Visiting WEF

The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center

The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center

WEF is the acronym well known in certain circles for the Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida. It’s the place to be for the top competitors in the horse show world during the winter. A place where one can see people like the Canadian gentleman who holds the world record (Yes, the WORLD record!!) of the most times to compete in the Olympic Games. (That’s Ian Millar, with ten Olympic competitions, and I interviewed him last year!!)

Also there were the top US riders like Beezie Madden, Laura Kraut, and Kent Farrington, just to name a few.  Anyway, seeing all of them in one place just about blew me away and I had to work hard to keep my cool to look and act professionally. I walked into the spectator entrance of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center feeling like I didn’t belong in such a place and that security officers would soon appear and take me by the elbows to escort me out!

But after a mental pep talk and picking up my badge at the Media Center, I started to feel better. I got busy making my contacts with the riders I wanted to meet. The article from the interview I did with Laura Kraut had just come out and meeting up with her and her sister Katherine was such fun. And a real confidence boost! Meeting Beezie Madden was also a high point — I’m working on that article now.

Jessica Newman, philanthropist and founder of JustWorld International charity was kind enough to invite me to her nearby farm to visit, which was so exciting. She is a very admirable lady!

But the meeting that affected me most was with my daughter Marissa. Although she is only eighteen, she has been a working student at a farm in North Carolina since May, and I have seen her just a few times since she left. No longer just a working student, Marissa had been promoted before they traveled to Florida, and she now has more responsibilities. I watched her schooling and showing client’s horses in the jumper classes, and helping to run the show barn of 14 horses, and I’m impressed! When I listened to her boss telling me about how much he relied on her and how he wants to help her advance in the horse show world, I was more proud and excited for her than I would be if I were doing it myself!

But all too soon it was time to leave and I found myself crammed into the back of coach in the airplane on my way home. It all caught up with me in the form of flu soon after arriving home. But this trip was certainly worth it, professionally and personally.

Meeting all the people I met was invaluable, and it was such fun to live a little vicariously through my daughter as I watched her ride at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. I’m still smiling just thinking about it.

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Horse Show Mom

We know each other, even if not by name, we’re in the same club.

We’re the ones in the stands who are taking photos or videotaping a horse and rider while they are jumping a course. To others we are just in their way when we stand up suddenly with that camera when our child and their horse enter the ring. Not everyone knows that we have to view the ride through our camera or ipad because we need it to filter what we see.

It has gotten a little easier for me to handle over the years, but the truth is that videotaping helps us parents to keep our blood pressure from rising twenty degrees and our nerves from slowly shredding. It’s just too hard to continually watch our child on a horse out there in the area, jumping that high and trying so hard to clear all the jumps while going faster than anyone else! But of course, we say things like: ‘I need to record this for him/her to watch it later for training purposes, etc., etc.’ And that’s partly true, but the camera also works as a filter to make it easier on the heart.

I wasn’t prepared for this. I came into this parenthood thing relatively late. I reasoned that I was a capable individual. After all, my full time job was assisting a medical doctor with writing his research findings. I competed in at least two horse trials and I wrote a few articles from interviews each year. So I could handle having a baby, couldn’t I? It was a few years past my thirtieth birthday and in a fit of optimism, we decided to go for it. But I wasn’t prepared for being totally bowled over with how much I could love this little person. Then, when I knew I would mentally fold up like a cheap lawn chair if anything ever happened to her, I (again in a fit of optimism!) had another child. But being a parent never got any easier, and being the parent of teenagers has its own challenges. I have to keep quiet instead of saying something that I think will be helpful lest I get the eye roll from the kid, and I know she has to do things herself for various reasons. After all, a parent’s job is to put ourselves out of a job, isn’t it? So try to understand as we block your view when we stand up in front of you to video our child the second they ride into the ring.

We parents often sit together in the stands, nodding in agreement that it’s important to have those videos for our kids to look at later for training purposes. But we know we’re just trying to take the strain off our hearts. Whether we admit it or not, we’re all members of that club.

Interviewing Ian Millar

 

I had the opportunity to interview Canada’s legendary Grand Prix jumper rider, Ian Millar. He was a joy to visit with and a real gentleman.
Grand Prix jumping is where riders jump their horses over high jumps like they do in the Olympics. Ian holds the world record for participating in more Olympic competitions than anyone else in any discipline in the world! At age 67, he is an inspiration for mature people, whether professional athletes or those of us who just ride or exercise for our health. What do you do for exercise and fun?

Here is the link to the article in Sidelines magazine:

http://sidelinesnews.com/sidelines-feature/captain-canada-journeys-on.html

 

Opening Hunt

Opening Hunt

Me on Ivan at Opening Hunt

Photos by artbyjewel.com

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Ivan and I leading the field back at the end of closing hunt. Notice the braided mane!

Getting Organized…..

I’m so blessed to have so many things going on. I have regular assignments with Sidelines magazine until the March issue so I have exciting things to be writing about! But, this contributes to my natural tendency to have rather scattered thought patterns.  I’ve sent a draft to the subject of my latest interview to fact check. It’s really exciting since this is someone on my bucket list! I’ll post the link when it comes out in the magazine.

But it’s raining now and supposed to keep raining all day. It’s giving me the blahs. Usually I write on the back deck, sitting on a pillow in the deck chair to get up to the proper height but I don’t think the humidity would be good for my laptop. 🙂 Which begs the question, what will I do this winter?? I’ll just have to intersperse today with running errands to keep the mind working. (The weed eater is finally done at the small engine shop. Just in time to be put away in the garage until the spring. Dragging around the old electric one made for a fun last half of the summer…..)

This weekend is the horse show and hunter derby at Farewell Farm, the barn where my daughter rides. I plan to take Ivan, the American Warmblood gelding I lease to fox hunt or I should say fox chase. In the US and my hunt club, we only chase the coyote until they outrun us, or go to ground in their dens. Ivan is a little hard to keep moving forward, but it’ll be fun to participate. I have no ideas of winning anything in the derby but he is a great horse to ride in the hunt field.

Enjoy the day, everybody – regardless of the weather.