It's hiring time again at Sprieser Sporthorse—in addition to a replacement for my sadly departing Molly (who's off to work in the Real World—what a doofus!), I'm adding stalls to my barn (more on that later), and that would necessitate the hiring of a whole 'nother person. I've blogged on this subject before, but I learn something about the process with each new hire, and about what things are important to me, and what things aren't.
I'm a big "NCIS" fan, have been since the show came out (though I never have time to watch it "live"; I haven't had cable for a few months now, so I Netflix it, and am, therefore, always a season behind. No spoilers here!). If you've never watched the show, the main character, Special Agent Gibbs, has his own list of 50-or-so rules that form his personal creed. Some are funny, some are serious, and all are poignant and good.
"You know," my mother said, "I'm just starting to appreciate what hard work dressage is."
I looked at her like she had three heads. We've been doing this a while; you're only just now starting to appreciate this?
"No, I know it's technically difficult; I know it requires great skill," she clarified. "I mean the physical work of it all. I watch you professional riders, and it looks like you're just sitting there. You make it look effortless. In reality, you're working really physically hard."
I'm riding some wonderful horses right now. In addition to my own, I've got two super-fun almost-Prix-St-Georges horses belonging to clients, plus some other delightful client horses at the lower levels.
But the one who's making my day, every day, is a 14.3-hand Arabian named War Lhord.
If you're thinking, "Lauren, aren't you 5'9" and leggy? Don't you look preposterous on a 14.3-hand Arabian? Is it possible I can see both your feet from either side of the horse?" You are correct, Sir.
Apparently, there's an old superstition that it's bad luck to change a horse's name. I don't know where it comes from, but it caused a 14-year-old me to revert my saintly first dressage horse, an off-the-track Thoroughbred campaigned in eventing as Sky's The Limit before coming to me, to his Jockey Club name of—wait for it—Stressful Prince.
With a song in our hearts we returned home from Dressage at Lexington last weekend, not just because our squadron of riders all did VERY well, but mostly because it's the last away-from-home show of the spring/summer season, and after running pretty much straight through since January in Florida, I cannot even begin to tell you all how giddy I am to have MULTIPLE CONSECUTIVE WEEKENDS AT HOME. It's like Christmas come early. There has been cooking! There has been laundry! There has been loafing in my underwear watching "The West Wing"!
This is the part where all the women of the world say, "Ah! But you're 28 years old! You will; your biological clock will start ticking, and there you'll be, cooing over every infant in a 2 mile radius!" OK, sure. I'm sure this is true for lots of women, a complete 180 degrees at some unforseen time in their lives. And I'm not ruling it out. But I've never had any interest in having kids of my own, and babies make me squeamish, so we'll just leave it at that.
This weekend, Billy and his own personal 12-year-old, Kristin, are off to Lendon's Youth Dressage Festival, a phenomenal show that Lendon Gray first developed more than 10 years ago. The show, like any normal dressage show, has kids ride their choice of dressage test, but that's where the similarities end.
I can't remember my last ride on Clairvoya. It would have been winter 2009-2010, but beyond that, I don't recall. I know that the last person to ride her (at any other gait than the walk - she's spending her retirement being a haughty, but fairly civilized trail horse for my brave aunt Jane!) was my mother, and I remember that ride, the heartbreaking realization that the injury she sustained just after the Brentina Cup (where we won the Young Rider Grand Prix) made her such that she couldn't continue to work even at the lower levels, and that retirement was the only option.