Before you get too weirded out, I'm fairly certain no one noticed. But it was still quite strange for me, not out of any habitual conscious "feels-suppression" efforts, it's just not something that usually occurs.
|Erica arranged epic prize table of TIP, Riding Warehorse, Horseware, Fleeceworks, Cowboy Magic, & many more great sponsors!!|
We'd just reached the last fence on the Heart of the Carolinas' Training 3DE division's coursewalk last Friday, led by wonderful friend & lead clinician (& incoming USEA President!), Carol Kozlowski.
|Carol demonstrates choosing lines for maximum avoidance of wet pants|
As I listened to her insights (well done to Course Designer, Tremaine Cooper, & Builders, Tyson Rementer & Rob Mobley!), adding & adjusting to my own mental "if I rode this" plan, out of nowhere, my vision blurred with welling tears. Fading to the back of the group to sniffle incognito, I asked myself what the why??
|T3DE Kathy Parker & OTTB Peace Dancer take off after XC #1|
My heart quietly answered: I want to ride this amazing course so bad it hurts. And I have a partner who could've done it.
|2015 3DE TIP winners Lisa Borgia & Laurelin soar in the HT|
I could have gotten lost in that moment. But another part of me knew that letting the weekend be a memory of sadness would be an even bigger loss. It was up to me to choose. I'm so glad that I took a deep breath, re-focused my eyes, & looked for better moments.
|Sally O'Connor (R) explains Roads & Tracks plans to riders with Carol's supervision ;)|
Because I found some. And I re-learned an increasingly important lesson:
The best kind of moments appear readily given opportunity, but it remains up to us to identify them. Our eyes are accustomed to recording images by collecting reflected light. It requires an additional step, a filter adjustment of sorts, for us to capture these fleeting gifts.
|Tori Nuckols, fab daughter of Gammon, our gallant Volunteer Coordinator, did her homework & won Best Conditioned Horse, flying the Special Edition Horseware cooler...that graced some Rolex rumps!|
A few of my found gifts -
- Seeing one of our BN3DE riders, Sandra McDonald, choose her horse TWICE (withdrawing in the 10-minute box just before the start of her XC course as her horse's temp wasn't dropping quickly enough, then after beginning SJ with permission, retiring after one jump because her mare was still tired) without hesitation, then lose her breath in shock as we awarded her with our Sportsmanship Award (my personal favourite prize, another Horseware cooler along with embroidered Riding Warehouse pad & Dover goodies!) for excellence in horsemanship
|Yes, myself & Erica totally fan-girl'ed Sally (I think she's saying 'Help, crazy Americans!' with her eyes...)|
- High-fiving Sally O'Connor & giggling at her gleeful grin upon the announcement of Michael Jung's Rolex Grand Slam win on Sunday (2nd rider ever...I got to watch Pippa win a leg of hers in KY 13 yrs ago!)
- Watching Dana Cooke charge out of the XC startbox Saturday on a massive, full-throttle bay appropriately named Stormtrooper. My jaw dropped at her unflinching courage & skill without a second's hesitation aboard that leaping machine, since the last time I saw her, I was helping EMT's bundle her up after a painful crash at Intermediate just last fall. Later on Saturday, she followed on her Prelim CT ride, the gorgeous FE Mississippi, who you saw in the water on our InstaFeedThing! My kudos & joy for such a wonderful recovery!!!
|Only slightly blurry Dana & Stormtrooper, 1 jump from a clear round in Stadium Jumping|
- Bumping into Becky Holder in the show office, where she not only remembered my nobody self (although Solo did hurl me through the air quite impressively for her), but gave me the kindest empathy hug & said she was so sorry to hear about Encore. I nearly choked, as she has far more important things to think about than my crazy life attempts! So much grace & compassion in a simple gesture -- this is why she is my heroine in so many things!