A Grand Weekend

Kaitlyn and Kidd - 11-22-15

By Judy Berman

Dark. It is pitch black. What induces me to throw the covers off my bed long before the sun rises?

The smell of a cinnamon bagel? No. Our granddaughter, Kaitlyn, will take part in a horse riding competition in Sumterville, Florida, and we are eager to see her perform on Kidd, a brown Arabian.

Breakfast is on the go. Our eldest daughter, Danielle, hands me the bagel as we dash out to the van. It’s 5:30 a.m. and we have a 1½ hour ride to meet other like-minded people.

The darkness gives way to a misty haze as we follow a car off the exit for about 10 miles. A picture of a horse on the other car’s license plate convinces us that we’re heading to the same location.

The sun slowly emerges on the horizon, revealing lush, green rolling hills as we cruise through the countryside.

At last, we pull in and greet Kaitlyn’s horse trainer, Michele. Three horses – Kidd, Hannah and Delilah – stare back at us from their stalls.

Kaitlyn brushes down Kidd and readies for a practice run before the competition.

The van door’s wide open. Inviting. I climb in. As I drift back to sleep in the air’s slight chill, I recall growing up in farm country and longing to ride a neighbor’s horse.

Then, a soft whinny disturbs my reverie. I join our family to watch the horse riders compete.

Kaitlyn rides English style, posting (rising out of the saddle on one beat, and sitting on the next) as Kidd trots around the ring. “Posting is done to avoid being jostled around in the saddle during a particularly bumpy gait – the trot.”*

Her waist-length hair is pulled back into a tidy bun and tucked under her helmet.

She’s every inch the horsewoman, dressed in a dark blue suit jacket, tan breeches and long leather boots.

Before the day is done, Kaitlyn has won four ribbons – the last one a blue ribbon for first place in a class showing walk-trot-canter.

Kaitlyn on Kidd and ribbons - 11-22-15

With a modest blush, she accepts the awards and then rides back to the stable.

What’s more amazing is the horse she rode in on. Kidd is 28 years old and out performs many of the younger horses – even on 1½-foot jumps.

Kaitlyn and Kidd. They make a great team.

The weekend was packed. The day before we watched our grandson, Connor, play baseball.

This game is a family affair. Dad (Keith) coaches. Mom (Danielle) is both photographer and score keeper. Kaitlyn also takes photos and videos of the game.

Dave and I missed Connor’s first game when he scored the winning run. His team won 11 to 3. The second game, however, is a nail-biter.

Connor playing baseball - 11-21-15

The grounds, neatly trimmed grass and red clay, is lovely to look at. But I can’t help but wonder if the Moms are gnashing their teeth after the game as they try to get their sons’ uniforms clean again.

Connor plays center field and is the lead-off batter. His focus is intense and might rattle less skilled pitchers.

But the pitcher in their second game has all of Connor’s teammates unsure of what will come their way. He has an unusual windup and delivery. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow. And, any pitch in between.

With a player already on base, Connor’s hit helps score the winning run. They won 3 to 2.

Connor playing baseball 4

I love both sports our grands take part in, but my favorite part comes after the awards are given out.

That would include a stop at the 407 Café for a Panini and a gelato. Victory – or even a loss – is made much sweeter by these get-togethers.



Photo: Kaitlyn riding Kidd at the horse show in Sumterville, Florida.

Photo: Kaitlyn, Kidd and their ribbons.

Photo: Connor playing baseball in St. Cloud, Florida.

Photo: Connor also is the pitcher in many of his baseball games.


What activities would you get up early and out the door for?


  1. You are a family of real winners! And all those awards and joyful competition are worth getting up early for. We used to do that for our son’s ice hockey endeavors, but lately it has been for school graduations for the grandgirls.

  2. Very nice. I wondered about the horse before you mentioned the age.

    Let’s see . . . we usually get up early when heading out on long drives. That’s about it. To clarify, we’re usually up at 6:30, so “early” is more like 4:00 am (living near a big city we want to be out and gone before morning rush).

  3. A grand weekend, for sure, Judy–for both grandparents and grandchildren. Congratulations to them for their wins. I don’t know much about horses, but 28 sounds old to me.

    I’m always up early, so this time of year, it’s always before daybreak!

    1. You’re right, Merril. My granddaughter says a horse’s average age is 20 to 30 years. They also said to say “thank you.”

      During the week, I’m usually up at 6. So, 5:15 a.m. came real early for someone who likes to sleep late on the weekeneds. 😉

      1. You have polite grandchildren. Thank your granddaughter for the information. I hope Kidd lives many more years.

        I’m usually up between 5:15 and 5:30–if I sleep till 6, it’s sleeping in. 😉 Of course, I have a hard time staying up past 9:00 at night.

      2. Thank you. Our grands do have excellent manners. Kaitlyn hopes you’re right about Kidd living a long healthy life. She’s developed quite a bond with him.

        Nine p.m. is far too early for me. I’m usually hitting the sack at 11 p.m. 😉

  4. Your family sounds a lot like mine; however the horse-back riding happened in my daughter’s generation and the soccer (not baseball) games in our grandson’s.

    There are lots of award winners in your family, including you, a prize-winning writer in my books.

    What would get me up early? Just recently, we had to rise and shine before the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning to watch Curtis play a winning soccer game, which put his team 2nd in the league.

  5. Way to go, Kaitlyn and Kidd, Connor, and of course, Grandparents!
    We’re the same way with Grace and Gannon. Two weeks ago, when I had a program to present, Jim drove 420 miles on Friday so he could watch Grace play in her 7th grade girls’ basketball tournament (she played one of the positions he played in high school and college, so they feel a strong basketball bond), and then he drove home on Sunday. We do the same for Gannon during football and baseball, and now both kids have started archery competitions (partially due to HUNGER GAMES, we think), so we’ll be going back for those, too. Aw, the rigors of grandparenting…not sure if it keeps us young or wears us out!

  6. Lovely pics of your grandees doing what they enjoy! I remember early Sunday mornings taking my then eight year old son to play football. He was in a Sunday league team and we went all over the place for the matches. I’d spend many a cold and windy morning cheering from the touch line. Afterwards it was home to roast lunch but not before the whole team had bars of chocolate and the parents a quick drink at a pub if there was one nearby!

  7. how wonderful that you could be there and be a witness to these great events that your grandies were a part of. these means everything to them and they’ll always remember that you were there. i’m an early riser by nature, and i’d happily use my early wake up to support family and friends in this wey. )

  8. This post made me tear up. Here is why. I am a former horse person as were and still are all my people. I was an equestrian and an English riding trainer and teacher for decades but 9 years ago I packed it in. That’s when my last two chocolate soldiers were put down as they no longer had a high quality of life at age 32 and would not eat feed with medication in it any more. Saying goodbye broke my heart.

    Arabians are my favorite and I owned a beautiful little mare who was an excellent schooling horse. I also owned a wonderful Quarterhorse who was also a schooling horse. Both worked into their late 20’s. I have had Morgans too. However, my hubby and I decided that neither of us could do it again ie. raise a foal to old age and then have to say goodbye.

    I’m so happy to read your granddaughter is enjoying a relationship with a horse. I have dogs too and cats and all sorts of stock but no other pets have ever been as close to me as my horses were.

    1. timethief … I know what it’s like to lose an animal you love. Ours were always family. So I understand how you’d be broken hearted by their passing.

      You’d be pleased to know that our granddaughter helps clean out the stables and volunteers as a ‘side-walker’ (I think that’s what it’s called). She walks with the horse when a rider is autistic or has special needs.

      I love horses, too. But I never was able to own one. I’m glad she’s getting the opportunity. 😉

  9. I would get up for just about anything Judy , I am a lark never a problem . It’s staying up at night is my problem . I don’t do New Year’s Eve . Such a lovely day with all your family …can’t belive that gorgeous horse is 28 they both look amazing .

    1. Thank you, Cherry. Kidd does look great and acts much younger than than 28. Kaitlyn is a doll. But, of course, I’m prejudiced.

      Me, I find it easier to stay up late and sleep in when I can. 😉

  10. That was lovely reading about your grandchildren and their favourite sports – must be a wonderful feeling riding that horse!! 🙂 You must be so proud of them both Judy! I was a little horse mad myself when I was a child, even got to ride one bareback in the 70’s – kind a bit dangerous that, but it was a lovely serene horse. Not quite sure where my obsession with horses went to. I still like horses but have absolutely no desire to ride one, I’m sure I’d fall off! Have you ridden a horse in recent years?

    Getting up at the crack of dawn is a lot easier when you are on your way to do something you thoroughly enjoy. I don’t have those kinds of outdoor activities these days, so eyes closed, head on pillow is where I prefer to be at that time of the morning! 😉 Probably the only thing that would get me excited to get up at that crazy hour would be to visit the local cemetery near where I live, which is more like a beautiful woodland, to hear the dawn chorus. I heard it early one morning where my mum lived (the other side of the cemetery) and the bird song echoed on the summer wind into her housing estate – wow, it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard! 🙂

    1. Suzy … There is a beauty about the stillness of the morning that I love as well. That bird solo is one of nature’s concerts that I love to hear.

      I also rode one of my friend’s horses bareback when I was in high school. S/he leaned down to dump me, but it was only a half-hearted attempt and I managed to hang on. 😉 In 1999, when we were in Costa Rica, I rode a horse along the beach and up a wooded path. Quite exciting. But it was nerve-wracking for my husband who had never ridden a horse before. 😉

  11. Judy what lucky kids to have such supportive grandparents. Both sound like they are doing really well. For me early rising is for peace and a walk with the birds. My time without the kids.

    1. Kath … We’re the lucky ones, and even luckier that we rarely ever have to get up that early in the morning.

      Our grands are doing well. Their parents are involved in their children’s sports. That’s one thing I am glad we did with our kids when they were growing up – supporting them in whatever activity they had a passion for. 😉

Comments are closed.