When I worked for Sheri Dumonceaux the winter of 2005/2006 as a working student, there was a cartoon she had pegged to her cork board in the barn. It was of a Heron attempting to swallow a frog, and the frog is reaching out of it's mouth, choking the Heron. I always thought that was a hilarious take on what I hold as a very important strong suit for me-perserverance. I don't quit. Neither does Charisma. Neither have my clients, Karen, Sarah, Brenda & Barbara. Neither has my dear friend Irene. I like fighters.
Charisma and I entered our first recognized show since her colic surgery. Despite the fact that we are still attempting to determine the root cause of some complications she continues to have(adhesions are tops on the list of theories at the moment-a not uncommon problem), we are firing on all cylinders, on her good days. I am learning to be really grateful for those, and, be her advocate and caretaker on the bad days. I take not one second of my time with her for granted. I am learning to take not one second of every day, with everyone, for granted. I am pleased to report, that under a strong judge, Donna Richardson, we were able to achieve some of our highest scores. All scores were 61% or better at Second level, and what that means is I have now earned enough scores to obtain my USDF Rider Achievement certificate at Second level. And Charisma now only requires one more score to earn her USDF Horse Performance Certificate at Second level. This is a demanding award-ten scores of 60% or better, under four different judges, with at least four tests being the highest test of the level. I'm proud to say, WHEN she receives this award, she will have earned it by performing at the test 3 and test 4 of the Level, an even more stringent bar to reach. Judges expect a horse performing these tests to be looking like they are ready to move on to Third level. I aim to have this certificate for her on my wall by summer...that's the plan anyway, good Lord willing, and the creek don't rise. No matter what the universe has in store for us, we WILL, we CAN, we will never, ever, ever, ever, GIVE UP.