Most of the time, I prefer being with horses than being with people, particularly non-horse people or people outside of my barn and a those of a few friends’. Part of the reason for this rather misanthropic viewpoint, is that people are often difficult to deal with and you can’t just thwap them with a crop like you can a horse. Well, you can – but with the horse it often solves the problem and with people, that course of action will lead to a whole new set of problems. Plus, well controlled and justly delivered discipline will actually increase your horses respect for you. That is just not going to happen in the bi-pedal world.
If you know us, then you know that our barn is made up of people (both boarders and students) who while most likely considered middle-class, have to give up other pursuits or extras in order to afford the horse habit. Some of us take on extra jobs or extra assignments, many of us have switched to boxed wine and will shop at discount stores in order to afford extras for the ponies. The main point here, is that we make choices and sacrifices in order to maintain our horses in the style to which they are accustomed. Time with the horses is often even more hard-won and precious.
And if you know us, then you also know that one of the group has been fighting cancer. I blogged about lessons that began with “P” and the lesson of perseverance has been so eloquently taught by “A2” and her family. While it does not begin with “P”, grace under pressure seems to be their stock in trade over the last several months.
So when a few fortuitous factors came together and “A2” was able to join us for the Erie Hunter Pace at the last-minute I was really pleased with people. Within a few minutes of a flurry of text messaging, we had a teammate for “A2” thanks to “A1”, a ride on a trailer thanks to Connie and “E”, an entry thanks to Vita (the organizer for the pace), and a plan.
We had a great ride down to Erie, despite the torrential downpours. To be honest though, if it was not raining as we hauled horses to Erie, we would all assume we had screwed up the date. “A1” ought to go on Comedy Central with her self-deprecating “grandmother faking Alzhemier’s” skit. Then, we obviously found the pace to be a little dull and livened it up by chasing Chunk around for about twenty minutes while the pace had to be held until we caught the “little dear”. On the bright side, he showed off his very athletic paces and tremendous sense of humor. “A1” will probably be putting a tranq gun on her Christmas list. We also conducted an impromptu sociological study that will be titled “Opinions and another body part that everyone has”. Thanks to some helpful people and the folks at Faithhaven Stables, we regained possession of Chunkie and the pace was able to resume. Of course, this is after “E” and “A2” face planted on foot during the course walk, so I was certain that Murphy was going to get me at some point.
The pace itself was a ton of fun and not terrible exciting. All of the horses and riders behaved themselves admirably and all obstacles were negotiated and all pairs came home together.
We lined up for a victory photo and “A2” said “quick – how is my hair” and yours truly actually looked.