Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Dear Denny

Patty Stedman's blog - life and its oddities

Ah, the magic of FaceBook.

Denny Emerson and I are “friends” on Facebook.

Now, to be fair, I’ve never been formally introduced to Denny, but I have always admired his long-standing dedication to both distance riding and eventing. During Ned’s first 100 in Vermont, we rode together for a mile or so, and Denny complimented my horse. That further raised my opinion of Denny and his excellent eye for a quality equine.

Not too long after that, I had the privilege of hearing Denny speak at the AERC Convention, where he captivated the audience with self-deprecating tales of his life around horses. His humility and his love for the horse came through crystal-clear (not to mention his razor-sharp wit) and I found myself alternately laughing hysterically and brushing away a tear as he spoke.

I’ve read his columns in The Chronicle of The Horse, and a candid girl myself, I appreciated his well thought-out but frank opinions on eventing and horsemanship.

It was done. I was an official member of the Unofficial Denny Emerson Fan Club.

Like so many others, including Denny, I got bitten by the Facebook bug during the last year or so, and we became “friends.” This is a dubious term, of course, since Denny has 1,023 friends and, as noted above, we have never been formally introduced.

When perusing Facebook (aka “wasting time”) a week or two ago, I saw a post he made and a photo he posted about a past VT 100-Mile CTR he’d ridden. Labor Day Weekend is the 75th anniversary of this beautiful and challenging competitive trail ride, so I popped him a reply to ask if he was planning to attend. He replied that the horse he was planning to ride had developed a cough. I sent a quick note asking if we should try to find him a horse to ride. His reply:

“Can you?”

Well, darn it, I could!

I sent Denny a quick private message, letting him know that my husband and I had already planned to attend the VT ride with two of our horses. I gave him a brief introduction to Ned, who I’d not planned to take to the ride, saying he was fit and capable of going the distance in Vermont (he is four for four on the Moonlight endurance rides, twice finishing the 100 there), and as long as Denny wasn’t interested in a perfect final score, Ned could probably take him around.

Denny accepted.

We haven’t spoken yet, but I’ve found myself with the perverse desire to try to explain Ned, who, as I’ve told people repeatedly, has adequate personality for an entire herd of horses.

So Denny, my friend, here goes …

Dear Denny –

I can’t tell you how humbled I am about your taking me up on my offer to share Ned for the Vermont 100 Mile CTR next month!

I’ve been struggling with the temptation to send you a note to try to explain the profoundly quirky character that is Ned. I chide myself then about the fact that you’ve ridden hundreds, nay, thousands of horses, and that surely Ned cannot be the oddest, the most opinionated, the most ego-driven horse you’ve ever met.

But since I’ve owned the big lug since he was a four year old (the classic 30-day-training-wonder with no power steering or brakes) and he’s now sixteen, well, there’s probably a few things you might want to know.

Full posting at

No comments: