Who waits until they're in their 30s to learn how to properly drive a manual vehicle? And then does it on the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the road in a foreign country in their friend's slightly "older" model vehicle (sorry Rebecca)?
I’ve owned my one-and-only, once-in-a-life-time horse, Happy Go Lucky, for almost 10 years now, but I remember the moment we bought him like it was yesterday.
My dad and I had driven to Mason City, Iowa, about two hours from our home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, because my trainer, Leah Horrigan, wanted us to try a horse. I was 12 years old at the time, and we had been looking for a suitable partner for me for months. We needed a horse that could carry me in my first hunter classes out of the ponies, but also a horse who wouldn’t break the bank.
I'm not a superstitious person by nature, but there are a few things I take with me to every show, and a few little routines I have that have become a habit. (Don't worry—no lucky socks in dire need of washing.)
Last year when I became aware of the "America's Most Wanted Thoroughbred" contest, I called Steuart Pittman of Dodon Farm Training Center (organizer of the event) and spoke to him about Heritage Farm training a horse in 2015.
I searched for a prospect, but I could not find one that was suitable—sound enough, the right sized, the right type. I was even able to get a few horses on trial, but still no match.
As I predicted, having a couple days off after the long 12-hour or so drive back from our competition at Rebecca Farm in Montana was not Cairo’s idea of “fun.” There was much romping and bucking in the pasture and some special behaviors in the arena the first day I got back in the saddle.
Cairo’s game of “Let’s see if I can grab this bit and control this ride” reminded me that I had resolved to try a stronger bit before we move up to training level at the Aspen Farms Horse Trials (Wash.) in early September.
Back when this baby-to-be was a bit smaller, I found myself in the doctor’s office discussing options for early screening and diagnostic tests. As a “woman of advanced maternal age,” (I’m 35), there are some increased risks. So my regular ob/gyn packed me off to a specialist to have a routine but slightly scary conversation about what I did and did not want to find out about my baby.
I judged a few schooling shows at the Quantico Marine Base stables when I first arrived in Virginia. While there I chatted with a few of the faithful Marine husbands, at the show to support their wives. I forget how we got on the subject, but one told me that there’s a saying that goes around Marine basic training: “Embrace the suck.” It’s boot camp, preparing you for life as an elite warrior—it’s going to suck. And the sooner you accept that it’s going to suck, the easier things get.