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  1. #41
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    Apr. 23, 1999
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    "The classic American style, and it is a style, is to interfere with the horse's way of going as little as possible. Everything is/was aimed toward freedom for the horse. Dressage, as I understand it, is more rider domination, and asking/forcing the horse into unnatural ways of going."

    --- that is just so sad - that this is your "understanding" of dressage

    my understanding is that

    ==it is the making of a partnership wherein the rider knows exactly where each part of the horse is and the horse's attention is focused upon the rider

    ==it is the development of the musculature of the horse for the most ease of carrying the added burden of the rider

    ==it is balance of both partners

    ==it is both partners being so "in tune" with each other that the rider can "think" shoulder-in and the horse moves into shoulder-in

    ==it is a rider understanding what the horse is ready to try so that they remain in harmony and avoid working in tension

    ==it is both partners being happy in their work

    ==and so much more


    (no DQ -- but does that do it for you rileyt?)
    Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

    The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”



  2. #42
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 1999
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    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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    There have been some really good points made here, and I'd like to comment more on this topic, but my school has been inconsiderate enough to have scheduled a biology (205, or as I affectionately like to call it, "biology for the science-impaired" [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]) exam tomorrow, without devoting an iota of thought to the fact that it would interfere with my Internet time. But I digress. Back to what I originally wanted to say - I noted that one or two people described dressage as something that involves force and domination, and that is exactly the incorrect attitude I see in so many North Americans. While there are plenty who believe that dressage is nothing but beneficial to jumpers, I can't tell you how many jumper people around here have looked at me like I have two heads whenever I myself have brought up that very same thought. Dressage, when done correctly, as some of you have already pointed out, has nothing to do with dominating your horse or forcing him to do something unnatural. Rather, it's one of those rare endeavors that can be defined as either artform or sport, and it involves a deep connection and understanding between horse and rider. Dressage horses and riders at the highest levels are one step away from reading one another's minds, and I've heard it said that when the sport is done correctly, it looks as though the horse is performing the movements by himself, while the rider is simply there to enjoy the experience. If force or domination ever come into it, then dressage is the furthest thing from what you're doing.

    I also feel that the different styles utilized by North Americans and Europeans have evolved largely through the horses preferred by each. While a thoroughbred might not enjoy having someone sit right down on his back and grind out a between-leg-and-hand ride, anyone who thinks he or she can coast around a course to a sweet clear on a warmblood without at least some degree of packaging and "interference" is sadly deluded. However, I do think that the Euro style is much less controlled and dominating than many people think, and that horses of many types can go happily and well in it. Look at John Whitaker - now, there's a man who can ride anything. Look at Ludger Beerbaum - despite all his controlled rides, I don't think there's anyone here who can claim that Ratina Z was an animal who would accept "domination" or "force" very well, yet she was arguably his most successful horse. Rodrigo rides everything, from the lighter horses to the heavier ones, in a way that's just lovely. They're clearly doing something right.

    Sigh, this was supposed to be really short. I'm off to go stick my face in a textbook now.

    Cheers,
    Susie
    http://www.kachoom.com

    "Change your thoughts and you change your world." ~Norman Vincent Peale
    "That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college!" ~Homer Simpson



  3. #43
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    Feb. 20, 2001
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    My current trainer rode with Bert De Nemethy, and I would bet money that the caveletti program she uses for us is his.....it works.

    As for the movie "the horse with the flying tail", it was so great, haven't seen it since i was a kid. I remember vividily though my camp in Virginia which must have had some tie to Nautical, as she had a photo of him on the wall-he was amazing. Perhaps I can rent the movie...

    "If you haven't gotten where you're going,you probably aren't there yet."-George Carlin
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  4. #44
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2000
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    Clarksdale, MS--the golden buckle on the cotton belt
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    When I was in pony club, oh so many years ago, we used to do what we called "Program Rides." They were probably pretty close to Training Level Dressage today. Please remember that Americans didn't do much "Dressage" before the LA Olympics, and my Pony Club days were long before then.

    I considered my Pony Club Programs and preparing for them "flatwork", and "dressage" was a whole different kettle of fish, which was engaged in by Germans primarily, and was useless to foxhunters and hunter/jumpers.

    Maybe we're talking about semantics here, but I still think that upper level dressage is as unnatural a way of moving as ballet dancing. Reckon where you're talking about muscle memory training for non-specialists, the ballet and dressage have a lot in common.

    But I still prefer to describe what Pony Club asked of us as flatwork.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire



  5. #45
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    Jun. 17, 2001
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    down the road from bar.ka
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    The Horse in the Grey Flannel Suit is so much a better example-it is a Disney film about the Medal classes and a girl who can perch but not ride, until trainer takes the saddle away. Rent it.
    Anyway Europe is different. Apples and oranges. We have western pleasure, is it their fault the international show jumpers don't win too?
    More like the inability to select the proper team. We have the talent just not a good way of sifting through it. Many european countries match the horse with the rider, all state controlled. We do not do that here. We do not take the rider that made the horse off for a state supported rider. The owner however can remove them but that is our system. It is open to all as most european countries are not.
    Also do not compare upper level european shows to our grassroots level stuff (which they do not have over there), yeah it's bad. I once saw a lower level dressage show and that was pretty bad too. I don't use that for comparison.
    Europe is made up of small nations that closely control the teams-we let whoever rides the horse take it international. Apples and oranges.

    From Allergy Valley USA
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  6. #46
    Join Date
    Feb. 3, 2000
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    Nokesville, VA
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I considered my Pony Club Programs and preparing for them "flatwork", and "dressage" was a whole different kettle of fish, which was engaged in by Germans primarily, and was useless to foxhunters and hunter/jumpers. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    I don't know when you were in Pony Club, but I was a member from about 1965 to 1971.

    I was taught real (lower level) dressage by a former member of the Spanish Riding School. And it was applied to jumping too.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  7. #47
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    Feb. 3, 2000
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    I disaggreee with your comaprison. "Horse with the Flying Tail" is based on FACT. "Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit" is FICTION.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  8. #48
    Join Date
    Oct. 3, 2001
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    232

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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by lilblackhorse:
    Just an aside, but I agree that kids don't ride in the open anymore, and enjoy a good bareback gallop across a field anymore....*sigh*...I'm getting old
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    i agree! i think it's kind of sad that a lot of show kids i know only work in the ring. as for me...well, bareback is much more fun, plus you don't have to do all the work of putting a saddle on! and i am not that old, though i don't do that many shows.

    -Caroline
    "If I go crazy then will you still call me SUPERPONY!"
    -Caroline
    \"If I go crazy then will you still call me SUPERPONY!\"



  9. #49
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    My Pony Club days were somewhat before yours, Janet. Maybe how the programs were treated depended on where you were and on the adults running the club. We certainly never had a dressage specialist anywhere around. We worked on the transitions and the figures in an outdoor field with cardboard letters.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire



  10. #50
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    Feb. 20, 2001
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    was in the early 70's, and we were lucky to have dressage clinics with germans and a rider who was long listed for the 80 olympics...we did lots of dressage, though I think before I was 16 I hated it, then the proverbial "Light" went on, and I was hooked!

    "If you haven't gotten where you're going,you probably aren't there yet."-George Carlin
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  11. #51
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    Feb. 28, 2001
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    Well first I will have to agree with DMK and Flash here-I think alot of the problem does have to do with the oversaturation of poor trainers....it just keeps filtering through.

    But could it also have to do with the overal "American mentality"-truly thin kabout it....we have become a victim society-look at daytime tv or the legal system of our country....

    Maybe this is a bit too deep-but we really have things a bit easy over here (for the most part) and if something goes wrong it wasn't "my" fault-it was some syndrome or disorder---i.e. it wasn't MY fault-it was horse, trainer, groom so THEY need to fix it.

    We are a society of immediate gratification without least amount of effort (think: get rich quick scams)....the Germans-and many European countries at least used to be known as a country with a very HIGH work ethic....they went through alot after the destruction of two WW's and had to put themselves back together...

    I think much of this attitude spills over into competition. No one wants to take the time anymore to do it and resent the heck out of any criticism that comes along the way....

    Think of all the people that jump up and down over GM-I mean the man may have his quirks-perhaps perfectionism is one of those quirks??? He sets those standards pretty high and most complain when they don't measure up-the b!itch and moan rather than pulling themselves up by the bootstraps and fixing what was done wrong.

    So you have lack of basic education or understanding of the hows and whys of balanced riding and a little laziness and need for immediate gratification and voila-shoddy riding.

    Perhaps I digressed a bit-BUT i have seen (albeight few and far between) LOVELY hunters traveling balanced and adjustable....BUT there are far far more counterbent, mouths open, trailing hocks behind, hollow in the back, etc.

    Ask have the folks showing these horses how to get it done right and they probably can't tell you.

    Life is too short to dance with ugly men

    Founding Member: Invisible Poster Clique



  12. #52
    Join Date
    Jan. 20, 2001
    Location
    Calgary
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    Everytime I get to watch the Masters at Spruce Meadows I wonder about the difference in European vs. North American jumping. Those American women scare the bejeezus out of me every time they ride into the big ring... but I've never seen a wreck (although I know it happens) and those gals give anyone thinking of winning a run for their money. They may scare me, but I admire them since there's no way in hell you'd ever catch me doin that!

    This year I was fortunate enough to be able to watch Merideth Micheals-Beerbaum (forgive me if I butchered the spelling) on the super-sexy stallion Concetto... To me, this woman is one of the top 5 jumper riders I've seen. She cruised around the jumps without looking like it was any sort of effort. Then one morning I watched her in the warm up ring schooling Concetto. Not once did she hop a fence. In a packed & hectic ring, all she did was Dressage. She had him FORWARD (which right there elevates her from about %75 percent of North American dressage riders), ROUND, and 100% on the aids! She went from a flat out gallop to a collected canter, to a flat out gallop, to a halt. No huge pulling, no ugly anything.

    As a dressage rider, I was totally in awe. She's a peanut of a woman up there on pure power, and she was in total control, and made it look lovely.

    I understand why dressage gets a bad rap. What most of us see, specially at lower levels, is not really correct. It's hacking, maybe. But hacking slowly. I scribed for an international level dressage judge who said something like, "dressage should make the horse more beautiful than it would be on its own. If you watch a test and think the horse would look better without the rider, running around in a field, then how can that be good?" I thought it summed it up pretty well.

    So blah, blah, blah... my point is that Mrs. Merideth and Concetto are both gods, and if anyone gets a chance to watch some of the big dogs warm up before they jump, you might be suprised at how much "dressage" you'll see.

    I hope that all made some sense...



  13. #53
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    Oct. 29, 2001
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    Colorado
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    with Vineyridge's understadning of dressage. Dressage has an incredible amount to offer foxhunters and hunter/jumpers. It is certainly not the dominating of the horse. It is a little anive to think that all horses carry themselves ina proper, under-themselves, balanced way without a little rtaining on the rider's part. I've gone foxhunting before, and I would never set my seat in the saddle of a horse that wasn't schooled to use itself properly. With rough terrain, and rolling hills an unbalanced on the forehand horse is just asking for a spill.

    I've gotten lax in my dreassage with my hunter/jumper horse as of late, and it has hurt us. he has fallen out of his nice rounded canter, gotten strung out behind, and, not being a naturally well balanced horse has fallen onto his forehand, resulting in jump refusals. He was getting sour. So today I put my butt in gear and really schooled him on his dreassage, which is how I trained him in the first place, so that he would round and get a forward, yet still rounded canter.

    After half an hour of collection lateral work and serpentines he was more balanced and more connected with me than he's been in weeks. he was more ready to move off my leg at the slightest signal, with only a half halt stoped leaning on my hands and picked himself up. When I hopped him over some fences at the end of our ride he was more interested and more eager to go than he's been in a long time. If my horse is more connected, lighter and a happier jumper after some dressage reschooling, how could that possibly be a bad thing?
    You know, if you took this jello, put it in a mold and froze it, you could be like look....an emerald. Dude, I'd kick some guys ass he ever tried to give me a jello ring.



  14. #54
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    Oct. 29, 1999
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    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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    Coppelia - I agree with you about Meredith - now, SHE is a horsewoman! I've told this story about a hundred thousand times, but because I love it so much, I'll tell it again. A couple of years ago, the fam and I visited Aachen to watch a day of the Weltfest des Pferdesports, and we had the luck to be able to watch Meredith go in the Pulsar Masters on an amazing little horse named Sprehe Just Do It. That thing bucked its way around the course so hard and so much that the bajillion-strong audience was sucking air in all at once - I was surprised there was enough oxygen in the area left to breathe [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]. When we realized that Meredith was not only riding the horse calmly through his mischief to perfect distances but enjoying the fact that he was having such a good time, everyone started laughing. Every time she left the ring on that horse that day, it was to the sound of thousands of people roaring with laughter and clapping. It was showjumping at its best and made me want to cry, because it was one of the most beautiful moments I've ever been fortunate enough to witness. The very next day, I heard a couple of Americans gabbing about her at breakfast in our hotel: "That girl has improved a thousand percent since she moved over here!" Oh, to have Marcus and Ludger RIGHT THERE [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img].

    Cheers,
    Susie
    http://www.kachoom.com

    "Change your thoughts and you change your world." ~Norman Vincent Peale
    "That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college!" ~Homer Simpson



  15. #55
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    Oct. 31, 2000
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    Muenster, Germany
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    I couldn't agree more with Kachoo's (first) post !

    Since there's no hunters in Germany it's more about being efficient that looking pretty. And a horse that's "on the aids" and trained in dressage to know them, IS much more efficient.

    OF COURSE being both, pretty and efficient is the ultimate goal. And that's why I think Lugder Beerbaum is the greatest !!!

    ...Life without horses is possible, but pointless...



  16. #56
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    Jun. 19, 1999
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    Averill Park NY and Citra Fl
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    Jumping a course is just flatwork with "stuff" in the way! The jump is an extension of the canter stride. Anyone who thinks they can jump a course WITHOUT a thorough understanding of "flat work" "dressage" whatever you want to call it, is going to be a side show! I wouldn't jump a course without KNOWING when, where, how, my horse is going to meet the jumps and that is based in FLAT WORK...A well broke horse is a NECESSITY to a successful round. Anything less will be hair raising to watch!! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img]

    Betsy
    Lead, follow, or get out of the way...
    The thing about smart people, is they look like crazy people, to dumb people.



  17. #57
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    Sep. 16, 1999
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    My horse (13 yo 7/8th TB / 1/8th Trakhener gelding) and I are seasoned foxhunters. Eighteen months ago he and I started taking dressage lessons in addition to remaining active foxhunters. We started taking dressage lessons to help us in the jumpers. What I happily found out, was in fact, the dressage lessons have helped us tremendously in the hunt field! And this was even more thrilling to me because he was already considered one of the nicest horses in our hunt field. (Obviously, there's always more to learn! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] )

    My horse and I work with a skilled and talented dressage rider and instructor at a fancy dressage barn full of true-blue DQ's. (Oh my! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] ) My instructor however realizes that my goal in dressage is not the performance of higher level skills such as piaffe, pirouettes, etc., but to learn to ride my horse in a way that is supple, rhythmic, balanced, with impulsion, and on the aides.

    I cannot speak highly enough of how her dressage exercises on those blankity-blank 20 meter circles have helped us in the hunt field. While in foxhunting typically you are carrying much more pace than in dressage, my goodness, you sure as he## better be able to ride with balance through the various transitions dicated by the varying slope of the terrain, the changes in footing, the speed of the chase etc. As far as rhythm, yes it changes frequently during the hunt, but the rhythm still exists. And when you're in full flight going downhill and the field suddenly turns, it definitely helps to be able to ride balanced through those turns on the outside aides.

    Frankly, I could go on-and-on with examples, but I will stop after this one. My horse's preferred way to go is long-and-low, and he also prefers to be heavy on his front end. This way of going can make riding down a steep slope at speed (as is frequently done in foxhunting) quite a challenge.

    However, I started using some of the skills I learned in my dressage lessons as we go down hills. Specifically I keep my leg at or behind the girth and with a light seat do that "dressage-y" backward rolling motion with my hip joints in order for him to get his hind underneath him and off his front end. Almost immediately I noticed that he did exactly this to such and extent that the reins became slack. (And this does not have to do with harsh equipment - I hunt him in loose ring slow twist snaffle bit, regular caveson, no flash, and a loose martigale). I was amazed and thrilled with the difference and the improvement. And this more balanced way of holds when we are in full flight riding at the front of the field.

    I cannot thank my dressage instructor enough for her help...in the huntfield! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    [This message was edited by Whistlejacket on Nov. 15, 2001 at 10:20 AM.]



  18. #58
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    Aug. 30, 2000
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    Greensboro, NC
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    As a dressage and hunter rider, I think that the problem is with Americans altogether. In my opinion, every horse should be taught basic, correct dressage. Two years ago, we purchased an event horse for my dad, primarily because he jumped so flat and comfortably. Well, we spent two years working on his flatwork and teaching him to use his hind end, and he is now difficult to jump because he jumps SO round and so correctly. I have never met a horse that would not benefit from correct basic flatwork/dressage (yes, they are interchangeable). That said, I must also slam the dressage outlook in the US, where many people have bastardized dressage into cramming the horse into a "frame" and teaching it tricks. No wonder dressage has such a bad rap! Pretty universally, all of the disciplines focus on "getting to the show ring." No sh*t, this is going to lead to shortcuts, teaching tricks, and non-classical riding. Now, please don't send me a dozen e-mails saying, "I don't do that." I realize that many riders and many trainers aren't guilty of these thing. However, in my opinion, it is common across the US in GENERAL.

    "The only thing you will ever get two horsepeople to agree on is that the third one is wrong" -Author Unknown



  19. #59
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    Jan. 12, 2000
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    What qualified it as "real" dressage versus something else? What is that something else...if it's not dressage?

    It's all about ME, ME, ME!!! (The only signature worthy of a real DQ.)
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  20. #60
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    I have been lamenting this for the last few years, watching the horses in my barn and area pushed to the brink....WHY IS EVERYONE IN SUCH A HURRY??????? There, I said it. Americans want the quick fix, the "are we there yet" mentality has settled in the horseworld. For both horses and riders, it's like, Oh he looks like he's ready, let's jump.
    I went to a show thing this weekend, and NO LIE, saw a three year old at his first outing, jumping 2 6" in DRAWREINS...God, I have never ever seen anyone do that before-this poor horse looked sooooo frightened [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img] ...and what was the point? He was owned by a local trainer who obviously is in a hurry to "make" him so he can be sold for a hefty profit. I see it too in eventing....kindof like one would say to your kids contemplating sex, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should".
    I don't get this hurry thing...Honestly, the two months off that my horse just had due to his hock injury has done more for us than all of our lessons and work. (I ride 5 or so days a week, 30 min max usually)...and he's 8!!!The slow road is a harder road taken, but the rewards are so much better. I just don't get it.....*sigh*

    "If you haven't gotten where you're going,you probably aren't there yet."-George Carlin
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