Sunday, August 13, 2006

Horsing Around

Yesterday D and I went to our first horse show. It was in an extremely tony area and the rich folks were out in force. At this particular show (what is referred to a hunter/jumper show) they even judge the tack rooms. The farms where the various horses are from put up these amazing portable stalls and tack rooms, at the front of each is a seating area under lovely cabanas, complete with fountains, gorgeous flowering plants and monogrammed directors’ chairs. Some even brought their own sod so the area in front of the cabana would look fresh and green, and put down expensive carpeting under the teak furniture.

The winning farm also used expensive wood (mahogany?) for the individual horse’s tack boxes. You could literally smell the money. There was a huge covered viewing area for sponsors only, but they were nice enough to set up smaller covered bleacher seats for the riff-raff.

Vendors of high-end tack, riding clothes and jewelry were there to take your hard-earned money. I was lusting over a pair of butter-soft Ferragamo riding boots that cost more than most of the shoes in my closet combined. The age range of the competitors was from about 7 to about 55; the smallest children rode ponies. The entire time I kept wishing that I had had the chance to start riding so much earlier in life. Not that I would have necessarily competed, but I wouldn’t still be learning how to trot as good as a 7 year-old.

There has been so much going on in the news lately, and I’ve consciously avoided blogging about it. Partly because this isn’t a political blog, and partly because I don’t want to deal with the fallout from the crazies who troll blogs looking for key words so they can write hate-spam. One of my favorite bloggers, Helen at Everyday Stranger, lives in the UK and heard the news of the arrests of the would-be terrorists hours before we did here in the US. She wrote a post detailing her feelings on travel and her despair at the state of the world. It didn’t take long before part of her post was copied by a widely-read political blogger (who I refuse to link to here) to show the “moonbat” perspective. Of course it was taken out of context, but that didn’t stop the hateful trolls from inundating her comments and email with insults, anti-American rhetoric and even a few death threats. Because of this exchange she was also invited by Fox News America to come on their radio show as a guest to share her perspective, which she bravely did.

This all made me very angry. Not only because I love Helen, but because I strongly feel she has every right to say whatever the hell she wants to say on her own blog without fear of someone threatening to slit her throat. If we all start censoring ourselves, what are we left with? Of course, we all must live with the consequences of our actions, but once again, if you don’t like what you are reading, you’re welcome to leave.

One of my favorite talk-show hosts is a guy from LA named Karel. He’s the first openly gay host on KGO, which is consistently rated the best talk radio station in America. I don’t always agree with everything he says (although I do more often than not) but I do agree with his feelings on the situation in the Middle East. Here’s a link to a recent post of his that says it better than I could.

In unrelated news, I hired a professional blog designer to spruce up these digs a bit. Watch this space for a new, improved design shortly.


  1. Wow, lots going on! First off - you are just so gorgeous! Love the pix of you. And fun! New blog design!

    And, yes, the state of the world is so depressing. Lately the only part of the Sunday NYT I read is the styles section. I"m doing exactly what Noam Chompsky says not to - putting my head in the sand. Some days I just dont have the gumption to deal...

    That's terrible about Helen. I agree that self-censorship would be bad.

  2. Hi Donna,

    Salvatore Ferragamo boots - yummy. Am drooling over here in NM too. But I don't think I could bring myself to actually wear them anywhere near the barn! I guess if I could bring my own green turf and teak furniture along to a horseshow, I could have as many pairs as I wanted ... ;-)

    Thanks for introducing me to Helen's EveryDay Stranger blog. I've added her to my RSS reader and she's going on my daily read list. After reading the post in question, I am really shocked that she was on the brunt end of all that hate mail. What she wrote is her business, her opinion. I hope she'll stay true to that voice of hers. It's a good one. I'm glad she had an opportunity to speak on Fox.

    I do read Michelle Malkin regularly, but I don't think that labeling Helen a moonbat is accurate or appropriate. There's a lot of name calling as the world seems to be unraveling around us. I think it's to a large extent a byproduct of fear. (accompanied sometimes by stupidity, ignorance, intolerance, rudeness, pride ... etc.)

    Frankly, I think we Americans could learn a lot about courage and bravery from the Brits.

    I enjoyed reading the Karel post you linked to also. What a thoughtful expression of one man's feelings about all of this. He writes--we're fighting an ideology, not a country. And ideas spread, and survive, even if the original people with them are killed. I agree wholeheartedly.

    Looking forward to seeing your new blog design. And I must chime in with elle... that's a beautiful photo of you!

    Pax. Kimberly

  3. Thanks for writing about horses again - it's always a great reminder for me to look around for some riding stables nearby. I'm going to try lining up something for my son - so he can try to learn and trot as well as the seven year olds :)

  4. Glad you had a good time at the horsie shoe. It's amazing what people spend their money on, isn't it?
    Ahh..I am sorry that Poor Helen had to deal with that crap. Poor girl. You are right, she should be able to say whatever the friggin' hell she wants on her own blog. Damn people!

  5. Love the photos, hate people who use blog comments to bash people instead of keeping their mean thoughts to themselves.

    Your horse posts make me want to go take riding lessons. I haven't been on a horse since age 18 or so and it used to be such a passion of mine. (There's that money thnig).

  6. Once again, you look fabulous in that picture. It's insanely nice.

    Second, thanks for the nice words. I honestly appreciate it.

    And third: EEEE! New design. With anyone I know? :) New designs are exciting, a fresh feeling is sometimes just what you need.

  7. You look A MAZE ING!!!!!!

    How awesome that you were able to go to that show.

    I hope you are well,

  8. That show sounds like so much fun. The boots are to die for.

    Poor Helen. I didn't think what she wrote was all that hate mail worthy (like anything is). I guess it doesn't take alot anymore does it?

  9. I love the pictures from the show, and the picture of you.

    I always feel special if we spiff up our horses before a show, I can't imagine bringing my own tented area and grass!

    I read your link to Helen and agree that her post should not have been bashed. Her blog, her opinion, her thoughts.

  10. Gorgeous photos! Horse shows are so much fun! I couldn’t imagine showing at such a high end show though! I’m glad Helen didn’t back down. It’s scary to think that people still threaten your life just for expressing your opinion!

  11. oooh... this is so up my alley... think I'll do this with the DH sometime... maybe we'll meet up?

    hope you are feeling good.

  12. You look so at home with that horse. Love the pic! I can't believe the rest of the show stuff.

    And why so many haters? life is too short to have so much hate.

  13. That's the first thing I thought of when I saw your pic - WOW! You look very content and beautiful. You really seem to have a passion with these horses - it fits.

    As for the state of the world, it's just all so sad. I hate politics - both right and left. I feel like a lousy citizen, but I can barely stand to stay tuned to the news anymore. It just makes my head spin.