As Winter Sets In

November 29, 2011 Lillian Heard Lillian Heard

The season has officially ended over here.  The competition season that is. A new season of sorts has just begun. It is that time of the year when EVERYONE comes to Ireland to look at horses. I swear to you I have seen a greater variety of American event riders here in Ireland than I ever did back home. The best part is, no matter how little I really know the people who have come over, I act as if they are my long lost best friends.
Let me give you an example of an interaction. Now, keep in mind, I am always wearing this white USA hat because it is the only hat I have and it is always raining so I have to wear it. Plus I enjoy stubbornly holding on to my identity. As if my hat is saying, “yeah, I’m American, you won’t shame me into denying it”. Anyhow, this baseball cap means that anyone coming in can instantly identify me as Carol’s American girl (more of an official name over here than even “Lilly”).
So in walks the client and they immediately say, “ohhhh, you are Lillian, right?”
My reaction: “Oh my gosh, AMERICANS!!!!!! IT IS SO SO GREAT TO SEE YOU. How are you? How was your trip? I didn’t even realize you were coming?”
Keep in mind that I generally don’t even know half the people beyond the faint recollection of seeing them at events. They probably are thrown off by my over-enthusiasm at seeing them and wonder, “Geez, I didn’t think we knew each other that well but maybe I am forgetting something”. You see I just have this odd patriotic feeling that comes over me and makes me feel like anyone with my nationality is actually a member of my family. It is completely over the top. The good news is my enthusiasm normally wins them over and they soon begin to act as if they too believe us to be best friends. Then the girls I work with say, “wow, they must be your really good friends from back home”. I respond, “ehhhh, I am actually not sure we have ever met before”.  Just imagine what happens when an American comes that I actually am close with. My behavior borders on creepy. All I can say is I’m working on getting myself under control.
Even though we are not competing anymore, life at Fernhill remains very exciting because of all this activity. New horses are coming in all the time which is great because there is nothing quite like getting on a horse for the first time. You know that feeling when you have absolutely no idea what is going to happen? It reminds me of when I would watch game shows and I always wanted the contestant to choose what was behind the curtain instead of what they already had. That is what riding here is like. I am always getting the thrill of seeing what is behind the curtain.
They had a big end of the year Eventing Ball that I was lucky enough to attend. It was very exciting and I am not quite sure why we don’t do something like this at home. It was a formal event and, oddly enough, I did not pack my formal ball-gown when I came over. (Although I did pack a bathing suit? Why would I ever need a bathing suit in Ireland?) I had to buy a dress, and shoes, and jewelry, and makeup. I got all done up and headed down to the ball. Now first off, I would like to say that it was a great party. I may or may not have thrown some of my moves down on the dance floor. Those of you who have seen me dance know what I am talking about. For those of you who haven’t, imagine someone who can’t dance. That’s me.  
BUT the problem was, I once again was completely unable to keep pace with the Irish. I kid you not, the party ended at 7 am when they had to kick people out of the hotel bar so they could clean it for the coming day.  I think at about one in the morning (when dinner had just finished being served), I was sitting on the linoleum floor of the lobby nearly crying because I had had enough. Meanwhile everyone else was just starting to get into it.  All I can say is these people are legends and although they are engaging in potentially self-destructive behavior, they are a GOOD TIME.
So here I am, still in Ireland, riding, dancing, and acting a fool. A few parting notes: the weather has been better here than at home. I don’t know why I feel the need to do a daily weather comparison but it makes me happy. I have also adopted the barn cat as my own personal pet and due to a brief gender confusion, called him Petunia. I am refusing to back down from that name. 
Until next time!
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