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Straddling Two Worlds

August 20, 2012

California, early July

Just east of San Francisco, lies the Delta Country of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers... an unusually hot and dusty place in July. It is a large area of land and water; mostly below sea level... full of levees, waterways and islands and where every day the temperatures hover between 100 and 105 degrees and the sun blazes down through a clear and relentlessly blue sky.

Horseback riding here is all western - big horned leather saddles with riders slouched in their seats holding the reins in one hand while they sort and round up cows.

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It was into this utterly dusty environment we brought Calli so her Aunt Kate could teach her a bit about the pleasures "cowgirl" riding. After two weeks of intense riding and cow lessons, Calli took part in her first and most likely final "Rodeo - Team-Sorting Event."  Incredibly, on the evening of the big show, in 75 seconds she and her partner were able to separates 8 of 10 cows in order. Truly an amazing achievement for a first timer.

Ten Days later...

Fast forward to London, England, early August, where Calli, Liz and I journeyed to watch the 2012 Equestrian Olympics. Of the ten events in the Olympics where men and women compete against each other, six are equestrian. Age does not eliminate successful participation. At 71, Hiroshi Hoketsu was competing in Dressage.

Three Day Eventing was what we came to see. That would be, for the few of you in Calli’s sphere who do not know, a three day riding ordeal...  a true test of courage, endurance, skill and communication between horse and rider. It includes cross-country, dressage and stadium jumping. Yes, cross country...reputed to be the most fun one can have on four legs. Thrills, chills and spills...

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I am not speaking hyperbolically when I say that watching the horses and riders perform in Olympic Equestrian Eventing was an unparalleled sporting thrill... better than all others. Yes, better even than Eli throwing a touchdown... because here, horse AND rider, moving as one, attempt to take nine jumps in 60 seconds or less without knocking down any rails. Calli and I found ourselves holding our breath and rising and falling in our seats with each jump. We giggled a bit when the crowd of 24,000 gave a collective soft "Awwwwwwww" when a horse's hoof missed and knocked off a pole. If a rider completed his or her circuit perfectly under time we were on our feet, fists pumping and screaming with the best of them. We did not stomp our feet, an activity I found somewhat unnerving in the tall metal temporary stands. More Union Jack waving and less foot pounding I thought as the stands shook.

There was a bonus treat as well. William, Kate and Harry were in the stands along with Camille and other assorted royals. They came to cheer on their cousin, Zara Phillips. Team GB took the silver in Team Eventing.

Speaking of royals, this is McCarthy, hanging out at the Royal Mews. He is one of the horses who pulled Kate and William's wedding carriage.

Background Note: It was a surprise to us all when Calli decided at 20 months of age she wanted to ride. In the beginning it was all about just being on a horse, but once she gained her seat, lives were changed forever. The economically challenging sport of riding became her life. For several years, she was all hunter/jumper.  Recently though, she had been thinking about changing her focus and goal. And now, the Olympics have sealed the deal. She plans to dedicate herself to Three Day Eventing.

Great seeing the horse events (CA and UK) on this post and sorry we did not connect while in London.  Bravo to Calli and to her supportive family too. She will be an Olympian for sure!

Loved your pictures from CA and London. Have rooted around on site to see if I could slow the slideshow a bit rather than using the pause button but I couldn’t locate anything. Any way I can adjust myself?


Sounds as though your life continues to be enviously exciting even when you are disconnected from 21st Century telecommunications and media!

Love to you and Bernie.


Hi Janice--How great to hear from you. Is Lena well? I miss you both. Bernie and I talk about New York a lot, but mostly Central Park and what a beautiful part of our life the friends and place itself were to us. Still are! 

I will check with my webmaster, but I am pretty sure it can't be slowed down from the slideshow itself. However, I can give you the link to the pictures the way I sent them to the webmaster. Feel free.


I took about 300 pictures that day. So wonderful.


Hi guys. Just wanted to let you know that Bob and I are getting married this Friday and it was your sharing about coming into town to marry your friends that helped to bring the conversation up. We’re having a simple, straightforward ceremony at City Hall with the possibility of doing something more elaborate in the future.

The Fishes

What an exciting stretch of events!!!! The wonders and enjoyment of being able to travel unlike us mere mortals is appriciating what ever or whom ever you come across as a life experience for the ages. Who cares about Eli throwing touchdowns and wining super bowls or why Sanchez gets sacked and will never win over his teammates. What's important is that Beautiful Calli is growing up and you guys get to enjoy and be apart of it and to meet Royalty, my goodness what a pleasure that mustive been. Travel swift and safe my friends and enjoy the ride for many new experience await you!!!!!!

Olivia, Lucas and Marcello

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