March 19, 2012

A House Divided

It is hard when great joy and soul-wrenching grief co-exist in your heart.  On one hand, a person I love deeply is gravely ill and it will be some time before a resolution is reached or even in view.  I am a fixer; I like to repair people, problems, jump standards...but here, there is nothing I can do.  I am helpless to fix what is so much bigger than either of us.  I can wish that I was a doctor, or perhaps even better, a wizard, so I could wave a wand, cast a spell, and dismiss the dark cloud overhead.  As it is, the only things I can do are love deeply every single day, treasure each shared word and rare moment, and give all the emotional and moral support I have in me plus a little bit more.  But that love and support never falters nor wavers, even though I cannot be as close as I would, given my choice.  One day at a time has become my mantra. 

At the same time, in the same emotional space, there is great joy for the unexpected gift that a young horse brings to the same battered heart.  He cannot take the pain away, but what he does offer me is a bright spot in each day, a kind face that always makes me smile, that I can lose myself in for a period of time in the evenings, a balm for the open wounds and a therapy for a mind in turmoil.

Each one abates the other, in small pieces.

Yes, in a roundabout way, you are getting your event report.

It was a gift of a weekend when I towed that bright-eyed young thing into the organized chaos of the Carolina Horse Park on a Trial weekend.  Warm, blue, with perfect sandhills footing, the stage was set and we were even lucky enough to have the Amazing Mum with us to capture pictures and help with the endless tasks of shifting things about that events inevitably involve.  Some say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I'll let them tell the story instead.

Please feel free to admire and comment on my cuteness at any time, thank you.
Quiiiit, I'm not a stinking barbie!

I is workin' on my mohawk.  Check it.
Correct leads!  Both ways!  No starting gate leap!
All 10's, right??!  Look how cute I was!!
He was actually quite obedient.  If he didn't have a rider handicap of an oaf hanging on the right rein who would instead just let him flow through the bridle, he would have done very well indeed.  There were some lovely trot moments across the diagonal and his rider is slowwwwly learning to sit up straight.  All in all, a quite respectable 38.6, not bad for his first recognized show where I ran out of time in warm up and didn't even get to canter.

Encore, of course, thought he was done after what he felt was a brilliant performance.  To say he was surprised when the jumping saddle went on is an understatement.   So his ears were swiveling twelve ways at once when we got to warm up, leaving me concerned that he would be a bit wild over the jumps.

Arrrrrrggh!  I am ready to jump sweet jumps!!!
Er...your jumps do not impress me.

Ok, fine, I suppose I'll put some effort into it.
Then it was time to breach the ingate and start the show.  The first 2/3 of the course were like a dream.  I kept the rhythm, I re-balanced him, I softened my hand and closed my leg in front of the jump, letting him find each jump and arc over it perfectly.

It didn't last.  You see, they had opened the course for walking while I was doing my dressage test.  I hopped straight off when I finished and went into walk my stadium course.  I knew the course in my head and I had walked up to jump 7 when they kicked me out of the ring to put it back in play.  It became our epic fail.

I watched the riders before me, but apparently not closely enough.  Jumps 6 and 7 were a line down the far wall, then you made a sweeping rollback to 8.  I missed the turn.  My eyes frantically searched for the numbers and found it, but we had already passed our line.  I sat back and did a desperate, frantic detour and Encore gamely dug in and we found our way back to the jump.  Flustered, I lost my focus, and we pulled rails at both 9 and 10 and our detour cost us 8 time penalites as well.  But the fault was entirely mine and I still patted Encore for a job well and bravely done.

But can you ask for better engagement than that?  As I apparently attempt to climb to his ears?
It was time to pack up and go.  We had a sleepover date for the night at a friend's farm.  Who also owns the cutest pony you have ever seen.  But you'll have to wait for the next post to see the evidence.


  1. Oh he IS so cute! I love the mohawk.

  2. He is looking wonderful!

    How joy and pain can coexist side by side is certainly one of life's great mysteries. I hope you won't be offended if I say I'll be praying for healing for you loved one.

  3. Ooooff, I feel for ya, girl. If it's what I think it is (something from a year or two ago on ES--??), I know you're dealing with a huge weight. *Hugs* to you!
    SO glad that you have Encore to lift you up and give you respite from your sorrow. He's looking AWESOME! And I can see some big imporvements in your position as well, so David O is definitely doing a good job! You've got a few photos there of which Mr. GM Himself would highly approve (except for that distracting blue pad that detracts from Encore's brilliance, and the requisite other random non-perfection that his microscopic eye could find, of course!)

  4. You are, as always, an inspiration. Thanks for sharing both the happiness and the sadness in your life...

  5. *HUG* Happy and sad for you at the same time. Soo glad you have such wonderful horses can't forget the original Big Red Shiny! I feel for your sorrow. It's a feeling that you can't explain to other who haven't been through it of having to stand by and do nothing when all you want to do is everything. *HUG*

  6. Hee hee, Liz, I am slowly sneaking it shorter and shorter so my barn mates miss their opportunity to scream in horror at a sudden buzz cut.

    Thanks, Amanda, and I am not offended at all! Although I don't really subscribe to any particular deity, I believe everyone has their own right to choose and it certainly can't hurt anything!

    Frizz, thanks -- and yes, I commit the GM sin of USING COLOURS and NOT BRAIDING, which obviously means I hate both my horse and the judge. Especially since I didn't put polish on his feet...right before riding in dirt.

    SS, thank you!

    EAM, I am always wishing to look through Solo's galloping ears again, but he still gets rides at home and is still the BEST (and feistiest) trail horse ever!

  7. I am sorry for your friends pain and yours. I do not know or understand what you are going through but I can hear the pain and I am so very sorry.

    As for Encore the great physician I am so proud of that boy. You can get down on the oaf on his back but in reality that oaf brought him every step of the way to teach him to handle it all in stride. So great job to the both of you and keep up the good work as I know you will!

  8. So happy you have the red guys to come home to and spend time with. At the very least, they make life suck a little less.

  9. Sorry to hear you have so much grief in your life right now. I'm glad you have the horses to balance it out for you. These photos are gorgeous.

  10. Thanks, Dom -- and we have Amazing Mum to thank for the photos, she has a beautiful piece of glass on the front of her camera that I drool over (but not on because that would mess up the pictures).