We faced the morning—our first in Florida after our whirlwind exploration of Ft. Worth, Texas, and its environs—with great optimism in terms of the weather: The sun was struggling out from behind the clouds and the grass in West Palm Beach is most certainly green. One step out-of-doors, however, sent us running back up the eight floors we’d just descended in search for the jackets and sweatshirts we’d at first so blithely left behind. It was COLD today!!!
Despite our issues with the GPS in Texas, we for some foolish reason thought technology deserving of a second (third?) chance, but of course it brought us only to the very-much-locked gate (no doubt the “rear” entrance) of the gated horse community in which the Palm Beach Dressage Derby was taking place…so we waited for some kind, semi-local soul with a key code to come along and let us follow him in. I’ve never been in an area where the law states (and signage, too!) that drivers must proceed slowly due to the presence of horses…it made me feel rather empowered, despite the fact that I was behind the wheel and not in the saddle. I guess it helps to know that somewhere, sometimes, horses and riders get the right of way and a little respect from passing motorists.
We spent a jolly morning with Kathy Connelly, international dressage rider, trainer, and coach; met up with TSB author Jane Savoie’s husband Rhett; and had an absolutely terrific time with Yvonne Barteau and the ever-engaging GP Raymeister, the handsome Holsteiner stallion she’s trained and ridden for seven years. Ray is full of character, and we always love getting the chance to see him go!
We finally left the Derby grounds to visit with Betsy Steiner, author of A GYMNASTIC RIDING SYSTEM USING MIND, BODY & SPIRIT, and had the pleasure of watching her long-line two very different (in terms of conformation, personality, and way of going) horses as she explained her views on the benefits of long-line work. It was really fun to go through her barn with her and see the variety of horses she has in training, including Warmbloods, a Lusitano, and two Fjords!
We wrapped up our day with dinner in Wellington with TSB author and USEF “R” Hunter/Hunter Equitation judge Geoff Teall (yes, more eating!), which helped us segue from our day in “dressage land” to tomorrow’s show jumping Grand Prix. We’ll post photos and news from the event here on our blog, FB, Twitter, and Instagram.
I’m sure hoping the Florida weather gods will turn a kind (aka warm) eye toward us poor Northeasterners with only a short-term pass to the land of sun, but we hear it will again be COLD tomorrow…and it may even RAIN.
And believe it or not, even in the cold, Martha and I both somehow managed to end the day with a sunburn! I know that when in Wellington one shouldn’t really complain, but it just doesn’t seem fair…