Tuesday 6 February 2018

Don't go changin'.. to try to please me..(Oh wait - you haven't)

Hmm.  Let's see.  I haven't gone on COTH forums (Chronicle of the Horse) in about a year.  I wonder what is up over there?

How much has changed in the world of dressage and message boards, I wondered to myself on this slow and snowy Tuesday.  Dum de dum dumm. Hmm. Hmm Hmmmm. La la.

Oh my lord.  Woah.

Answer to my question - nothing. Not. A. Thing.

This is the second time I have used this image.  Which tells us something about dressage.

Well if you too have been there within the last few weeks, I don't need to tell you of what I speak here today.  If you haven't, and if you are up to it.. I am referring to the spills, chills and thrills of the Del Mar Livestream debacle. 

Del Mar Livestream Debacle

I haven't even made it to the Dropbox "Ladies of Iron Horse" rebuttal.  I really think I need wine for that, and although I do agree that it is always five o'clock somewhere, it is still before noon here and I will adhere to social norms today.

(Coles notes version for those of you who don't have the strength to go wading through the muck - very weak rider on stellar, confirmed in the 70%'s GP horse puts in horrible yank-n-spank I-2 test. Test is live streamed, along with commentary. Scores 50% then eliminated. Chaos ensues on COTH).

Why on Earth was I snooping around on COTH in the first place, after a year, you may wonder?

It is a bit of a long story, however the crux of it is that I ran into a  reader who asked me why I quit, and if I ever considered finishing the story, as people would like to know how it all ends.

The answer is - I think about finishing the story all of the time.  It makes me sad to think I had this fun project going on, and now, it sits stagnant, with so many people still to be mocked. I read over some of the old posts I made, and remember fondly the stupid shit that happened to me, and wonder what masochistic part of me made me keep on going.  I thank God or Aliens or whoever runs the universe that I never ever again have to haul a horse trailer every time I see one rolling down the road, and remember the shipping boots...  And so on.

But you know, this Del Mar Livestream thing may actually help me stay on the project this time.  Because it so accurately personifies the remainder of my story.  I think up to this point, the story has been - if you don't have much money, how do you get to be a dressage rider?  From here on in, the story changes to - if money is taken out of the equation - who gets to be a dressage rider?  And who has the fortitude to deal with people who are willing to pay to succeed? 

The other thing that may help me to stay on the project is that it has been almost 5 years since Coach Costly died.  So maybe enough time has passed that I can take another shot at the story.

Yes, huge spoiler alert here. One of the reasons I am really struggling to write this next section, and in fact, the whole rest of my story, is that not only was he a coach and a friend - which makes writing a fun and sarcastic blog pretty difficult to begin with - but he also died somewhere along the way, which makes it pretty much impossible.  One of his good friends that I had a run-in with (ha, won't this be a fun post, I told myself..he heee, just wait until I get to THIS!) - well he died too.  No so fun any more, is it, Curmudgeon.

I don't know the details of why / how he died (but I have my strong suspicions, as do all people who knew him even casually), but suffice it to say that any time a healthy person in their 40's passes away, something has gone horribly wrong.  And in his case, I do think trying to work in an industry that expects perfection from the people at the top of the sport, but gives them tools that are horribly inadequate and frustrating and unreasonable with which to do the job is a good recipe for disaster if you are at all inclined to issues with mental health or addiction.

Cringing through that I-2 test, then reading the comments I was reminded of all of this - and how at this point, choosing a side does get pretty difficult.  Should she be showing?  I am sure she is doing her very best, has tried very hard, is crushed and frustrated and humiliated to see this online (wow, so glad I was never live streamed). I actually did not watch the whole test because I felt so badly for her. But - no doubt - she was not ready for the test. So who's fault is it that she was in the ring?  Should her coach be embarrassed?  Is this her first coach?  Or - were there five other coaches she kicked to the curb when they told her not to show?  Has this coach been blowing smoke up her butt and she is stunned to find out she isn't good enough? Or trying to subtly, gently, encourage her to drop down a level without losing a customer and for all we know, her ability to pay her mortgage or something else? And above all - is it any of our effing business?  Is bad riding the very worst thing that can happen to a horse or rider?

Thank goodness no one is trying to make this horse do tempis with a swinging lower leg!

Who knows.  Not me.  But this is the first time in a while I have felt at all inspired to write, so maybe we can keep the momentum going here.

I will ask a favour though - If at any time, anyone feels that I have crossed a line in telling the story of Coach Costly (and I know many readers knew him personally) - please let me know immediately and I will edit the post.  And, if you see a post get edited, please be understanding.  I am not trying to sugar-coat or hide anything, but only to show respect to Coach C.

Wish me luck...


  1. YAY welcome back. Start dishing immediately. With respect of course. They are all Coach Costly these days.

  2. Thank you for coming back to finish the story.

  3. Surprised and delighted to see a post from you pop up in my Blog Reader list! I'm not going to the livestream OR its ensuing brew-ha-ha; there is enough angst in my world. I don't show anymore; not because I don't want to, but because my horse has Inflammatory Airway Disease and my money is going into private school for my teenager. When I did show, I was perfectly happy being a successful fish in a very small, local pond, and through All-Breeds Awards, a larger pond once upon a time – seems like a lifetime ago now. I took occasional lessons; never had a "coach," and never understood the need for that whole dynamic. I AM much more sympathetic for the horses these days....

  4. Yay! I always hoped you would finish the story

  5. Oh you are back!!! Please finish your story. Please, pretty please. You are my absolute favourite!

  6. Wahoo, love your blog! Hoping for lots more posts to follow :-)

  7. Glad to see you back! Looking forward to the next instalment

  8. OMG! It's ON again! Please write.
    I'm now I a situation where things are starting to look surreal. Please continue the story for those of us that are trying to stay the course. It's really hard to focus, it's gettin' foggy, and I really just want to do good training with my little horse...

  9. I am so glad that you are back.

  10. You're here! You're here! *jumpsupanddownandsqueals* I will be overjoyed to read anything you have to say and I know you can say it well and tactfully, with a side of snark. ;) Please hold forth!

  11. P.S. If the livestream replay of this person's ride is still available anywhere I'd love to see it. Cannot find it myself but if you have a link that would be super.

  12. Curmudgeon is BACK!

    Freaking awesome. :)

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