I’m heading up to the Virginia Horse Trials tomorrow to put a little Eventing Karma in my tank.
Religious karma may or may not be a real thing. Eventing Karma is not only real, it’s something you ignore at your very certain peril. Go ahead. Be the rider that complains that a jump on your cross country course is “too easy.” That’ll be the one your horse throws you over. At the Olympics. Be the person who won’t loan your stuff in the stabling. At your next event, you’ll find 3-inch nails sticking out at eye level inside your horse’s stall, while you wail ineffectually, “Doesn’t anybody have a hammer?” Be the jerk who sniggers when a Big Name Rider takes a splash. Your horse will buck you off in warmup so that you land at the BNR’s feet.
Oh, yeah. I’ve had my horse escape his stall and gallop loose and free over the cross-country course, causing a 20-minute hold, only to be caught by a World Champion. That was fun. (I fired my imaginary groom.) But I’ve had many more moments of grace, and over time, no one has given me as many karmic gifts as Penny Ross.
Penny and her husband Brian run the Virginia Horse Trials, spring and fall, as well as the starter trials that are also my region’s Pony Club rally. Penny and I exchange emails like this:
Me: Penny, you didn’t list my ride times!
Penny: Kim, you didn’t enter!
Me: Oh. (It was the stress of all those Pony Club forms. Surely I’d filled out my own, too?)
Penny: I’ll work you in.
Me: Penny, my daughter forgot her USEA medical card but has her USPC medical card. Does that count?
Me: Penny, my horse is funky. Can I switch divisions?
Me: Penny, my mare tried to buck me off in dressage. Is this bit legal for cross-country?
Penny. Penny. Penny. Penny.
A few years ago I gave her a nice bottle of white wine, but this year I came up with an even better way to pay Penny back for all she’s done for me, and my Pony Clubbers and my eventing tribe. My mare’s ankle has healed but she’s not fit yet, and my daughter has only had a few weeks back riding after the whirlwind of high school tennis. So we’re heading up to the Virginia Horse Trials in my ancient minivan, without our horses, our breeches, our boots.
We’re bringing sunscreen and working shoes. We’re giving Penny three full days of our volunteer labor to tip our Eventing Karma a little bit back to the other side. It’s the only thing I could think of to save me from getting dumped into the water jump the next time I leave the box.