me collect the caches along main roads as apparently we resemble terrorists. 

Geocaching run this morning at 6:30 am yielded four finds in an hour.  After a year, I am finally getting the hang of the high speed made especially for geocaching GPS we bought last summer.  That didn't come with anything resembling useful directions.  The iPhone app is equally useful, although very annoying as cell phone service is spotty at best here.  What this goofy pastime does give us is a common goal, and a view to places in our area we had no idea existed.  Magellan Geocaching GPS $200, Lumber River State Park $10 in gas and 30 minutes, time with my guy - priceless. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

In which I introduce the equine love of my life

My heart horse.  Silly really, as I find him difficult to ride, but there is something about his goofy face that touches my soul.  I live to feed him peppermints and miss him when he is not in my barn.  He calls to me twice a day - it's cupboard love, I know that. 

He is Cold Harbor, aka "Bo".  Somewhere around the place I have a photo of him as a gawky four year old, named Hobo.  Hairy, gangly and just down from the Great White North, Bo is a Canadian Sport Horse, which seems to be horsespeak for "mutt".  He will turn 11 sometime in July, and I've been his owner for 6 years.  He was originally partnered with my son and they enjoyed a rare relationship together.  Bo ended up in a crazy, charming, confident Australian's eventing barn. What started as a temporary arrangement to get through the spring season has developed into a partnership of the first water - erste Sahne - as my german husband would say and now we eagerly await what the future will bring.  He has close relatives who reached greatness, only time will tell if he can follow their lead. 

Funding an upper level event horse is pricey, and I count my pennies at every turn.  Funny how the little decisions we make in life can have long lasting repercussions.  We opted to bring Bo back home for summer vacation after his last big event, to save a little money, and give me the opportunity to stuff peppermints at a truly unhealty rate into his snout.  The choice may well have been life saving as six of Bo's barnmates perished in a barn fire a week later.  I can't bring myself to ask if he would have been in that night, and I don't truly want to know.  May God bless those horses who perished, and grant their connections the peace and healing that time brings. 

Bo heads back to the crazy, charming, confident Australian in about a week's time.  I will miss his face in my barn, but look forward to watching him do circles in the sandbox, and run and jump the big fences and the funny colored poles.  And count the days until his face is in my barn once again.

In which I venture into Blog Land

So.  Here I am.  55 years old and venturing off into blog land.  Everyone else is doing it.  How hard can this be?  Cue silence.  You can hear a pin drop.

So.  Introduction.  55 years old.  Unemployed, well at least not working outside the home.  I do work, functioning as the personal concierge for numerous beasts, one or two with two legs and several more with four. 

So. Location.  Outside a small town in south central North Carolina.  Raeford is the Turkey Capital of the US.  Really.  There are more turkeys raised and processed here than anywhere else, or so they claim.  I do know there is a Turkey Festival that takes place every Spetember and that for the last 13 years, I have avoided making an appearance at the Fest. 

The main cast of characters in my life include my husband of almost 34 years, my almost 21 year old son, five horses, one pony, three house cats and a greyhound.  The equines are supposed to provide a diversion, the cats comfort and the greyhound love and affection.  Sometimes.