Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Laughing Stock

    “Ping’s been charging the gate…” stated the barn manager flatly as I entered the barn one evening, getting ready to perform my usual evening ritual of the cleaning of the stall.  “… Have you ever seen him do this before”? She quizzes.
    “Ah”, says I, “you are just bearing the brunt of one of Ping’s jokes…”
    Pool Boy can be a real hoot, or a stinker depending on the situation, but even most of the stinker incidents are funny once time heals the wounds, both literally and figuratively speaking, giving you a bit better perspective on a peculiar incident and, of course, the bruise finally fades.    His sense of humor took me a while to figure out.  Is this just bad behavior or his way of frustrating me? I would wonder. But as it turns out Ping just enjoys jerking human chain whenever he can.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Three Good Legs

    My resident Stable Boy calls my horse Ping and I Barn Warriors.  When I first heard myself so described, I thought he was saying Barn Worrier (something not too far off the mark come to think of it).  But, he really meant warrior. Stable Boy says Ping and I are entitled to this honorary title because both my trusty steed and myself are just a couple of walking wounded, both lame on the same leg - plus one.
     Ping (a.k.a. Pool Boy), my little New Zealand Thoroughbred, has been a rather gimpy throughout our brief association. Together, we have battled several trim-happy farriers, abscesses, a colic, upward fixations of the patella, sore stifles, touchy bruised soles, a half gainer over a pasture fence, and more recently, the absence of rather large portions of the hoof wall of his left hind foot!  I estimate that in the 15 months since I received this gift, he has been sound for approximately six months give or take a month or two (mostly give - at least when it comes to money changing hands).

The Hay Man Cometh

    It’s 9:30 in the evening and it’s really hot.  In July and August in my part of the world it’s always hot - hot, and humid, sticky and sultry, with very little breeze to provide relief from the oppressive mid-summer steam bath otherwise known as summertime in the Midwest. About the only time we get any relief from the stifling summer heat and humidity is when the occasional severe thunderstorm rolls through, bringing with it torrential rain, tornadic (my spell checker doe not like this word, but I believe it meteorologically correct because I’ve heard it used during severe weather bulletins as my family and I huddle in our basement in the middle of the night, following the advice of the man on the television by taking shelter in the nearest low-lying area of our home) gusts of wind strong enough to blow the iron patio furniture into the pool, and if we are really lucky, and the insurance company is not -- hail of varying sizes from grains of rice to baseballs.
    But, on this languid summer evening, no air is moving.  The stars are out and the misty night is blue and beautiful I’ve been at home for about ten minutes and am finally slipping into the pool – a moment I’ve been dreaming of all day. You see, I’ve been in the barn all day and am just now getting home. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have been at the barn so late in the day, but I had to wait for the hay man. I swept the sweltering, dusty barn loft in order to make ready for a hay delivery ordered last week, and promised by my friendly, always smiling hay-making professional, to be delivered at 4:00 this afternoon.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Rites of Spring

    As spring approaches, ever so slowly, my thoughts turn toward the blue-green fields of Kentucky and the Rolex Kentucky 3-Day event.  Actually, my thoughts turn toward Kentucky before Christmas when I realize I have a big deadline looming ahead - my annual Rolex Preview article for the USEA.  It begins as a nagging kernel of thought in the midst of the push towards Thanksgiving, rearing it’s head when I get word from my editor that she would like me to work on another Rolex Preview. 
    Please don’t get me wrong; I think it’s a privilege to work on the preview.  I adore the RK3DE, as it’s affectionately known far and wide by those who work tirelessly on this premier world-class event or surf the net, looking for the Equestrian Events website.  I adore the people who run it, design the course, and build the course. It has been my privilege to spend 3 or 4 hours every January with these hardworking and talented friends as we tour, laugh and generally have a great time discussing what will be coming and what will be deleted before the next event.  I wouldn’t miss this snowy, bone chillingly cold rendezvous for all the Bourbon in Kentucky. They might be sick of talking to me about this year after year, but I will be forever grateful that they are too gracious to admit it.

The Weather Report

  Over the past year, I have lived and died by the weather report.  I have faithfully watched the weather during news broadcasts at 5:30 am 6:00 pm day after day in order to have the most accurate information possible in which to make my most important decision of the day.  One might think that as I often work out of doors, I need to know whether to wear a jacket when heading out to a farm call.  One might also think that this decision is something that runs along the lines of should my daughter wear her raincoat when heading to the bus stop. Granted, while these are very important decisions that should never be made frivolously, the decision to which I am referring is of a much more grave nature, one that haunts me day and night (my husband can attest to the fact that I literally wake up in the middle of the night pondering this question) - should I turn my horse out or keep him in the barn? 

The Pool Boy

    I have a Pool Boy.  I am one of those lucky suburban housewives, like those you may have read about in the pulp romances my neighbor writes, or have seen on Sunday night television, who happens to have an in ground swimming pool that regularly requires maintenance services administered by a competent professional. I meet my Pool Boy regularly, sometimes clandestinely - sometimes openly, on an almost daily basis, rain or shine, winter and summer.  I just can’t seem to wean myself from the thrill.  I have become so obsessed with the fellow that our meetings are planned at all hours of the day and night.  I have  sneaked
literally from my home at two in the morning to fulfill my desire to see him.
    I realize that to the uninitiated observer this all may seem a little, well - twisted. What about my husband?  Don’t I have a family? YES, all these things are true! This deviant behavior, with a fourteen year old no less, may seem abhorrent to you - try not to judge me too harshly – after all I’m just a woman in love and I just can’t seem to help myself!

Ping and I

I decided to create this blog for those folks who weren't subscribers to any of the publications that print my horsey musings and oddball humor.  I really appreciate all of my friends (old and new) and family who are truly interested in my work and definitely appreciate those  of you who are just too kind to say you really could care less.  In order to accommodate all without having to repeatedly email pdf's or print out copies of articles, I have decided to just throw them up on this blog and you can check back from time to time to see if there is anything new. 

The illustrations used here by permission, are by a wonderful artist named Dennis Porter from Dayton, Ohio.  He has an amazing knack for drawing humor.  I give him a few rough ideas of my vision of the illustration and he interprets my vague idea into an amazingly appropriate drawing, generally in just a few minutes.  He never ceases to amaze and delight both myself, my publishers and editors, and from what I hear on the grapevine, my readers (all two of you, and you know who you are)!   He and his other less horsey work may be found at  Pay him a visit and enjoy!

For those of you who want to see some of my equine photographic endeavors, visit for lots of equine  and eventing photography.

All of these little stories have been previously published in
Eventing USAmagazine, the official publication of the United States Eventing Association.  Pay them a visit if you'd like to learn more about the sport of Combined Training and Eventing. 

Ping and I hope you enjoy the ride!