The Highs and Lows

June 23, 2012 Lillian Heard Lillian Heard
Well everybody, I have an update on the subject of my show attire that was featured in my previous blog.
I bought a tweed jacket.
I know, I know. I was going to stick it out and remain true to my nation-specific sense of style but I broke down. You see when you first see the tweed, it looks really ugly but then EVERYBODY wears it and you just start to loose perspective. All of a sudden I am in the tent at the show saying to my friend, “Ohhhh, look at this tweed pattern. And those buttons…can you even believe the price? What a steal. Oh look, they have my size”. Then I think in my head, what is happening to me? Needless to say, I bought the jacket. At my next event I won the dressage on Barnaby with a 27 and then jumped double clear to win the class. Was it because of my superior horse training skills? Or was it because of the tweed jacket? Check out his picture and decide for yourself…
That business aside, I have even bigger and more exciting news (difficult to imagine, I know). After a phenomenal year abroad, I have decided to move back to the states. This might come as a shock to some of you who have heard me say things like, “I am a professional traveler and I really have no intention of ever coming home”. But I was offered a position I couldn’t turn down riding, teaching, and training at Bascule Farm in Poolesville, MD. This is the farm where I first learned to ride. When Julie Hagen, my first coach, called me up and told me she wanted me to set up shop with her back home, I thought “this is a once-in-a-lifetime offer”. A couple weeks ago I flew home to teach a clinic and was incredibly excited because this facility is unbelievable and the people are wonderful. So as of September 1st, I am officially accepting horses to train, students to teach, and really any other business that my expertise might allow (tweed jacket style tips, anyone?). As a family member so kindly put it,
“Oh, so you have decided to finally grow-up”
My response: “Oh, you mean my current mantra of ‘have horse, will travel’ is not a grown-up way of life”
Their response: “It’s not exactly that so much as your mantra of ‘I don’t care the conditions I am living under or the pay I am receiving as long as I am becoming a better rider’ that really sets you apart from the rest of us concerned about our FUTURE”
Me: “Well when you put it that way…”
         Do not fear. Since I am not moving back until September, there will still be plenty of international foolishness on my part before I return. Two weeks ago, I went to Tattersalls, the big three-day in Ireland, to help my friend Logan Rawlings (another ex-pat) and to visit with my Irish friends. On the way there, of course our truck broke down. After towing it back, borrowing a new lorry, and catching the next ferry to Ireland, we were on the road for twelve hours and arrived about 45 minutes before the jogs.
We had two horses, unbraided and dirty, that needed to be presentable for the 3-star jog. Typical Lillian, right? Logan of course was freaking out but as we pulled through the gates, two of my Irish friends, Annalena and Hugh were walking through the car-park. Within minutes, the horses were off and my friends were braiding and grooming and preparing them. In a shocking turn of events, we ended up being early for the jog. Of course, Logan thought I was some sort of celebrity. What I didn’t tell her was that we were just lucky that basically the only two friends I have were the two people we ran into when we entered the gates.
The Irish haven’t lost their charm and I had a great time catching up with everyone. Unfortunately, Logan and I had a horrible end to our week when her wonderful horse Harvey landed from a fence on cross country wrong and did irreparable damage to his leg. He had to be put down but let me tell you, both Logan and Harvey handled their pain with grace and class. I got to once again learn the lesson that this sport has the highest highs and lowest lows but it’s the character of the wonderful people involved that make the most desperate moments bearable.
 Looking to the future, I am moving Barnaby up to prelim at my next event. Tweed jacket at the ready, I couldn’t be more prepared. I also have plans to spend this Saturday night with my fellow blogger Meg Kep and the fabulous Sinead Halpin. It is going to be epic. I will be sure to have a few stories worth telling so stay tuned!

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