I am now a quarter of a year into my two-time blogging, here on Straight-Up and on Horse Sport International’s site with Low-Down. It may seem at times that my blogs flow like so much verbal diarrhea, but in reality the image is more one of the constipated mathematician who works it out with a pencil, beads of sweat dripping from face to foolscap as I scribble my ideas out and slowly fill the waste basket with crumpled, damp sheets. I’m like Goldilocks, only replacing porridge with words. That’s too obnoxious…that’s not obnoxious enough…that’s it! That’s just right! Of course ‘just right’ for me is sometimes too rude for some of my more delicate readers – but they can always just hit that little ‘x’ in the top right corner of the screen if my choice of topics or means of expression causes them to blanch.

As I allowed myself to accept the fact that writing a blog is almost more mentally demanding than writing a rider profile or coverage of the Olympic Eventing, I realized that the reason I have been reluctant to commit to a single day of the week with Low-Down (if you recall, I once committed to Wednesday for this blog – a promise most of you have probably long given up on) is because I can’t imagine just  turning it on and off at the same hour of the same day, week in and week out. And creative juices aside, I can’t control when the good material reaches me.

So here is what I’ve decided to do on a weekly basis. In the top half of the week, ie. Sunday through Wednesday, I will post on Low-Down. In the bottom half, Wednesday through Saturday, I will post here on Straight-Up. It is very unlikely I will post on both blogs on the same day, especially since Wednesday is my least favourite day of the week and it’s the only overlapping day on the schedule.  As you will already have noticed, I sometimes  post more than once a week when something exciting is happening, either in front of my eyes (like the Olympics) or in my inbox (like those EC press releases that just keep getting better – see below). That will continue to happen. Something else that will continue to happen is that I periodically go off the grid. This summer you can expect a slow down in posts for about a month in August/September, though I’m sure that my travels in France will generate some stories that I will feel compelled to share with you, whether or not horses are involved.

A younger, skinnier me in France, 1997

And that is my semi-commitment to a blog schedule for the rest of this year. In other news, my inbox has a few goodies in it, including two time traveling press releases from EC which came through yesterday. The first announces Capitain L’Amazing’s new star Derly Chin de Muze as the Omega Alpha Horse for March. At first I thought it was typo and that May was the intended month, since that is the month we are more than half way through. And goodness knows, typos are not unheard of in EC press releases. Just a few weeks ago Torchy Millar’s name was misspelled in one. It’s not Terrence (as in an extra R for Terence Trent D’Arby), but Terrance (as in stage hypnotist Terrance B). Anyhoo, it wasn’t a typo with the Omega Alpha release. They really did mean March.  I realize that EC may not be to blame for the tardiness of this announcement. It might be the generous sponsor who was a bit slow off the mark, but I want to point out to the folks at Omega Alpha that announcing your horse of the month two months late is kind of cheating. You get to see if that horse keeps on performing or is just a flash in the pan, not really worth the accolade.  But more importantly, it just looks dumb to announce ‘horse of the month for March’ on May 17th.

EC’s releases are certainly in flashback mode this week. The other one that I received yesterday announced the Jump Canada Bursary recipients for 2011. I guess the bursary operates on a Revenue Canada calendar, and they have until April 30th to decide who gets last year’s dough. In a world where magazines post-date their issues to the next week or month, I would like to propose that JC do away with its 2012 Bursary, and just give out the 2013 Bursary at this time next year.

Also reaching my inbox this week (though I’m not at all sure it was meant to come to me) was a missive from my old friend Mariette to her fellow judges. The email contained an ominous message about a rumour that judges are using smart phones while on the job to check in with each other and even to check instant online scoring to see if they are in or out of line. I was genuinely shocked to read this. Judges know how to use smart phones? But seriously. Do dressage judges really have such a weak moral compass that they have to be TOLD not to do this kind of thing? What about all those lunch hours and pee breaks they take part way through a class? If Mariette is correct to believe her fellow judges need to be policed in order not to be cheaters, I would like to suggest that scribes take on a new role, as minder/guards. When the judge leaves the booth to make a trip to the loo or the buffet, the scribe would blindfold the judge and put a pair of Bose noise reduction headphones on him or her. The scribe would then help the judge negotiate the twists, turns and stairs of their blind and deaf odyssey to a hermetically sealed toilet or dining unit, thus eliminating all opportunity for colluding with colleagues before the class is over.

It just so happens that I have an interview scheduled with Stephen Clarke this afternoon. I think I’ll ask him what he thinks of all this smart phone terrorism. And if you want to read Stephen’s answer to this and my long list of other questions, you will have to pick up issue #4 of Horse Sport International, where the interview is scheduled to appear.