O’Connor Event Camp Day 2: Flowers, and Cake, and a Hat

Today is my 47th birthday.

I have never been shy about my age. I’ve never wanted to look younger than I am, or pretended to be an age other than I was; I love my birthday. I don’t expect trumpet processionals or lavish gifts, but I really do like a small fuss being made. One of my favorite things about Facebook is that it tells all my friends that today’s my birthday, so I get well-wishes from people I haven’t seen for 20 years. This makes me happy.

When I was a kid I always felt a little sorry that I had a summertime birthday. Other kids envied the fact that I didn’t have to go to school on my birthday, but I wanted to be able to pass out a special treat to everyone. I wanted to wear the special birthday hat. In the summer, that doesn’t happen.

Unless you happen to have your birthday during O’Connor Event Camp. What a day! First of all, if you gave me the choice of anything at all to do on my birthday, having a morning flat lesson with Karen O’Connor and an afternoon jump lesson with David O’Connor would probably be pretty high on that list. Second, I got to spend the whole day with my gorgeous daughter and our two lovely horses. I keep hoping some other mother/daughter combos are going to come to camp. It’s so much fun to do this together. Last, and absolutely not least, at lunch they surprised me with a big birthday cake. I got to blow out all the candles-they were trick candles, so I blew them out several times-and then I got to share my birthday treat with all my fellow campers. And they gave me a special birthday hat. I got to wear it all day, except when I was riding. It was awesomesauce.

Oh, and camp was luscious too. I only got yelled at once, by David, when we were all doing an exercise together. He had said quite plainly that we were all to stay on one circle, but when the horse in front of me slowed down I bowed out on the circle instead of slowing down.

In the list of rider responsibilities, direction is number 1, and speed is number 2, which means I should have broken to the trot rather than deviate from the line. I do know this. Mostly. But the grey mare did her best today, and so did I, and I can feel our progress. If there’s anything better than making progress doing something you love, I don’t know what it is. It’s a marvelous feeling to have on your birthday.

P.S. When I got back to my tatty hotel room, I found a beautiful flower bouquet, sent by my beautiful husband, who, as usual when Katie and I go off on an equine adventure, has gone on a golf trip with our son.

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