“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”
Well, not really. But I did have a very strange dream about horse shows and though I don’t recall Daphne du Maurier mentioning horses at Manderley, whenever English stately homes are concerned, it’s safe to assume horses are implied. Besides, that has got to be the best opening sentence ever written and I’ve always wanted to steal it.
The dream in question was probably brought about when Jumping H Farm, where I ride whenever I can, sent out this year’s schedule of horse shows and it’s quite extensive, nine dates in all. They’re all at Thoroughbred Training Center in Mocksville, but in my dream, each show was in a different town or community in Surry County, composing a sort of equestrian Tour de Surry.
When the dream began, I had already placed third in the Dobson Open and had, against all expectation, won the blue ribbon in senior eventing at the Copeland Invitational. I say against all expectation because quite frankly, I’m not that good and I’ve never actually jumped over anything so an eventing blue ribbon was, to put it mildly, unexpected. But as it happens, there was only one entrant in the senior division in Copeland. C’est moi.
But they didn’t just hand me the ribbon. Oh, no. I had to complete the events without falling off, which for me, is never without challenge and it didn’t help that the dressage test was held in a tobacco field and points were taken off for each trampled tobacco plant. Luckily though, in the senior division at the Copeland Invitational, all of the jumps are ground poles. Apparently, just remembering the correct order is considered accomplishment enough. As it should be in the senior division.
The big finale of the season has my Jumping H teammates and me headed to the Surry County finals which are being held in the atrium of a brand new high-rise apartment building in Brooklyn, more specifically, in Greenpoint. I’m not sure why Greenpoint is important but it was very specific in the dream so I thought I should tell you. I’ve never even been to Greenpoint except once when I got lost going to Williamsburg. Make of it what you will, Sigmund Freud.
But there I am in Greenpoint, impeccably turned out in evening scarlet, the outfit that male members of a hunt who have earned their colors wear to formal social events. I must say I looked dapper, though totally inappropriate for actual riding. Not to mention I don’t even belong to a hunt, much less have colors. The other Jumping H riders are wearing scarlet jackets also, but at least they have the good sense to wear the riding version with breeches and boots.
Spiffy duds aside, my teammates are excited because most of them have never been to a horse show in Brooklyn, much less a horse show in an apartment building atrium. But I am more nervous than excited because I am going to have to pass a qualifying competition before being allowed to compete.
Apparently, the Copeland Invitational is not a recognized 3-star event and my blue ribbon is not being taken seriously by these people. The good citizens of Copeland should rise up in protest over this egregious slight by the Surry County Equestrian Association to their reigning senior champion. It should not be tolerated.
Sadly, I fail the qualifying round. Which is particularly disappointing, since this is my own dream. If I can’t be successful in my dreams, what hope do I have? I must say though, in my defense, that cross country course was the most challenging I have ever seen in the atrium of any apartment building, high rise or not.
Nevertheless, after sucking up my disappointment, I have fun cheering on my teammates and ferrying in beer from the bodega on the corner in my scarlet jacket and waistcoat.
After the show is over, we decide to crash a wedding in the penthouse of the building and climb a long winding staircase, passing a gaggle of drag queens who are getting dressed to perform at the wedding and are clogging up the stairs because Gov. McCrory won’t let them dress in the bathroom.
Just before I wake up, I inform the kids from the Jumping H that one should never pass up the chance to go to a Brooklyn wedding. Even if it necessitates stepping over a few drag queens on the stairs.
I’ll bet Manderley was never this much fun.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699 or on Twitter @BillColvard.