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It doesn’t always happen, but sometimes, I have amazing days, and to make use of an over-used pun in show jumping, my day was Lamazing. It doesn’t take much for me to be happy, I’m a pretty go-lucky kind of girl, but if you happen to be Eric Lamaze and be slightly in my presence I’m going to have to classify the day as incredible. It’s just the way it is.
Today I had a Lamazingly incredible day. Sound like an exaggeration? It’s not. Let me tell you about it.
I was fortunate enough to coordinate a day off from grooming with a tournament day at the Spruce Meadows Masters. I’m also lucky because my relationship with ProEquest has earned me a press pass for the Spruce Meadows season. Today being Wednesday I envisioned I would amble the property, experiment with my new camera, watch some horses jump and try to write something that hopefully one or more people would read.
As the day played out it blew the roof off my expectations.
Being my first ever “official” (I’m so not official!) day as a journalist it began with a panic. I mean what do journalists wear? I decided that clean and somewhat workmanlike with sensible shoes was the way to go – after all, I’m still at a horse show. The next dilemma I faced was locating my wallet, which suddenly dawned on me I had accidently left in my brother’s car the night before. After uttering a couple choice words not so under my breath I was headed to the show only to realize I’d forgotten the previously mentioned new camera. Perhaps I should just stick to grooming?
Frustrations aside I soon found myself in the media center at Spruce Meadows and my day was about to get a whole lot better. Rolex and Spruce Meadows had organized a brunch, barn tour, and course walk with none other than Eric Lamaze. OH. MY. GOSH!
Suddenly I was not the professional anything, but rather the 14 year-old girl swooning over her idol. It was so bad that a friend even posted one of Spruce Meadows’ photos of the course walk that I just happened to be in and “lol-ed” at the ridiculous expression on my face. And this is after I had already mentally half-halted my emotions realizing that I looked goofy and slightly creepy as I alternated snapping photos on both my camera and iPhone in close proximity to Eric’s face.
Enough with the gushing and embarrassing accounts! Let me tell you about what happened!
Starting at 9:30am the media was to gather together. We were whisked away in stretch-limo-type golf carts and taken into the FEI barns. This in its self is pretty neat as typically, unless you have barn credentials you’re unable to get in, BUT we didn’t just get into the barn – we got into Eric Lamaze’s barn!
As we walked into the barn Eric’s Olympic mount, Derly was in the crossties getting ready to go for a morning hack and Tiffany Foster’s horse Victor was also preparing to go for a stretch.
Eric was there and he answered our questions and it was humbling to see that despite his achievements; the gold medal, the number one in the world ranking – he and his grooms still looked bemused to see twenty of us crowded around taking videos, photos, and recording his every word.
After the barn tour where I had to channel my inner adult to stop myself from running down the barn aisle screaming: “Beezie, Beezie” (I mean, she is my other love) and from turning into a psycho paparazzi crazed individual upon seeing Reed Kessler coming back from a hack, we were taken back to the Meadow View building that overlooks the International Ring where snacks and refreshments were laid out.
The day could have ended then and there and I would have been more than happy, but instead Eric took us down to the International Ring and walked the course with us.
Eric explained how the first jump was inviting to the horses as it was placed going towards home, how the triple combination would ride and how his horses jump differently – one tight with her front end and the other not so.
He analyzed every color of every jump and even scrutinized the different jump cups. The liverpool takes the horses’ eye from the top rail and the skinny is just the devil (he joked about burning it and how every rider holds their breath while going over it.) Eric explained the bending line and how veering slightly in or slightly out while changing the rider’s position to the fence that follows allows for a better roll back.
He laughed, he joked, he smiled, and he was awesome. I’m not sure that I believe in reincarnation, but in a past life Eric must have been that really cool high school chem teacher who just had a gift for explaining things, because even the non-horse people in the crowd were completely enthralled with his every word.
Walking a line behind him, I realized he had some mad swagger to his walk and then I realized I should probably keep that thought to myself… oh wait…
I know that to ever make it as a journalist I need to take things with a grain of salt and not gush so much, but I wish for nothing more than to convince you of his sincerity that was portrayed to me, well not just me, but the entire group.
The course walk lasted for over an hour and when not a single question had been left unanswered, or a single hair on his head left un-photographed, he wished us well and was off.
Eric Lamaze – one of the busiest guys in show jumping gave us two and a half hours and hands down won my utmost respect. Lesson of the day: giving someone a little bit of your time can go a long way. Other things I learned: everyone still has at least a little bit of fourteen year-old girl in them! Can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store!