Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The High Point Of The Show

Again with the big silence…sorry! The hand didn’t do so well casted but it did it’s job and my hand is now free from it’s bright pink and/or purple prison. I am typing a bit better now so I’m going to try to catch up on all of the happenings of the last month…before the BIG excitement of my excellent Horse Year happens this weekend. I brought my laptop along and have free WiFi so hopefully this will work out.

I think I left off going into the big Race & Show weekend…

Dr. Wells told me she’d take off the cast before the show so that I could ride without it at the last Donida Farm Schooling show in the series…the one we were in 3rd place going into and the final show that I was preparing for. I’d been riding in my cast for a few weeks and even though holding a riding crop was a challenge, requiring me to switch to the left hand full time, I was beginning to feel a bit more confident. Chrissy asked me to be open to the possibility of keeping the cast on for the show because by that point it would be three weeks since the break and I’d already adjusted to riding with it. When I went into the Dr. Office that afternoon before the show & they removed the pink cast, I was glad she’s prepared me for the possibility because I might have been very upset to figure out that the finger was still bruised, atrophied & without any strength.

By the look on my face Dr. Wells knew I wasn’t feeling confidant and suggested we re-cast it so that it would be protected. She wrapped me up in a purple cast to coordinate with my lavender show shirt and I arranged to borrow a purple saddle pad from Chrissy. When life gives you purple, make the most of it…and so I did!! Chrissy even joked that we should wrap Coconut’s front right leg in a purple polo wrap for fun. We couldn’t come up with one overnight so it had to remain a funny idea!

We kicked off the big weekend with Opening Night at Emerald Downs…but more on that later…

My family hit the skies early and left me home alone again (and no, I did not hurt myself THIS time!) I headed out early, myself, to do an early haul in to the show. Coconut was flying solo …no friends to distract her this time! We got to Donida and Jack was already there and tacked up. We had about an hour to settle in and get ready for Halter & Showmanship. As I mentioned, we were in third going into the event I looked for my competition, Mona and her incredibly beautiful Friesian, Isobella & Lys with her handsome paint, Ory. There was no sign of Mona or Isobella but Lys & Ory were there & did incredible all day. We actually showed 15 classes that day and got lots of ribbons.

Coconut was pretty relaxed in the morning and I was very happy with her performance but she didn’t place very high. About three riding classes in she started to act up & we had to go out to the practice arena with Pete who was out to support Ruth and Jack but graciously coached us again. He has a great sense of Coconut and it was great to hear the deep voice with a hint of that German accent as we went around the arena when things were going well and hearing “You look good!” and when Coconut was acting up and doing that bit-rooting thing I had to crack up with the “Noooooo Coconut!” almost like she was his daughter! He’s firm but connected. I do think she likes and respects him a great deal. I’ve joked with Ruth that I’m going to leave Coconut to him in my will!

On my team was also Chrissy & Kelli who were valuable in keeping focused and minding the details…and making sure I was signed up for classes…and very importantly, collecting ribbons so we could keep riding. We also had our very important cheering section of Monica (and her fabulous camera!) and the big, bright and supportive smile of Kim! We also had a visit from “The Nut” fans, Cathy & Chelsea. It meant the world to have everyone there.

In the events we rode with Lys & Ory, they out rode us every time. We may have done more classes, but in the end, they racked up the very important placement points. Overall, however, I was extremely happy with Coconut’s performance. I actually think by the end of our classes, she’d never held herself better. Monica did a great write-up about the show with some awesome photos and tells about our encounter with the Easter Bunny very well...Check it out over at HorseBytes.

I am very proud of how far we’ve come over the winter and this series truly gave me goals that got me out there riding and working with her more than I have any other winter. I came home with nine ribbons but I can’t even tell you exactly which classes I placed in what order. The most important part actually came after the High Points were awarded.

I had seen Lys loading Ory to leave before the show was over and in my head I was sure they had surpassed us in points, even though we were only 6 points behind them going in. I figured it was close but we had a chance… They called the contenders to bring their horses to the arena. I dressed Coconut in our (now) traditional pink halter for the post show activities and walked back to the arena. The Open Division High Point winner was announced…. Lys & Ory…I felt bad for them that they’d already left and didn’t know they’d won a whole table full of award gifts!

We're Number Two!

The photographer, Krista Davis, was in the arena taking the High Point formal portraits and we were standing there waiting to ask the show folks a question. Krista came over and asked if we were ready to take our formals and I said, “No, we didn’t win” but she said she thought my mare was pretty and looked cute in her pink halter and she’d like to shoot her anyway. So we agreed. During the shoot, she asked about Coconut, commenting on how much she liked the name. Kelli told her about my work with SAFE and Krista said that she was a huge fan of the SAFE website and followed the horse’s stories all the time. Then she lowered her camera and said “This is THE Coconut!…the actual Coconut!!” It turns out that she’s also followed Coconut’s story and has been a Coconut fan.

It’s hard to express the feelings I had at that moment. Tears came to my eyes. Coconut, this little mare from a remote pasture…who has become a piece of my heart and both challenges & inspires me…actually makes a difference in other’s lives. She may not have a registration or any fancy titles, but she has fans! I share her story because I want to make people aware of neglect and how rescued horses can go on to be productive equine citizens and live fulfilling existences with the people who step up for them. They also, apparently, become spokes-horses of sorts & there are actually people who care about them…people they’ve never met. Knowing she means something to others is incredibly amazing…and that touches my heart very deeply.

Krista was so sweet. She went on and on about Coconut, giving her kind of a Rock Star moment, even asking if she could please take some more photos of Coconut, leading us outside to take some really beautiful shots on the grounds of Donida Farm (Missing about 30 minutes of the trails & hunter/jumper classes). It was actually the last shot she took that got her the most excited. She later emailed it to me and shared that it was probably her favorite shot ever and so I’m sharing it with you.

So it seems we came in second…but it turned out to be the perfect place. It all led up to meeting Krista whose love of my horse ended up being the best prize of all and the High Point of my day!

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