Monthly Archives: July 2013

Big Momma Bernadette

Last Wednesday I accomplished a huge goal in my young adult life — I bought a truck!!!!!!

Weee! I’m just tickled to bits.

Bernadette is the name of my new used 2004 GMC Sierra 2500HD. She’s a 6.6L Duramax Diesel and she’s one big momma truck. She’s so perfect, and I’m glad I stuck to my guns and got exactly what I want.

I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t thank Cortney for helping me on my quest. He arranged his schedule so that he could accompany me to every test drive, showed me things to look for, gave honest assessments, shared in my excitement, and was general great moral support. He persevered when I was feeling discouraged, and he gets all the credit for finding Bernadette. I don’t know if he reads my blogs, but just in case – thank you again and again for your love and attention.

Since before I even had a driver’s license, I wanted a truck. Because every barn girl needs her truck! I’d burn with envy anytime a friend, acquaintance, even a family member acquired a truck, particularly when they actually had no actual need for a truck.

But I NEEDED a truck. Waah! (Cue my mother’s bizarre boy choir rendition of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” that she blurted at me on a number of occasions as a child.)

The funding for my farm girl truck would not be lent nor gifted. And whilst I longed for wheels, I longed more to compete, and so that is where the majority of my “spare cash” was spent. Then, life happens, as it tends to, and trucks and trailers and new saddles and more horses and certain dreams go by the wayside along with all your hard earned savings.

Now I’ve been questioned at least once, and it wouldn’t be unreasonable for someone to think— “But why do you need a truck? You don’t even have a h—-”

And then you’d stop yourself because you’d realize that wouldn’t be a very kind thing to think.

When I lost Sam, my emotions tugged in several directions. I was devastated, for one, frustrated I couldn’t do more to help him, angry at the general unfairness of it all. And after the shock wore off, I felt more helpless, desperate, and anxious than anything.

After five years separated from Sam in my attempt to complete my degree and figure out a career, I was delighted to not only have Sam back last year, but for the prospects of getting back to eventing. We were both ready, but I failed him.

He didn’t get his chance again, and I feel like I’m pulling further and further away from my roots as an event rider as the years go by, despite being the editor at the sport’s stateside Association magazine. What?? The more time goes by, the more anxious I am to get back to it, and fearful that I never will.

A small part of me might have purchased this truck to fill the void Sam left behind. Another small part of me might have purchased the truck because “I deserve it, dammit!” But more than anything, I bought the truck because I vowed that before I became a horse owner once again, I would have transportation for my animal.

And I have to start somewhere.

So I started with my truck.



Covers and Stuff

My colleague, Hannah Bennett, and I, have printed seven issues of Eventing USA this year. All of them have gone to the printers and been delivered to USEA members on time or early, and we are extremely proud of the work we’ve done.

We insist on great visuals, and we use our own photos as often as possible to save on costs; despite the new perfect binding and heavier paper, we are still, as of now, within budget.

I’m do a lot of writing myself, but I’m always welcoming new freelancers and am grateful for the excellent team of writers I employ. The magazine has a solid focus on education and community, and consistently promotes the USEA website for competition results and sponsor and program information.

We are delighted, also, to celebrate the sport’s history by periodically reprinting old articles that are now available on the magazine’s digital archives, thanks to the USEA Endowment Trust, as well as dig through the incredible black and whites we’ve got in our photo archives.

We pinch ourselves when we think about how much we’ve accomplished this year, and try not to think to hard about the fact that we are currently working on Issue 8.

Issue 7 hits mailboxes next week. We really like this one!

Meanwhile, I have a few more covers to brag about…click on the “Photography” tab in the menu bar to see more of my published images!

January/February 2013 The Convention Issue

January/February, Issue 1 2013
The Convention Issue


March, Issue 2 2013
The Gold Cup Preview Issue


July, Issue 6 2013
The Community Issue

Chatt Hills Summer 2

How is that the last three… make that five?… mid-July Chattahoochee Hills Horse Trials in Fairburn, Georgia, the weather has been bearable if not downright pleasant. Every year we say “there’s no way we’ll get this lucky again,” and every time we do… except I’ve jinxed it now, so…

I was called last minute to announce at the second of the back-to-back weekend horse trials. I love going to Area III events. So much nostalgia, so many friends, plus, I get to see my Ma!

In exchange for all that nice weather and friendly fun time, the other trend for Chatt Hills shows, at least for me, seems to be less-than-stellar travel experiences. There was that time we got rerouted to Chattanooga to refuel because storms kept us from making a timely descent into Atlanta. We spent a while on the runway before de boarding in the most customer-unfriendly airport I’ve seen (I hear they are renovating, please for the love of all things).

Then there was the time Hurricane Sandy was headed for shore in the northeast, sources told me the Dulles airport would shut down by 7pm until who knows, and I felt it in my best interest to book it to the airport, hop on an early flight on standby, and get home in time to meet the storm that would cut out our power for days in the sub-30 degree weather.

This time. THIS TIME, what is normally an hour and fifteen minute flight became a seven hour excursion/adventure around the Charlotte airport.

Because of the short booking notice, my flight path included a connection in Charlotte, NC (NICE airport by the way. very homey and friendly). The first leg of the trip was uneventful. I arrived right on time to hit the restroom, grab a beverage, and though I contemplated buying a dinner plate to take on the plane, I opted otherwise.

Board plane. Will my bag fit in the overhead? With enough force, yes. Am I glad to have an aisle seat even though I usually like the window? Turns out, yes. I’ve never flown U.S. Airways, is it as much of a train wreck as United? Nope! This plane is new and clean and the seats are leather and there’s plenty of legroom even though I’m not sitting in a “preferred” seat.

“Ladies and gentleman this is your captain speaking. There is a delay due to storms in the Atlanta area. We will update you shortly. Apologies, apologies.”

Commence passenger grumbling.

“Ladies and gentleman, wheels up time won’t be for at least another two hours due to storms in the Atlanta area. We will update you shortly. Considerable apologies.”

By now, this mustache’d guy in the opposite aisle becomes very shrill. And he’s found a friend in his neighbor, who agrees with his every rude word and makes themselves look like much bigger jerks than they probably are in their day-to-day. So, this guy summons a young male flight attendant whose U.S. Airways-issued coat is far too big for his small frame and proceeds to drill the boy on the quality of the captain’s radar in the cockpit and whether or not he really thinks the weather will be any better in two hours.

Is there actually a question here?

At the first opportunity the kid ducks away, not having uttered a word, as he did not have an opportunity in between being berated. Later, the same rude man tries to flag down and interrogate a female flight attendant with considerable more experience than the boy. She promptly put him in his place… smiling all the while, of course.

My own aisle neighbor wakes up from a snooze. “Did they say we could deboard and come back? I think I’d fancy a beer.”

Good show! Let’s go.

We invited the third passenger in our aisle to join us. She declined (though she later admitted to regretting that decision). We de-boarded the plane, grabbed a beer across the hall, made it back in time to board again, settled into our seats once more, and backed away from the gate.

“Where are we going?”

“Are we turning around?”

“We’ve just gone from the Z gates to the A gates!”

“Ladies and gentleman this is your captain speaking. *pause pause pause for effect, or maybe for fear* The delay in Atlanta is indefinite. Endless apologies.”

Rawrr!! from the crowds.

Now we’re stuck on the tarmac for who knows how long. There in no food (or booze) stocked on the plane since it was scheduled to be a very short flight, and the emergency cookie stash cannot be distributed until we have been stranded on the plane for at least an hour-and-a-half.

I really should have gotten that dinner plate to go.

“Ladies and gentleman…………………………………………………..there’s a ground halt in Atlanta. We won’t be going anywhere for a while. SO SORRY PLEASE DON’T HATE ME.”

And the crowd. goes. wild.

Well now what? My aisle mate, who turns out to be an entrepreneur and music producer about my age, simply must be in Atlanta by morning. We start plotting to split a car rental and drive the three-ish hours into Atlanta, where we both have additional rental cars waiting, just in case they take us back to the gate and we can de-plane again.

It was a great plan, but unnecessary. Around 8 o’clock, we finally took off to the cheers of hundreds. Our options during the beverage service were bottled water or orange juice. And we never got any cookies for our trouble.

45 minutes later we landed in Atlanta.

“Ladies and gentleman, due to the traffic on the ground, the gates are all full. We’ll be waiting a few minutes before we park.”

Not much to do at that point but laugh.