Nothin’ Lasts Forever But Old Fords…

The infamous Laddy Pony jumping "Dutch's Ditch" at his second AEC, Sep. 2005 – Shannon Brinkman photo

C’mon, you guys know that line out of an old Willie Nelson song, right?  “Nothing lasts forever but old Fords, and a natural stone…”  Well, I have no diamonds to talk about, unless you count the rhinestones on Pirate’s fancy dressage browband made by Momma Briggs, but I DO have an old Ford F350 whose odometer currently sits at about 312,000 miles, and I would very much like to think that it’ll last forever.
That truck and I have been through a lot together – the good, the bad, and the…scary  Together, we have seen Ocala, Florida, where Pirate and I won our long format three-day in April 2009 (and later, in November 2010, finished 4th in our first Intermediate); on up to Chester County, Pennsylvania, where I finally got the chance to train with my idol, Bruce Davidson; and in between, so many trips to Aiken, Southern Pines, Georgia, Virginia, etc. that I’ve lost count.

I bought my first racehorse in that truck, when it pulled an empty trailer up to Thistledown in Cleveland, Ohio and came back with the lovely Casanova.  Less than a year later, I went back up to Ohio (Cincinnatti this time) and brought home the horse I would not only fall in love with, but who would take my career to its highest point – yes, I’m talking about none other than “Bub The Scrub,” Pirate, Baby P, The Gentleman Pirate…you’ve heard of him by now!  ;)

Thanks to Vin Diesel (yes, I’ve named the truck Vin Diesel), I have learned that the back seat of a crew cab makes for a much better bed than the ACTUAL bed when you’re crashing on grounds instead of spending money on a hotel room (hello, eventing is expensive, gotta cut costs somehow!), and I’ve learned that you can fit your entire life in the bed of a truck if you need to; I’ve also learned that diesel trucks can actually try to start themselves (The Ghost Truck Incident of Middleburg Horse Trials, ’09), and also REFUSE to start on particularly cold, snowy mornings in Middleburg, VA when you’re 17 years old and TRYING to be a good working student by getting to the barn early…and end up getting there late because you’ve had to call your (Fairy) Godmother in Ashburn to come rescue you in her Volkswagon bug.  (Embarrassing, Diesel, honestly!).  I’ve driven it through tears of laughter with said Godmother in the front seat, the two of us on our way to a foxhunt…and then through very real tears as my mom and I made our way up to Godma’s funeral when we lost her last summer. (http://www.facebook.com/#!/note.php?note_id=464135791342)

That truck has been driven through rain, snow, sleet, ice, fog, mud, and deep sand, and has faithfully gotten my friends, my horses, and me wherever we’ve asked it to go, with rarely a complaint.  Despite it’s day job as eventer truck, it has been to more than a few family beach vacations with beach chairs in the bed of it and The Briggs Family in the cab, and has had everything from The Avett Brothers and The Killers to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones blasted out of its stereo.  That truck got me through my teenage years, and has even waited patiently in the parking lot at a handful of concerts, with a saddle and pair of boots in the front seat – pair of heels thrown carelessly on the floor, as they are much less important.  Always, though, that truck’s most important job was getting me to events.  One of its first trips was, in fact, to the American Eventing Championships, where little 13.2 hand Laddy darn near won the Training (leading following cross-country) if not for his stifle slipping in the middle of stadium and being unable to finish…because even Wonder-Ponies can’t last forEVER, even though they try.

Pirate grazing after his great day of training at Tiffani's…the ol' Ford in the background!

My good ol’ F350 most recently took Pirate down to Tiffani Loudon-Meetze’s, where we had a phenomenal dressage lesson and equally exciting jump lesson….P was better than ever, and if we can recreate any of that at the American Eventing Championships this week, I’ll be a happy girl.  We also went down to Gibbes Farm for a cross-country school a couple of weeks ago, and my Baby P was the fantastic, bold cross-country machine I can always depend on.  (It was there my truck again proved IT’s dependability by helping me get out of a bind when I somehow managed to drive it into the one spot on that lovely farm where the ground isn’t perfect and the sand is DEEP…it was a pretty epic save, I might add, and I was very proud of my slightly redneck methods to get it unstuck).

So, ol’ Ford, get ready to leave for Georgia, because The Pirate and I are all KINDS of ready for the AEC…provided I don’t hurt myself on the Laddy Pony between now and then.  Oh yes, my 20-yr-old Laddy came awfully close to landing me in the dirt the other day when he popped up a bank on our hack the other evening and threw the three biggest bucks I believe I have ever sat in my life….ohhhh, Laddy, you naughty pony, you!  You’re rotten but I love you.

Hey, at least it’s a comforting thought that, while nothing lasts forever…some things NEVER change.  ;)

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One Response to Nothin’ Lasts Forever But Old Fords…

  1. Amy says:

    Love this post! Though I do have a Dodge…gasp… I do agree with you on my love for my truck. And mine too makes for a grand bed. Good luck in Georgia!

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