Eventing can be a confusing sport. If I had a penny for every time I’ve been confounded by a question like “Will anyone notice if I sub in a different horse for dressage?” or “Why is the TD screaming at me again?,” I could afford to just buy myself a stupid Rolex and call it a day.
Fortunately, however, I have learned from my many, many mistakes. You might even say I’ve grown wise over the years, especially if you don’t know me that well. Every now and again, I distribute that wisdom free of charge via an advice column called “Ask the Expert”–kind of like “Dear Abby” if Abby was an event rider with questionable judgment and way too much time on her hands.
I am so freaking sick of winter. I hate breaking ice in water troughs, I hate trotting around and around the indoor, I hate frozen poop balls... I hate it all. And more than anything, I hate seeing cheery little Facebook posts from fellow eventers who are preparing to head south for the winter. Why do I have to stay up here in blistering cold for three more months while they get to go start their seasons in paradise? Oh yeah, it's because I have a husband, kids and a real-world job. Any advice?
Miserable in Minnesota
Dear Miserable in Minnesota,
Man, do I understand your pain. Frozen poop balls are the worst! But I have some good news for you: Where there's a will, there's a way.
First, let's talk about your job. It sounds like a real drag. My advice: quit and find another one that better suits your snowbird lifestyle, a.k.a. enables you to make mad bank working from home (or an extended-stay hotel room at the winter eventing destination of your choice). There are loads of opportunities out there. In fact, here's an offer that popped up on my computer screen just a few minutes ago:
$750 a day! Do you make $750 a day at your current job? Um, probably not. Considering the fact that you participate in the world's most expensive sport, maybe it's time to raise the bar on your earning potential. Check your inbox and/or spam folder to see what sorts of exciting and lucrative work-from-home job offers await!
Next, the family "problem." I put "problem" in quotation marks because it's not that you don't love your family--it's just that they're holding you back from realizing your true winter eventing potential. It's a delicate situation, but there IS a solution that doesn't involve divorce court and a lifetime of abandonment issues for your kids.
You know that metaphor about boiled frogs? How if you put a frog in a pot of hot water it will jump out, but if you heat the water slowly the frog will cook to death without even realizing it? Well, that’s how you’re going to need to go about this.
First, pick an event--Rocking Horse, Sporting Days, etc.--and tell everyone you’re going down for the weekend to get a jump start on your season. Yeah, it's a long drive, but it's just a few days, no big deal! But on Sunday when you should be heading home, your truck “breaks down.” This is a totally believable story, as breaking down is pretty much what all trucks do. Then, on Monday, the “mechanic” tells you he can’t get the part until “later in the week.” Still believable. After a few days he calls you back to profusely apologize that “it’s a very rare part” and “he’s going to have to special order it from the factory.” Then, “the delivery truck gets snowed in by a 'blizzard,'” and so on and so forth. You think I’m kidding, but a variation on this theme bought me almost two months in Ocala one year.
Good luck, and Go Eventing!
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