When my coach’s truck pulled into her friend’s farm, I didn’t immediately recognize the place from my youth. After all, a child’s memory is fickle and depends so heavily on context. The last time I’d seen the farm, I was probably clutching my ill-fitting velvet riding helmet in my lap and eagerly straining my head to look out the window. I very likely still had chocolate icing from the morning’s doughnut on my face as I waited with my sticky little kid fingers on the car door handle, anticipating the brakes finally slowing the car enough so I could fling the door open and run toward the barn. I probably got in trouble for that, but it didn’t matter. I was long gone by the time whichever parent had unbuckled their seatbelt and turned around to chastise me.
As I scanned the familiar riding arena sixteen years later after a far more sensible (very early) morning breakfast of coffee and a bagel, recognition suddenly kicked in. “This is where I started riding as a kid!” I practically screeched.
Though the farm has since changed hands and names, a relic of its past identity hung in the darkened lounge: “Rose Ridge Farms.”
It was here that I fell in love with a horse for the first time, and here is where my heart was broken when that horse was sadly put down. I cantered and jumped for the very first time here; I also fell off for the first time. Every fiber of my little kid soul ached to be here for roughly 167 hours of the 168 hour-long week. My dreams, if not born here, were nourished here.
Riding Ned back in 1998
The other day, as I tore into a new package of whiteout at my office, I caught myself. I had made the order for the corrective tape myself after several coworkers had passed by my desk in a vain hunt for it, yet once it arrived it just sat ineffectually by the printer. Finally, I found a use for it. “Awwwww yeeeeah,” I thought, giddy with anticipation.
Then I thought, “Wait. What the hell is wrong with me?”
I slipped quietly out of my office at 5:00 sharp and into the bathroom to change into thermal breeches. I layered two pairs of socks, a thermal shirt, polo shirt, hoodie, and windbreaker until I resembled Ralphie’s younger brother, Randy, from A Christmas Story.
Busy: it’s both commonly bemoaned and universally worshiped, at least in the states. Lifestyle magazines across the board cater their content to their frazzled readership – I dare you to browse the magazine aisle and count the covers that don’t include some headline along the lines of “No Fuss Recipes for your most hectic days,” “Fitness secrets for the busy mom!”– and fast food restaurants have built empires on the backs of our fast lane lifestyles.
Not that I’m complaining. I am thankful for the job, friends, and experiences that keep me so swamped. However, more often than not, perspective is a whisper, not a shout, and it often goes unnoticed in the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Photo Credit: CHPCC.org
Just a few short years ago, I was still in college at Georgia State University, sitting in the student center with a friend while a club fair was taking place on the city streets outside. We were languidly draped across some mass-marketed contempo-esque* furniture, people watching like we were born to do it: smirking, rolling our eyes, flippantly dismissing the endless enthusiasm of our eager young peers.
Until I spotted it: a black velvet riding helmet.
Unmistakable in the otherwise bustling, urban, environment, it was resting on a folding table along with a virtually empty sign-up sheet and a poster board advertising Georgia State’s equestrian club.
“I have to go! Bye!” I screamed over my shoulder as I vaulted over chairs and bowled into students in my rush to get to the street before the mirage evaporated.
War Horse, a movie based off a famous play that makes use of seriously epic puppetry, tells the story of a horse who’s swept up into World War I. As a film, it falls short in several places and does well in others, but I’m no movie critic and I won’t pretend to be. However, I am a horseperson, so it behooves me (haha. get it?) to point out the movie’s major incongruities with reality when it comes to horses. War Horse is certainly not the only movie guilty of misrepresentation, and horses are not the only misrepresented characters in film. Nevertheless, here are a few of the things that War Horse gets wrong – and a few things it gets right – about horses.
Posted in Blogs, Equestrian
Tagged Canton, Elizabeth Clymer, equestrian, Film, Georgia, horseback riding, horses, Humor, Joey, War Horse, War Horse movie
“I am a rider, dammit.”
This is what I tell myself some days as I tack up the most recent project horse I’ve started riding. There have been times I have had trouble believing it.
As a starry-eyed seven year-old enamored with the film “The Last Unicorn”, I arrived at the conclusion that I, like the lead character, was a unicorn trapped in the body of a human. Eventually, I admitted to myself that unicorns did not exist and that was a silly thing to believe. I exchanged that whimsical notion for another: I was a horse trapped in the body of a human being. By nine years old, I’d abandoned my self-inflicted identity crisis and decided that I just thought horses were really, really cool.
I cast my pom-poms to the side (much to the relief of all parties involved) and declared that I wanted to take riding lessons. My passion was ignited and history unfolded soon after my first joyful lap around the ring on a pony named Charlie. For half an hour every Saturday morning, I was an Olympic hopeful and Charlie was the equine archetype of athleticism and speed.
Tragically, we were trapped in the stubby-legged bodies of a suburban fifth-grader and a slightly bored lesson pony. But I was a rider, dammit!