Karen and I have been talking for two years now. We met thanks to our blogs, in my case specifically thanks to Liz! Karen comments on Liz's often and one day I clicked over to check out her blog. And realized she had mine on her blog list too. Her most recent post at the time (October 7, 2013) was about having a best friend who rides and how much that meant to her. And it struck a chord with me: I met my best FL friend Diana at the barn and we had just clicked from Day 1. She had been one of those people I met and immediately thought, "OMG I really, really want to be your friend!" That doesn't happen every day: friendship at first sight. And it was mutual. It was like Diana and I had always known one another. The barn became the setting for our friendship and though we didn't get to ride together very often (she had a very demanding infant and very little spare time), our endless chatter and laughter over life and work and horses while doing barn chores was one of the biggest highlights of my day for my remaining time in South FL. I missed that. I still do. And Karen's post touched on that, so I commented.
She then started commenting on my blog as well. And then we started e-mailing. And then texting. And for the longest time now, not a day goes by that we don't communicate. And you know what I said about Diana in the above paragraph? That's how it's been with Karen too: she is very familiar to me, as if I have always known her. Which is why I would constantly forget the fact that I had never met her in person! Not in this lifetime, at least.
That changed on Saturday, October 17, 2015, exactly two years and 10 days after "meeting" online. :)
Karen travelled out to Baltimore, MD for work-related reasons (which turned into quite the adventure. Read her story here!) and scheduled the trip so that she would have time to swing by Frederick to meet up before having to fly back home to Colorado on her last day in my state.
She had wanted to meet the horses and I had originally planned to take her out on a long trail ride on the barn's trails, me on Lily and her on Gracie so she could see the fall colors, which were very close to peak when Karen was here. They get the color changes in CO but due to the drier climate it's not quite as dramatic as it is here, and I'd really been looking forward to this ride. Except Lily decided to break her face that same week (I'm telling you, every time I have planned something with her this year, she has hurt herself. The only thing she let me do with her this year was Foxcatcher in April. Literally every week before I've been about to take her somewhere or do something especially significant, she has hurt herself. I don't understand, and the whole point of getting the trailer was so we could go out and do stuff!) so there went the plans for the trail ride. Technically Lily could be ridden but she had her mummy bandage on her face and I knew that if she were to sweat underneath it (which she inevitably would) it would make her that much more itchy. I had already caught her trying to rub her face on things as it was, and decided to not tempt Fate. I was so upset.
|I mean, seriously horse, what the hell is wrong with you?!|
We gave one another a big, big hug and it was like we had been talking face-to-face for the last two years. Like we had always known one another. Whether it shows on the blog or not, IRL I have a shy streak a mile wide which did show itself when I initially met Liz three summers ago, but that shyness did not even take a peak when meeting Karen.
She helped me get the girls from the field and got to see Gracie's dog impersonation first hand: if you pet G-Mare's forehead and then stop, she'll nudge your hand for you to continue. They both had their mashes while we groomed them. Lily's bandage had what appeared to be strikethrough so I decided to remove it to take a look at the wound. The wound actually looked great: the Telfa pad over the sutures had slid down and the Furazone underneath it had soaked through the Elastikon. So I removed everything, wiped the medication off of the sutures with clean rolled cast padding, then applied a new Telfa with Furazone and the mummy figure-8 bandage. Karen helped me with it because, while the wound didn't seem to hurt Lily at all, she was being weirdly reactive about the roll of Elastikon going around her head. So Karen also got to see the side of Lily that I rarely blog about (because the blog would be one angry tirade if I did).
|I was grinning over meeting Karen, NOT over having to re-do the bandage.|
This was the 4th time in 5 days that I had had to replace it.
I did some groundwork with Gracie but she was especially glued to my side on this day and was not really responding to my requests to go out to the rail and work. Adorable, yes, but she's still supposed to do as I say. My other bone to pick was that she was changing directions at close quarters by turning away from me: normally she'll turn facing me. (We have reviewed both of these issues and corrected them in later sessions.) She cracked me up by occasionally trotting or cantering right past Karen, who was sitting on the mounting block watching, to check her out.
Video by Karen
Still, what I like the most about this kind of session with Gracie is seeing what she brings to the table. She has been extra, extra lovey with me lately and it shone bright and clear during our show for Karen.
|Pic from another evening where I was just hanging out next to her and she totally put her head on my shoulder for attention. Check out her expression over being kissed. <3 She's a total marshmallow, this one.|
|Gait. Specifically Gracie's slow rack.|
Here you can see where Gracie changes from rack to trot: lateral to diagonal movement.
Afterwards I took the blonde bombshell out into the grassy area over by the jump field so Karen could see how different she is outside of the arena. G-Mare was on fire, snorting with every stride, but extending and collecting her gait at my slightest request. She was awesome.
We walked her back to the barn, where she was untacked and released in her field.
After that, we met up with Charles at Sabor de Cuba, our fave Cuban place in downtown Frederick. He was working that afternoon but had to leave at exactly the same time as Karen, so it worked out perfectly. Karen got to try vaca frita (shredded beef, fried), tostones and maduros. We later went for a walk through town so Karen could find gifts for the family.
We also took her to Carroll Creek, one of my favorite parts of downtown where everything takes place during the warm months, so Charles could get evidence of this visit! :D
The visit was over way too soon: Karen had to return to Baltimore to make her flight. We hugged good-bye in the parking lot, until we meet again!
Thank you so much for stopping by Karen! It was beyond wonderful to finally get to meet you! <3