Oct308.jpgOur neighbors, Marilyn and Rob Carey, encouraged us to enter the Rip Gauthier Amateur Memorial Hunter Classic held at Someday Farm September 27. Since the event’s inception in 2003 the Classic has donated in excess of $56,000  in support of cancer care to Headwaters Health Care Centre in Orangeville. Marilyn told us that Rip always wanted to host a fun day and after his death his friends created his dream event.

In the inaugural year the schedule read: Riders 30 and under in the morning, lunch, riders 30 and over in the afternoon. Well… the lunch included cocktails. This did help some of the nervous adult riders get around the course. It did not help some of the others. Seems they had a bit of a challenge remembering the correct sequence for the jumps.

The next year, and every year after that, the adults have ridden BEFORE lunch. This plan works well.

Our entry was Kye. Bill’s last jump with a horse was about nine years ago. He decided he would enter the Over Thirty class and Sophie volunteered for the afternoon shift (she’s the only one we know who’s under thirty… as we age we’re finding that our friends aren’t as young as they used to be…go figure).

Saturday morning, the 27th, at 7:30am Kye was loaded onto Mike Charter’s trailer and the entourage headed towards Cheltenham. I stayed at home to do the chores, hoping to get there for the lunch and the afternoon rides. I sent Bill with an entry for the “Tailgate Picnic”. The Someday Farm website shows past entrants. Several of the competitors take the picnic VERY seriously. One photo showed a chandelier, candles, crystal and china. Another had a sunflower theme. I decided, “When I hear the word ‘picnic’ I think of Teddy Bears.” Kye’s group agreed with me and I assembled the following and placed it in Bill’s car: cloth runner, cloth placemats, cloth napkins, plates, forks, spoons, four Teddy Bears, two Teddy Bear chairs, a large candle and a few goodies for the bears.

Noon time rolled around and I was ready to find Someday Farm. I followed Marilyn’s instructions to the letter. Only problem was: she said, “Turn left on Old Church Road off of Mississauga Road.” There’s no such thing. I travelled north. Everyone assured me that the farm was a forty minute drive. After sixty-five minutes I turned on the first major road running to my left, found a gas station and got re-oriented.

I arrived in time to miss lunch and to observe that MY carefully plan tailgate was no where in sight! Before I could find Bill and hear his reason for ignoring my picnic Marilyn greeted me, “Bill gets ‘most improved’ from the first round to the second.” I was wondering if that was a euphemism for “he fell off the first round, but stayed in the saddle for the second one.” Before I could ask for clarification Mike Charters saw me and said, “You would have been very proud of Bill.” Rob Carey backed him up. “Yes, you would have been proud!”

I found Bill and extracted some details.

1. he did not fall off

2. the horse refused one jump

3. the horse jumped it on the second attempt

4. it was raining heavily during lunch and the picnic never got onto the tailgate (I find this excuse very strange. In all the driving in the greater Someday Farm area I never got rained on…)

Marilyn made a valiant attempt to take me off the Teddy Bear topic. She said, “You should have seen Bill’s ride. He never got flustered. He didn’t forget his course. He got Kye over that jump and continued on like a trouper.”

Three more people came up to me and said, “You should have seen Bill’s ride!!” (Enough was enough. Sophie was ready to go so I high-tailed it to the bleachers to get a good vantage point. Couldn’t SIT on the bleachers. They were quite wet. From the rain…

Sophie’s two rounds were lovely. Little Kye set himself in a frame and made us all proud.

Of course there was one major distraction. Near a jump there were at least sixteen gorgeous hydrangea bushes. These beauties were about six feet tall in full bloom with white and pink flowers. No one knew their name, but everyone knew that Willa Gauthier had planted them. I found her and my gardener’s frustration was put to rest. She had planted these Limelight Hydrangea years ago and when she found out that Bill was my husband she said, “My husband, Rip, would have been so pleased to have Bill here. Bill embodies all that Rip wanted for this day. Bill hasn’t jumped in years and he came out to support the event and celebrate the sport.”