I was supposed to ride Ella in the Saturday evening extravaganza at this year's PVDA Ride for Life, but a wound she sustained in Florida, which was healing VERY slowly, stopped healing and got very oozy and gross, and has required rather extensive and obnoxious veterinary work, as well as considerable time on stall rest, even though she has not taken One. Lame. Step. I am not amused, nor is Ella. Ugh.
But back to the story. Just because I couldn't participate didn't mean my students couldn't, so in their entries went. And I have to confess that I was a little anxious. The Ride For Life is always on a GHASTLY hot weekend. The stabling is hot and stuffy. The footing is underwhelming. And the traffic can be a factor. But off we went anyway, my heart filled with trepidation.
And boy, was I in for a shock. Because the Prince Georges Equestrian Center, a publicly owned venue in one of the not-so-well-off counties in Maryland, in times of economic trouble, has really classed their act up.
All new footing in an all new covered space, so the back rings are no longer on the slope on the old racetrack (well, one of them still is, as is its designated warm-up, but c'est la vie). The covered space kept us reasonably comfortable in the shade, even in the really steamy weather. And some new landscaping brought some beauty and some new young trees to the area, which someday will provide shade that is hard to come by in big open venues.
We also lucked out in that the weather wasn't TOTALLY horrible, nor was the traffic. My students all rode like gangbusters: Jane got her first good scores aboard her Strappers, a converted foxhunter; Allison rode her Frosty to some nice marks and continues to impress me with her skills; and Amy rode her Bo, a horse she's trained largely by herself, to the last scores she needed for her Bronze Medal.
And as we listened to the stories of breast cancer survival and how the fight against this dreadful disease rages on, with the assistance of the dollars this terrific show raises, I couldn't help but smile. A venue on the upswing, great horsing, and raising money to beat cancer. Ella will be back to work in no time. And a terrific group of clients I adore. Can't beat that!