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August 31, 2016

Amateurs Like Us: Wildcards!

Horse shows are addicting, my friends and I joke. The fun, the adrenaline, the highs and lows, the time spent focusing on your horses and trying to ignore your workday world, all these things come together to make me drive home from each three-day event plotting my next horse trials adventure with the Queen of Cairo.

(And plotting how I’m going to pay for it).

August 26, 2016

Amateurs Like Us: Is This Worth It? (Or An Ode To My Long-Suffering Husband)

“Let’s just go home.”

I spoke those words in frustration to my husband after dressage at a horse trials this spring. It was pouring rain, and it had been since we arrived the night before. Between walking the course and riding my horse, I’d gotten wet down to my underwear through three layers. I had to turn the heat on full blast in our hotel room in order to dry my helmet and gloves so that I could soak them again the following day.

August 25, 2016

The Team Experience

I occasionally peruse the COTH discussion forums, and a few weeks ago, after the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships, someone started a thread debating the merits of the Young Rider programs.

August 24, 2016

Amateurs Like Us: One Last Time

“Let’s take a break tonight and then we’ll teach them how to say goodbye.”

How do you write a blog post to commemorate the end of a 10-year show career with a superfreak of a mare who changed your life? Every fairy tale has its happily ever after, and I wish I could start this off with completing that for everyone by saying that we won our last grand prix.

August 22, 2016

Seeing The Forest, Not The Trees

Just a few weeks ago I found myself standing at the in-gate in my brand-new, never-been-worn, impossibly white pants, trying not to get slobbered on by a pony.

As I evaded his prehensile lips, it washed over me again that minutes earlier I’d just ridden in my first mini-prix. (Woohoo!) I had hopped off Fiona and then hustled over to the short-stirrup ring to coach Boots (our cookie-crazed, mouthy pony) and his child.

August 22, 2016

From Laurie In Rio: Homeward Bound

Well, it's over. The last Australian horses, Valinski and Fedor, left on Sunday afternoon, after I had to say goodbye. Saturday and Sunday morning were spent washing stable laundry, collecting and turning in Aussie federation equipment and packing trunks.

But then, I was gone, away from the horse I have spent three intense weeks with. 

And it was intense. Not in a bad way at all, but in a constantly focused way. I hate making mistakes, and at this level, mistakes rarely happen. I made a few, was mortified, but corrected them quickly and learned and moved on.

August 21, 2016

It Was A Privilege To Watch Nick Skelton's Copacabana Path To Gold

Sometimes we get to observe history and just occasionally if we're really lucky we get to be part of it, even if be it a very small part.

August 18, 2016

Plan B

Well poop…

Those words pretty much sum up my personal competition ambitions at the moment. One moment, I had a fabulously fit horse coming back from a great first run at the Rolex Kentucky CCI****, and the next, not so much. 

I’ve been out of touch for a while, so I will start back at the beginning.

August 14, 2016

From Laurie In Rio: A Visit With The U.S. Team In The Barns

I visited with the U.S. show jumpers yesterday afternoon!


Cortes 'C', or "Tiny," shared a quiet moment with groom Clark Shipley.


Tiny checked out the trash can into which the grooms have to muck out, as Clark picks out his stall.

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