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Travels with Molly, Part I

Published: 4/25/2011
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This is the 1st installment of a series of guest articles by Molly Stark as she competes in the American Competitive Trail Horse Association's "America's Favorite Trail Horse" event in Spencer, MA.

By Molly Stark

Click to read Part II

The weekend of ACTHA’s competition finally had arrived.  I hauled my horse, Morris, and all my gear up to my friend Sonia’s house the night before departure for our stay-over. 
Sonia had signed up as well and we made plans to travel together. 
It seems that Sonia and I are at opposite ends of the spectrum; she was so wonderfully laid back.  I, being the Nervous Nellie sort, get a bit queasy. 
No Worries, Mate seemed to be her favorite saying as her best friend Maxine is from Australia, and Sonia really gets a kick out of those words.  She kept saying it over and over again like a mantra.

No way.  I was worried.

Day of Departure – I was up at 5:50. Sonia had been up since 4:30 – normal routine for her. YES, I thought, early start! Not quite. 
Sonia went back to bed.
I was biting my nails and contemplating the porcelain god. Dear Sonia is napping on the couch. 
I wandered out to the barn several times. Morris was not eating his grain. Worries, mate. He’d been off his feed since the day before.  I checked water, hay and handed out a few carrots.
We had dithered over which trailer to take and finally settled on Sonia’s rig due to the larger amount of space. 
I wander out to the trailer at 7:30 am with my third cup of coffee – really craving some caffeine as Sonia seems to only have decaf, oy vay, do not really know how to use her espresso machine but wander back into the kitchen and stare at hoping it will magically ask if I would like a cup.
8:15am. I wander out to the barn again as Morris is trumpeting for me. Yes, he trumpets. He doesn’t whinny. It’s very demanding. He has nibbled at his grain but the bucket is still pretty full. 
11:00 am – Loading up.  It’s a three horse goose neck slant load. I don’t know if Morris has ever ridden in one. 
Sonia walks Presto on like it doesn’t matter. My stomach is in knots and my hands are shaking.  Morris nudges me while I stupidly watch. It’s our turn. Morris walks up the ramp and sets himself up to be clipped to the trailer. I begin to think we are going on a trip and lock the partition in place.
11:20am. Sonia is pulling down the driveway and fiddling with buttons. I have apoplexy as she is gently rolling into the road while the mail van is coming.
We haven’t reached the stop sign 500 feet from her house and Sonia’s asks “Do you want to drive?” OH YES do I want to drive!
Ahhh…I’ve settled into the driver’s seat and we are off. Three miles down the road, Sonia wildly indicates that we absolutely MUST take the next left to stop at Morse’s Sauerkraut and pick up pastrami sandwiches. Ok I guess that’s fine.  
I pull in and block just about every car lined up and the cashier comes out to pet her favorite horse, Presto. Sigh.
No Worries, Mate.
Soon, we are pulling up to the first toll booth. Sonia tells me its kinda hard to go through toll booths with her rig. I look at her with my eyebrows in my hairline and learn the hard way and watch as the trailer wheels climb up over the curb at the booth. I never go through the car lane again.
3:45pm we have made excellent time and are pulling into Worcester.  My cousin calls at the wrong time. I am in the fourth lane over and the Australian voice on the GPS is saying “turn right on exit blah blah.” An ambulance is blowing its sirens. Everybody is driving 75mph. And I miss the exit. 
No Worries, Mate.
Take the next one. Downtown Worcester, here we come! The Australian GPS is saying turn right and enter the “round-about.” Sonia and I explode at the same time “ROUND ABOUT.”  I’ve already figured it’s a wee bit difficult with her rig. 
No Worries, Mate. The round-about is pretty round and we get off easily. 
4:00 PM Saturday April 16th, 2011– we have arrived and the fun begins!

Click here to read Part II

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4/26/2011 Julie Kenney
Fabulous descriptive writing Molly!! Fun to read. Sonia is awesome and it sounds like she was just what you needed to balance yourself out :) Can't wait to read your next installment.
4/26/2011 rOSIE
I think it would be fun to hear Sonia's side of the story.....
4/26/2011 Molly Stark
I would hope that my "BEST" Friend Sonia does not take offense - as I would recommend traveling with her anywhere! - She is the most fabulous person in the world and the best traveling companion I have ever had the privilege to travel with. My humour is what it is and I LOVE YOU SONIA!
4/26/2011 Jessie
C'mon ...I say the more the more the merrier!My first horses name was...Merry Legs..crazy Arab/Welsh Cross. Tried to take her painted ass in a May day Parade. Lots of small children, candy being flung in every direction, she decided she'd had enough.Needless to say, it was the first of many events we were not so politely asked to leave! We chalked up many more rejections, but were still a team!Have I accomplished my goal of reminding everyone of how amazing our equine experiences are? Crazy, boring, unexpected, least we have them,inspite of our rashness, we hopefully still cling to eachother.So,we allow and accept the random unexpected, right or wrong media,on many occasions, offensive behavior of our horses and friends, we need to expect and accept that from eachother. Molly, DAYUM girl, TMI! Love you, Sonia is priceless!!!! I miss Chief!!!
4/26/2011 Molly
I feel just terrible. My friend Sonia has been mightly hurt by my accounts of our travels together. In no way do I wish to hurt my friends and do not think that Sonia is a bad driver - I am a POOR passenger. She is a warm, smart person who is more capable of handling stress than I am...I was stressed she was not...that is the point of it. She is a stronger person than me and handled this whole ACTHA competition with enough strength and support for all of us to spare. I am sorry Sonia that my story has hurt you. VERY sincerely - Molly
4/26/2011 rOSIE
A lot of people LOVE Sonia when they think they can tromp on her good nature. She often goes out of her way to be helpful and obliging, tolerant under adverse conditions.
4/27/2011 Leah
Molly loved the writing could see the whole thing playing out in my head. Sonia Luv U I was laughing you are so laid back its great. Great Job!!!
4/27/2011 Molly
I would never never tromp all over Sonia...she is too kind. When you have a chance to read the rest of the story you will see I "poke" fun at myself to the 9th degree. Life is too short to and hard to take it all seriously...and the first paragraph states how we are at opposite ends of the spectrum. I am uptight Sonia is laid back. I have made my apologies and feel that the story is a good one. I am hurt by anyones anger and I am confused by the fuss.
4/28/2011 Susan
Nice way to turn the tables!

"In the language of the range, to say that somebody is "as smart as a cutting horse" is to say that he is smarter than a Philadelphia lawyer,smarter than a steel trap, smarter than a coyote, smarter than a Harvard graduate - all combined. There just can't be anything smarter than a smart cutting horse. He can do everything but talk Meskin - and he understands that." - Joe M. Evans, A Corral Full of Stories