A serial novel

Welcome to my serial novel! (ie - I'm making this up as I go...)

New here? Read the first chapter, than catch up on the blog archive.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

5. Who?

If my life were a novel, today would be the type of day that the poor author would skip over. My ride on Estella after getting off the phone with Jessica was uneventful. She did everything I asked with obedience, but not a extra "flare" and after about 20 minutes of dressage I knew we had probably gotten our best work done and headed out for the three mile loop around the stable.

Estella, seeing our path headed out the gate and into the orchards settled into a relaxed, swinging walk knowing nothing was expected of her beyond calmness and being sensible while I zoned out.

Tevis. Horses. If I was being honest a bit of volunteer work and large animal experience was what my application lacked. I had been working for Jessica in a small animal clinic doing what *every other* vet school applicant did. I needed a way to stand out. I suppose I could go off to a foreign county and volunteer doing something and have some contrived life-changing experience to write about in my new-and-improved admissions essay. But I doubted I could make it unique and non-hokey enough in essay form to catch the attention of the admissions office. I was pretty sure essays with predictable themes such as "I wanted to be a vet since I was in first grade" and "I went to a foreign country and thought I would effect change but I ended up being the one changed" went into one pile - not necessarily the pile that would get me into vet school.

Doing a variety of volunteer jobs this summer would show investment in the community, dedication, and breadth of my interest. YES! Now THAT was an idea. Volunteering at one horse ride? Not so impressive. Making Tevis one of several volunteer projects this summer? That actually seemed feasible.

In my excitement of finally having a semblance of a plan for the next couple months, I must have squeezed with my legs because Estella broke into a happy trot.

Estella has many virtues but a smooth, rideable trot is not one of them.

As I bounced along I tried to imagine doing hours and hours and hours of trotting.

Ummm...no.

Would I be more bored or terrified doing endurance? Bouncing along in a straight line for 2 hours was in one sense the most boring thing I could imagine doing on horseback, but adding in cliffs, wildlife, and rocks seemed impossible for my little mind to process for hours on end. I tried to imagine a happy place between the two where riding 100 miles was mildly interesting, relaxing, and enjoyable. Ummmm....that was a futile exercise.

Maybe sometime I could sit down with Linda over some gin and tonics and she could explain it to me in baby words that would make sense.

There was something else that bothered me and it wasn't the prospect of trotting for a hundred miles or even what it was going to take to get into vet school. It was why someone was sinking so much money into this race.

It didn't make sense.

What was the incentive?

However, now that I thought about it, not only did I not know the WHY, I didn't even know the WHO.

Monday, November 3, 2014

4. An Opportunity

"Hey Molly, I think I have an opportunity for you. You know that 100 mile horse race that takes place every year up in the Sierra's?". Jessica's voice sounded upbeat and enthusiastic. I was immediately suspicious. Why you ask?

Because the Tevis Cup was a horse race that crazy people did every year. Crazy people like Linda. One hundred miles over the Sierra mountain range, from Lake Tahoe to a town just north of Sacramento called Auburn. Trails 8 inches wide on the side of cliffs. The possibility of mountain lions and bears. Oh, and let's not forget the rattlesnakes. See? Crazy.

"Ummm yeah......What exactly do you mean, an 'opportunity'?"

"There was a huge fire a couple years ago that burned a substantial amount of the trail, including several wooden bridges. Fortunately it's been easy to re-route riders around the bridges, through the rivers. As usual there is no money and a shortage of volunteers and the trail conditions are getting worse because of substantial erosion on parts of the trail and the burnt trees that burned are falling. Apparently it's getting to the point where the race directors were considering canceling the ride."

"mmm...." I muttered distractedly. Estella had a chunk of mud on top of her head. HOW? I wish Jessica would get to the point. Jessica was avid outdoorswomen in her precious spare time and even though not a horseperson, loved the Tevis trail and regularly volunteered with the trail foundation.

"....so anyways, I think it would be a perfect chance for you to network and as a bonus you could get in a little moonlight ride on your little mare. What do you think?"

"What? what? What are you talking about?"

Jessica sighed.

"Molly, did you hear a word I said? Some big sponsor has come along and offered a 1 million dollar purse to the winner of the Tevis cup, and full funding for the next 5 years for all trail maintenance projects, as well as providing a labor force to get into the wilderness areas."

"Wow!". I knew the trail foundation was struggling. Relying on local donations and volunteers, the local newspaper was constantly running announcements of trail work days and fundraising events. I couldn't imagine why a sponsor would pour money into such an event. The remote, mostly un-accessible trail meant no spectators and no live film coverage.

"Yeah. It's a big deal. Apparently the committee jumped at the opportunity and is putting a plan in place for what they expect to be a full and competitive field, including putting race officials along the trail  and on horseback to discourage any funny business. I was thinking it would be a good opportunity for you. "

"Jessica, I still don't see where I fit into this. I'm not an endurance rider and trotting down the trail for hours and hours and hours, even with the title of "ride official" is not my forte."

"Molly, it's perfect!  You are a more than competent horsewomen, and you won't attract attention because no one knows you. You only have to ride a small section of the trail and you get to hang out with the vets all day."

"Can I hang out with the vets all day and not ride?"

Jessica was quiet. I think she was disappointed in me but I just wasn't cut out for riding the type of trails they had at Tevis. I just wasn't!

"Jessica, I'm really sorry, it's just -----"

Jessica interrupted me. "No, it's OK. I'm just trying to think. I actually think that the person that usually assists Dr. Krutz at one of the vet checks might be willing to ride a section as an official. Which means her vet-assistant spot would be open. Let me do some checking and I'll get back to you."

I hung up the phone, satisfied. There are worst ways to spend a weekend than hanging out with vets all day, watching gorgeous horses, and getting possibly even getting fed lunch. Not exactly an adventure...but since I preferred my "adventures" to occur with an option of a warm bed, hot meal, and no real danger to life or limb.....I'd take it!