Bucket List – Accomplished

To counteract the thread of greed that runs through my Bucket List, herein a list of things that would be on my bucket list if I hadn’t already done them.

(What to call it? Filled bucket has stall-cleaning overtones. The anti-bucket lists in the ether where all things that people had no intention of ever doing. For example, Maria Ciampa’s Small Seat or Stoop List [as in overturned bucket]. Gotta say, I’m with her on the Brazilian. (I made a note of this post back in March. It has since been removed. Given my comment, you can imagine the contents.))

I am grateful for having…

+ Ridden at the National Horse Show, also, Washington International, Penn National, and Devon. Before you fall over in impressed faint, I rode in the side-saddle classes. Qualifying meant sending in a check. Side-saddle is a way for normal mortals to fly at these rarefied altitudes. I’m not bitter about the fact that I rode in the National the first year it moved from New York City to New Jersey. Really. Not bitter at all.

+ Won all my classes at a show. A small, one-day show. In one of the jumper classes, I was the only one who knew the correct procedure. I’ll take it.

+ Ridden abroad. I’ve done this twice. Once exercising an Italian racehorse and one on a French tourist ride. On the French ride, everyone expected me as the experienced rider to be thundering about. I can run amok on crazy horses any time. I meandered about slowly, enjoying the ride and watching the countryside.

+ Seen the Budweiser Clydesdales in person. One time, a rookie driver snarled the team and you could just about hear the horses think, ‘What is this clown doing?’ As you might imagine, tacking up the horses takes forever. Yet they stand quite still, pleased to the tips of their feathers* that they are Budweiser Clydesdales.

+ Seen the changing of the Queen’s Life Guard in London, (also here). You can have the dudes in furry hats, I went to see the horses. All mounts were beautifully trained & turned-out. The older campaigners stood like statues. A few younger ones kept their feet immobile but would indulge in the occasional head toss from sheer exuberance.

+ Ridden a jumping schoolmaster. She was so reliable, I remember coming out of a corner for a fence on the diagonal and knowing, with iron certainty, exactly where she was planning to put her feet 6 strides away. I was there to count the jump numbers and point out which one came next. I never made the mistake of thinking that our success made me a brilliant rider. It was all her.

+ Attended the biggies: many, many Rolexes (Rolexi?) [Peregrinatio], the Atlanta Olympics, the Rome World Equestrian Games, & the Lexington WEG.

(*Yes, feathers. The fluffy part of their long white socks.)

Whats on your accomplished bucket list?

Categories: Barn Life, Horse Shows, Horses, Riding

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2 replies »

  1. I think you just stormed to the top of my exceptionally cool list! I’ve ridden out West. Twice. Dreamed about that since the first time I read Smoky, The Cow Horse. The Budweiser Clydesdale’s head equine dentist was OUR equine dentist. I adored him and still get teary every time I think about him. (Think: Mickey Rooney in The Black Stallion) He died very suddenly just two weeks after he was last here. It always amazed me that someone so important, who got flown all over the country to care for the Clydesdale’s would come to MY house and do MY three horses …. and always treat us like we were family. I could go on and on about the way he worked and the ‘teaching” stories he told, but it should suffice to say that this was a good two decades before the term “Horse Whisperer” was ever uttered and I had the rare opportunity to know one.

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