So it`s Saturday, April 28th, 2012, 4:30 AM. By 7:30, we need to be on the GMHA grounds to be vetted in for the Mud Ride, and it`s 27 miles of bad road between South Woodstock, VT and Strafford, VT, and the three mares we are taking are outside, and need to be caught, brought in, fed, loaded, and hauled to the ride. I note that it`s pitch black outside, I hear the wind moaning off the hill, and I check the thermometer. Twenty four Farenheit, a heat wave compared to the predicted 22. Outside, in the yard, I note tendrils of fine snow caught in the windshield wipers, and in the overhead lights, I can see random white flakes blowing horizontally against the black bulk of the barn. I think to myself: “This could be a long day!”
Flick back twenty years to late April, 1992, Rolex, Kentucky, The Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, Kentucky. I wake up at 5:00 AM, and hear heavy rain pelting against my window. Munching hay, warm and dry in stalls, neither Epic Win nor Griffin are aware that in a few hours they will be galloping around in that slop with, unfortunately, me on top telling them, more or less, where they are supposed to go.
Later, as I walk around the collecting ring on my first ride, Griffin, with cold rain finding it`s way through the minute flaws in my rain gear, and trickling down my back, I look up to see Ralph Hill, looking like some deranged pirate, walking beside me. Rain is dripping off both points of his moustache, off his pony tail, and glistens off his gold earing. He gives me that manic grin, and announces, “Another day at the office!” And I think, “This is going to be a long day.”
The GMHA Mud Ride a couple of days ago was the start of my 59th consecutive season of competing in horse events, so I`ve had lots of those “This is gonna be a long day” mornings, and I have never learned to like them, and I`ve never missed a chance to whine and complain about the weather. Especially when it`s early morning bad weather. Before coffee bad weather. Wet, cold bad weather. Cold, windy bad weather. Cold, wet, windy, early morning, dark, before coffee with little hope of redemption bad weather.
Personally, I think it`s a mark of flawed character to be stoic and brave about adverse weather conditions. Can`t those people see that mud, all that white snow, that rain, the trees bending in the wind? Are they oblivious to the cold, the feeling of soaked breeches, the water in their boots? Were they born, like, you know, brain dead?
“Whimps of the world, unite”, is my motto. Why fight it? If it`s too hot, too wet, too dusty, too cold, too muddy, too rainy, too snowy, too windy, at least have the good grace to whine about it. Let others be brave and feel all superior—-I prefer to snivel.