Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On Ponies and People

It's starting to feel like a Norse saga, this quest to help Wren learn to ride horses.

Series of scary falls this winter = slightly fearful-in-the-saddle child. Venerable pony who teaches all new little kids passes away in March. A few weeks later, new ponies come who can teach the little kids to ride. Wren falls in love with one of them, an aged paint mare who is super-quiet, and clearly knows her job. She even halts square without being asked. Wren is delighted. Wren decides we will buy said ancient pony and build a barn.

Wren tries to ride in the small barn show this past weekend, but can only muster the courage for two classes and the vaulting. She rides Champ in one class (and freaks out afterward and has to put Champ away), and then is persuaded to ride Candy (aged pony mare) in the Trail class. She vaults on Beau, the 17h Belgian Draft gelding, and gets anxious and cries when she sits on a pony and walks around. I know this is a phase -- she loves horses probably more than I did at her age -- but it's sad and frustrating and disheartening to watch your child struggle this way.

And then. And THEN, the twentysomething year old owner of said new ponies (and two other horses) defaults on the co-op boarding arrangement she had with our trainer, and has to come and take her ponies back. So now there are no dead-quiet ponies to ride.

Now we are struggling with the decision to buy a quiet, older pony for Wren to learn on, or just tough it out and see what happens over the summer with the school ponies that are already in the barn. Ancient pony, Candy, is twenty, and needs some groceries and some care, but seems otherwise healthy. She certainly knows her job. Check out this square halt in the Trail class on Sunday:

Seriously. I mean, look at that.

We don't know what to do. I asked our trainer for her input and advice, so I am waiting to hear back from her on the subject. Summer's coming, which should easily equal more time out at the barn, riding, for both of us, but it's such a big risk, I feel almost paralyzed by the choices and options.

And, then there is Boston.

As a runner, and a parent, and a spouse, and hell, as a person in the world, I am beyond appalled by the horrible acts of deranged people. I have crossed the finish line of a few races, including the Monument Avenue 10K, which regularly has tens of thousands of walkers and runners. Crossing that line was one of the most exhilarating, empowering, emotional experiences I've ever had. I can't even fathom what it would be like to forever have the terror of a bombing attached to that experience. When I went out for what ended up being a fairly crummy run last night, it was all I could think about -- what it was like to run for miles, and then, come within sight of the finish, people cheering, your friends and family cheering, waiting to fold you in their arms and celebrate a significant accomplishment with you...and then to have it all taken away by horror and pain and destruction wrought by some bottom-feeding asshole with fucked-up internal wiring.

I thought about the thousands of runners who were competing in their first Boston Marathon who didn't get to finish, who were stopped a mile or so before the end and told the race was over, because of aforementioned Bottom-Feeding Asshole. Or the people who will now never run again because BFA fixed it so they had their legs blown off while watching and cheering from the sidelines. Their legs. When they went down to watch the runners, they had their legs, and they used them to get to the best vantage point for watching the finish. And then, by 3pm, they were amputees. I can't even...

And that one, completely devastated family whose father/husband ran the marathon, and who has now lost a son, and has a daughter and wife/mother critically injured, and a daughter who witnessed the horror.

I am so very tired of horrible people. I am so very tired of people sometimes.

I wonder what races and sporting events will look like now. Will I have to forgo my husband and kids cheering for me from the sidelines at the finish in order to be safe while I compete? What will we do as a society about whatever is causing people to lose their minds and inflict this kind of craziness? What IS causing this sort of thing to happen?

Conspiracy theorists and tea party people need not comment. There's nothing you have to say that I am willing to listen to.

I guess for now, the best thing to do is.....carry on. I am pledged to run 26.2 for Boston, and my goal is to complete that as quickly as possible without injuring myself. I think it will take me two and a half weeks, tops. I'm not going to stop running. Or riding, or going out or being at concerts or fairs or street festivals or sporting events. To do that gives the BFA's of this world power that they are not entitled to.

Tomorrow, I will run.

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