I subscribe to the ‘work hard play hard’ life philosophy, and as such have just returned from two blissfully non-horsey weeks aboard our sailboat. And lest you get any thoughts of me being a richy-rich with a John Kerry-esque $7,000,000 yacht hidden in some tax sheltered patch of dock space, here is a picture of our 42 year old 34 feet of pure floating love.
For those of you who are looking for a novel way to test a marriage, I can vouch for the boating method. I can also confirm that I am still married, though my Blackberry, after an unplanned intersection with some seawater, is no longer viable as a communication device – unless I count throwing it at my husband’s head.
While I was out floating my boat, I thought a lot about one thing that is sometimes hard to maintain when you are in the thick of a sport and a sporting community: perspective. It can be pretty difficult to distance yourself far enough from something that you are passionate about to see that you are losing sleep, possibly friends and even years off your life for something that, in the greater scheme, just doesn’t matter that much. Dressage is not a life-or-death adventure (or at least it shouldn’t be), and save for the case of a few worthwhile fundraising causes such as the Breast Cancer Challenge of the Americas, those of us who spend our productive time within equestrian sport aren’t really making some kind of BIG DIFFERENCE to the quality of life of most of the world’s people and animals. Nope, none of this is worth getting too messed up over, not really. Yesterday as I waded through two weeks’ worth of work email, including a couple of whiny and/or demanding messages, I started to feel my boat-induced bliss slipping away rather too quickly. Then I thought of a friend I’ve known for a long time (in the horse community because that is where most of my friends reside after all) who is in an actual life-and-death struggle with cancer. Giving my head a shake, I reminded myself what really matters in life and sent her a long-overdue email.
It’s not that dressage or show jumping or any equestrian pursuit isn’t worthwhile. I am extremely proud to know that I played a small role in the successes of a number of Juniors and Young Riders at this year’s NAJYRC, including the gold medalist in the YR freestyle – Jaimie Holland – and the bronze medalist in the Jr. freestyle – Esmee Ingham. It is always gratifying and inspiring to be even a little part of someone’s personal goal achievement. But I do sometimes think I need to siphon off a bit of time to put towards helping people or animals less fortunate than the majority of those of us in the horse world.
That’s my dip into existentialism for this year. Since today’s post is somewhat thin on the horses, you may want to satiate your appetite elsewhere. I can highly recommend Eventing Nation (http://www.eventingnation.com/home/). You don’t even need to be that interested in eventing to enjoy a browse; in fact John’s post today is a chuckle-worthy report on his participation in the fencing phase of a pentathlon.
There is one last bit of news to share, and that’s the Canadian WEG dressage team, which was announced with no surprises today: Ashley, Belinda, Bonny and Victoria. What I don’t understand is why there is no mention in the announcement who the reserves will be. In fact, it doesn’t even say there ARE any reserves, which implies a situation like we had in 2006 where there were no reserves because only four qualified – and that is most certainly not the case this time. Shannon, Cheryl, Wendy and Evi (just under the wire!) are all qualified, and I had it from RD himself that he hoped to take two reserves into training camp at Kathy Priest’s farm in KY in September. When will DC get the communication thing figured out…