Amy and Leyland riding at Cathy Wieschhoff’s farm
As we all know, humor is based largely on timing; a joke said at one moment gets you laughter, the same joke said at a different moment probably gets you smacked. Of course there is also the delivery of said joke, plenty of reasons why some comedians are funny and others are not. So when I came up with the title of this particular moment in time blog I was referring to an earlier writing and some experiences I had been through in recent weeks. The title, funny enough, seemed hilarious to me. Given the events of the past week, well the title almost seems a bit petulant, you know the temper tantrum thrown by the 5 year old that doesn’t get is way, so goes out of his way to make your life publically miserable. Basically what I am saying it was funny to me to write “A generic blog title…”, but given a more public change of events in recent days at the WEG, well I didn’t want anyone to think I was writing about that stuff,… at least not yet. Enough said about the title.
So I am sitting on the red eye to Cincinnati. Finally get a chance to go see Amy. It has been a month since I last saw her at the Richland Park Horse Trials in Michigan. She has been living in her horse trailer in the swamps of Georgia. She routinely regaled me with photos of the thermometer showing over 100 degrees in the trailer. Couple that with the snakes and the chiggers, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why it has taken me so long to go see her… I hear Carl Bouckaert’s place is amazing, but it is still a Georgia Swamp in the summer, all the while living in an aluminum tube (horse trailer).
The nose of Leyland in Georgia
Lauren, her groom, headed down a week or two ago. By all accounts they are getting a little tired of counting and naming the flies as they take care of the horses. Only so much sitting trot one can do apparently… like I know, jeez. The benefit of having been through this before is that I know the routine, even if I am 3000 miles away. Amy is sitting in the alternate spot with Allison Springer. It is that tough place where you very much want to be on the Team, and you very much want to be a good cheerleader. Trust me there is no good way to carry out both wants without causing grief. Either you are not pushing hard enough (i.e. showing enough moxy to make the Team) or you are being a complainer.
I am heading down to Lexington in order to be a good husband. It just may be the three of us staring at each other while we wait for the WEGs to arrive, to see if Amy stays as an alternate or she gets to fill in at the last moment. Again, a bit like a firefighter, you don’t really want anything bad to happen to someone, but you really do want a chance to practice your craft that you have been honing for years on end.
This past week has been a bit challenging as they say. Most of it I will leave for a book someday. As for the rest, well let me give you an example of how I tried to put it behind me: my dearest friends in the world all went rafting and camping this weekend. Did you know that I used to be a whitewater raft guide? It was a weekend getaway from the realities of life (which usually just means getting away from the rain in the Seattle area actually). Wanted to go, but life intervened, and I also very much wanted to head to Lexington to go see Amy. So I hopped in my car (well actually Amy’s since it gets better gas mileage than mine) and drove three hours to go see them while they were having fun on the river. A couple of hugs, some laughs, beautiful weather and two hours later I was driving the three hours back home so I could pack my bags for Kentucky.
It is amazing how good talking to friends can make your psyche feel. If it has been a while, go see or call that person or persons who really do mean the world to you. Not trying to make this a self-help blog, but I have come to learn that it is really easy to screw things up because you get too busy with life some days. Yes Victor, this even means you too (Vic is one of my big brothers, took a baseball bat to him when I was three apparently, he was 16. Our Mother hid me for a while.) What really drove all this (no pun intended) was watching the movie “The Big Chill” last night. It reminded me not to put off till tomorrow what you ought to be doing today, as it relates to human interactions. Heck it got me to drive three hours through Eastern Washington to check in with some people I love. I know most of you may not have ever seen Eastern Washington, let’s just say pulling teeth could be more entertaining.
Okay, again not really my intent to write a self-help or travel blog (well actually it is a travel blog now isn’t it?), so let’s get back to the humor of all this……… yeah, I am still waiting for the humor too.
I do not intend to anthropomorphize (yes Sam it really is a word) my terriers, but you saw the picture of our Terrier, Razzle, sitting under the kitchen table pouting. I had to give them a bunch of dog bones in order to get out the door tonight. I miss them already. I feel like I am failing as a Dad by leaving them.
So with the red eye flight completed, and now in the process of picking up the rental car, I have to chuckle. This is a snippet of the conversation: “Sir we took the liberty of upgrading your car”; “Upgrading from what”, I respond, “a clown car?” This thing is hilarious. Imagine a smaller version of the PT Cruiser and you would have a close approximation of this thing. The best part of this is Dr. Mark Hart got the same “upgrade,” only in candy apple red… And here I was worried about not having anything to write about this week while my wife hangs out in purgatory, I mean limbo, waiting to see if the selected horses all stay sound.
The other thing I have to be careful of is my social commentary. It is one thing to make social comments of a foreign country and their behaviors and entirely another when you are in your own country, especially difficult when you are south of the Mason-Dixon too! Lauren is from Louisville Kentucky and I usually enjoy giving her grief about it. The best part is that I never actually bring anything up, it just sort of happens, e.g. there is this person who wears a “Kentucky” t-shirt at the gym we all work out at. God bless this person, but they usually provide all the necessary statehood banter one needs to keep a good laugh going.
I am hanging out this morning while the girls are riding the horses at Cathy Wieschhoff’s farm just down the road a spell from the Kentucky Horse Park. The horses are hanging out with Phillip and Boyd’s alternate horses here at Cathy’s. Lauren has been taking care of the group while their grooms focus on the needs of their WEG horses. Thank you Lauren for taking one for the Team. There is this remarkably fluffy Labra-Doodle named “Powder” (see the picture). Supposedly there is a “Puff” somewhere in the name as well. A very calm regal looking animal as he wanders the property.
Several days have gone by… drama, drama, drama. I will need to be circumspect, because in reality we are talking about humans. When Lance Armstrong entitled his book: “It’s not about the bike” he was trying to say that all the things that happen to us, really happen between the lines, i.e. it is the adventures that happen to us on the way to the adventure we had planned that really make up life. For me, these get togethers, are all about the opportunities to meet with people. Now I realize for the horse crazy person talking to another human being is the part one must endure to get to their true passion of horses; however, it is a different world for me, one in which I get to play social butterfly or as I wrote before “play Switzerland.” Funny enough the Swiss are staying at the same hotel as the Americans.
Okay, let me tell you the life of an American Eventing Team Alternate on Tuesday. She and her Groom walked their way onto the WEG bus from the Hotel to the Venue, they needed wrist bands to do this, didn’t have any. They used all their money to buy scalped park passes. They are the things that get you into the Kentucky Horse Park, but not into any of the events like dressage or jumping, etc. Received one ticket to the afternoon dressage session from a friend. Managed to get two people in with the one ticket (I choose to never ask how on these things, it saves my sanity). Watched the amazing Totilas ride a top score in the Team Dressage Event. Borrowed money from friends to buy some food. Spent 45 minutes trying to convince the bus company to take them back to the hotel since they didn’t have any wrist bands and the buses brought them here in the first place…
I know this was but a superficial look at the day’s events when Amy told me this, because I could see a lot more written all over her face. Some days you ask and interject as the husband, some days you just sit and listen as the husband.
Ultimately one needs to turn the other cheek and move on with this stuff. Fix what you can fix, get past the stuff you can’t and develop the wisdom to know the difference. (I know I butchered the saying, but I got close to it at least.) I do want to say a thank you to Allyn Mann of Adequan (you know the stuff that keeps your horse’s joints happy and working well), he provided Amy and her Groom tickets in order for them to be able to watch the Eventing portion of the WEG (dressage, cross-country and jumping).
It is Wednesday morning; the US Dressage Team took 4th in the Team competition, even with Steffan’s amazing score, and a personal best I understand. Having watched the US Eventing Team get 4th by .8 (yes POINT EIGHT) in 2006 I have some concept of the frustration. The Eventers jogged their horses up for the Ground Jury at 9am this morning, the Games have started. The US Team was the 17th to jog. The Team is presenting 5 horses, four Team horses and one individual. Kim’s horse was removed for veterinary reasons this morning before the jog, so the US has one less than the six horses they are allowed to compete, actually starting. I wish I had the magic words to make things better for people. Kim has been working so hard with Paddy, and the last week has been challenging to say the least. Before anyone asks, the alternates are sound and happy.
The rest of the gang is flying in tonight to come see the WEG: Mark, Sam, Therese, Ashley, and who knows who else. I am struggling with the battle of needing to be in two places at once. I want to be here as the good husband and friend, but a good friend of mine is getting promoted to Lieutenant in the Fire Department on Friday (traditions in the fire department are important, sometimes far too important.) I feel bad for missing that promotion, yet I don’t want people to think I am running out of here because “Amy didn’t make the Team.” Of course there is that whole issue of airline change fees, so I may be staying after all! J Although, I just heard from the Hotel they are expecting us to check out of our room today, jeez, kick a guy when he is down.
I pretty much better stop writing now… I hope you all get a chance to follow along with the WEG presentations either via internet or TV. It really is a spectacle. Go Team USA.
Amy got a visitor the other day to lighten her spirits. It was “Fuzzy”, She is one of Razzle’s puppies who was adopted by Lauren’s mother here in Kentucky. Amy has been feeling a lot blue without her dogs, so this brief visit was most helpful and the timing couldn’t have been better. (Picture: Fuzzy looking cute in her pink harness.)
I hope my big brother Kevin is feeling better and I wish him well.
To the Nicholson family and their friends who drove down from Michigan with no expectations of their horse competing this weekend in the World Equestrian Games, who did it because they wanted to see what the sport was about, thank you. I am not sure we can ever say how much we appreciate you; I hope you are not too disappointed, because Leyland is a rising star.
It is now very early in the morning on October 1st, and we are still at the Hotel, no one got kicked out, yet. The first day of dressage is over. The US has three riders still to go on Friday. The Germans are in the first three spots on the leader board, and I am going to bed…