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We Are Flying Solo

June 1, 2011

A Sport With Soul

One of the things that struck me the most after all the mishaps we suffered at Virginia last weekend was not the impact of injury nor was it the frustration of messing up.  What shone above everything was the way my fellow eventers rallied around me with words of support, advice, kindness and laughter.  None of them know me that well, perhaps a few casual encounters at events and an email on a listserv or two, but they knew exactly when to step in and offer a hand or a hug or a word when my hands were shaking or my shoulders dropped.

This community is a big part of what makes eventing the incredible world that it is. The capacity for empathy, compassion, and the spirit of helping out put the heart in our sport and turn it from just another horse show to a true endeavor of passion and fellowship.

This force is in full motion this week following the heartrending barn fire at True Prospect Farm that struck Tuesday morning in Boyd Martin's stabling. John and the gang are keeping us all updated over on Eventing Nation. We always know that horses can break our hearts, but there is nothing more chokingly terrifying than the thought of losing a horse in its prime to an accident. Not only did several people lose their beloved partners, but they also lost everything they had to the flames, even as they suffered injuries of their own rescuing the animals they could reach.

It's a nightmare beyond imagining for any of us and I have no words that can express my sorrow to all parties involved. What I can say though, is that, in less time than it took to post the news, the eventing community rose up to help out.

Of course, this is a high profile incident; Boyd is at the top of our sport and is recognized virtually everywhere he goes. But what I have seen evidenced and talked about above is this: it doesn't matter if you are Boyd Martin or if you are Nobody Zero Me. The support of our fellows is offered with ever-surprising generosity to both and it never ceases to touch even this tired, cynical heart.

If you would like to help out the gang at True Prospect, EN John has posted information here. From experience, I can tell you that even just a note of compassion can go a long way. Because I like to think that, if the tables were turned, help would be there for each of us too. Ok, maybe no one would donate book sales to me or you (although I guess you never know), but you can bet eventers you never even met would lend a hand if asked and offer support when it is needed most.  That is what gives this sport its soul and what keeps me coming back even when the going gets tough.

Till next time, stay safe, and take care of each other. 


  1. Great post, this is one of the reasons that I love the horse community, they always pull together to help each other :)

  2. heart goes out to all those people. I can't imagine how that feels...

  3. Yup, even dirt-poor non-eventer me managed to scrape together $20 to donate. If enough people even donated $5 or $3, we could make a huge impact and at least lessen the financial burden for Team Boyd. Those horses are their heart & soul AND their income.

  4. Especially the working students -- they give up everything to do what they do.