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The Equestrian Special Olympics

Short story By: MAmberConrad

My kids participated in the Equestrian Special Olympics State Games for Louisiana today. My oldest actually competes in this and received a Gold Medal (1st) and a Silver Medal (2nd). My younger is too young to actually compete, but she did receive a Gold Medal. Both received trophies and a T-Shirt for participating. This is pretty much our day.

Submitted:Feb 24, 2008    Reads: 495    Comments: 2    Likes: 1   

It began with a cold morning. At sunrise, I was already up with a cup of coffee, looking out my back window. The sky was overcast, and the horses in the field barely moved. Slowly, I put on some clothes (slowly because I'm not a morning person) and started waking up the girls. I let them stay in bed until the very last minute.

Breakfast consisted of biscuits, eggs, and applesauce. (Applesauce? you ask. It's easier to take their meds with it) After breakfast, the race began. Who can get their clothes on first? Who brushes their teeth last? Who gets their hair fixed without pitching a fit? I grabbed my bag and filled it with things: books, extra pull-ups, tissues, extra clothes, camera...

When we were ready, we trotted over to the Cal Cam Arena. (Okay, so we really didn't trot, we got into the car and rode their. It's like driving a school bus: rowdy, fighting, throwing.)

We got into the stadium and immediately started to freeze. I was like, Holy Crap! I couldn't believe how cold it was. I got the girls signed in, and their vests on.

As they were lining up for the special opening presentation, their Paw Paw Frank showed up! It was the first time I had seen either of them smile. I kinda can't blame them, I mean, who the heck wants to wake up at 6:30 am on a friggin Saturday morning? I sure didn't, so I know they didn't want to either.

Shortly after the presentation, other family showed up: Mike, Megan and Maw Maw Deb, then Jess, and Michael, and My Main Man Anthony.

The girls got their caricatures drawn. (Oddly enough, the pictures look practically the same) Lots of waiting, lots of beautiful horses, and time was being awfully stubborn. It just ticked soooo sloooowwww. And it was so darn cold. Anthony and I went into the car to charge up the video camera and to de-frost.

Back into the arena, they called for Claire. Anthony and I walked down with her, to take pictures and see her off onto the horse. Twenty minutes of more waiting, she mounts the horse and they announce her name. Claire, as usual, gives a great big smile when she hears her own name. She rode with such grace, and knowledge. We all watched with pride and took pictures of her. She waved to the crowd, sending off some kisses too.

Thirty minutes later, they announce that lunch is being served. I nearly raced down with the kids in tow to get something to eat. I was absolutely famished, and Christina was excited about a hot-dog.

With only two people in front of me, they call for Christina. Grrr. I was cold, hungry, and irritable. I let everyone around me know that. I grabbed Christina and asked if she was ready to ride.

"Yeah!!" I took off her t-shirt (so that her white shirt would stay white during eating time), and handed her to the trusted person who would be walking with her. I raced to get her vest and got back to her. I ran by my family, who was eating. "Christina's about to ride!"

A few minutes later, Christina mounted the horse and her name was being announced. I proudly took more pictures and watched such a small child on a large horse. It was almost comical, but she wasn't. She rode with agility and awareness. Halfway through her riding, my family realized that she was riding and came to watch Christina.

After she was done, Anthony and I waited in line for 4 hotdogs (2 with chili), a sprite, and a coke. Up in the stands, Christina and I finally ate. Ahhh. I felt better. Still really cold, but no longer hungry.

An hour later, Claire rode for another competition. We, again, proudly watched and took pictures. Again, she smiled at the crowd and waved. Now that the kids were finished riding, the rest of the time was spent waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

Mike left first. Michael soon followed. Megan had to leave too, but it wasn't out of boredom. (Although, I'm sure that was part of it)

The awards ceremony took nearly a half-hour. Lots of clapping, lots of participants being emotional, lots of hugs. When the ceremony was almost over, they announced that all participants needed to take a group photo. I looked up at my mother and saw her signing 'Ready to go'.

We were all tired and ready to go. It was only 3 in the afternoon, yet it seemed so much later than that. Anthony took things to the car for me and said he would meet me at Gatti's after we were done with the pictures. (Okay, so I really didn't want to go to Gattis. My mind was on getting home, putting on some comfy clothes and getting on the couch.)

Alas, after the pictures, I scooped the girls up quickly (yes, quickly) dropped them into the car and raced to eat pizza. After a quick early dinner, we finally make it home.

The girls and I got on some comfy clothes on. And all I can say now is, Ahhhh. We had a long, fun day. But what a relief I felt when we got home.


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