Monday, October 27, 2008

thanksgiving and horses?

welcome to the napa farmhouse 1885™ thanksgiving i told you last week, i am starting a thirty day blog-a-thon posting stories about giving thanks, gratitude, celebrating life with loved ones...oh, and a bunch of recipes and descriptions of really amazing food...i have asked some of my favorite people..friends, family, chefs, foodies, bloggers, artists, craftspeople, business participate... my guest bloggers come from varied and diverse backgrounds..but share one thing in common...all have very interesting stories to tell..

today's post was written by..believe it or business legal advisor/attorney, jean schanberger...jean and i first worked together at levi's™....jean as one of the corporate attorneys..yours truly as the svp, retail can forget all of the lawyer jokes right now...jean is one of the nicest, kindest, honest and ethical people you could ever meet..but..don't try to take advantage of one of her clients..she has a brilliant legal mind, is wildly creative..and will provide the best legal advice you could hope for (plus, she is funny!) addition to her law career, jean trains horses, is training her puppy(!)..and is a freelance writer..sheesh..i thought i was busy...jean and i both love our four legged family members very much..when i saw this post, it brought tears to my eyes. if you are not "one of those animal people", you won't get it..won't understand the joy, love and happiness pets bring to our, for this thanksgiving season..let's give thanks to all the pets we have loved!!

thanks jean..i love this story...thanks for sharing this memory..

do you have a favorite memory regarding holidays and pets? please share in the comments section of this post..

napa farmhouse 1885™
"live a green life of style"

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Cranberries and Rose

My third year of law school, I stayed at school for Thanksgiving, ostensibly to prepare for a moot court competition. My older married sisters always went to their in-laws, and we all gathered at Mom’s for Christmas. By staying in Davis, I unwittingly began my own treasured tradition and created a new definition of gratitude.

The month before, a tall, lanky, dappled grey mare with charcoal legs, mane and tail and huge liquid chocolate eyes had arrived at the old wooden tobacco barn where I regularly rode Thoroughbreds for the vet who had undertaken their recuperation from track-related injuries. That year there had been Maybelline, the flighty chestnut with white splashed over her entire face, then Oreo, the sweet, compact bay gelding with the explosive gallop.

Then along came Miss Manners, aptly named before her registration papers revealed her to be the roan filly Royal Masque. Soon she would become Rose. But at that point, she was the stunning four-year-old mare that I couldn’t keep my eyes off of, as I hung over the Dutch door to her stall, breathing in her steamy warmth and the sweet straw smell in the cooling Northern California fall as she methodically munched hay.

The mare had recovered nicely from the gaskin injury that brought her to Kathy Jones’ barn, so I wasted little time before jumping on Kathy’s suggestion to put a saddle on her. Retired racehorses famously come without brakes or steering, and Rose was no exception. But she was bold and kind and willing to consider doing things my way, so before long we were spending most days in the arena, and a few exploring the farm roads creating the checkerboard of alfalfa and cornfields surrounding the barn.

Like many late autumn days in the Sacramento Delta, Thanksgiving dawned cold and foggy. Due to bring cranberry relish (recipe below) to a potluck hosted later in the day by East Coast transplant classmates, I headed out early to ride. Most of the other horse girls had left for the holiday, so the barn was quiet and I stayed close in the arena. Alone in the brisk morning air, with the prospect of four quiet days, good friends and a phone call to Mom, on Rose’ back at a smooth canter, a sense of gratitude and appreciation of Thanksgiving which I had never experienced enveloped me.

Ironically during that ride I fell off Rose for the first time, when we parted ways on an approach to a little crossbar jump! We were both fine, and the mishap only serves to punctuate the
tremendous physical sensation of riding that amazing horse that memorable day, giving thanks for so many good things in my life.

Rose spent the next twenty-one Thanksgivings with me. She faithfully trailered up and down the state as my career dictated, ever generous, always beautiful, constantly giving me new reasons to be thankful. Every year possible, we honored an annual tradition of riding on Thanksgiving Day, even if only for a few minutes during years when her or my various infirmities meant we hadn’t been out much. So many years, we took long satisfying trail rides under sunny blue Southern California skies, crisply marking the many good things that had happened during the year, and all we had to look forward to.

thanksgiving day circa 2002, jean and rose

This will be my first Thanksgiving without Rose, who now gallops freely anywhere, any day she chooses. The young horse that has boldly taken up residency in the stall where she died will probably need until next year, God willing, to be ready to carry his new mistress forth in the tradition of the Thanksgiving Day ride. So this year, when that welcome autumnal break arrives and I find some way to give thanks out of doors, much of it will be for the many incredible days spent on the back of the generous creature who continuously brought new meaning to gratitude.


1 bag fresh whole cranberries
1 large orange (including peel)
1 large apple (I like Gala)
1 cup sugar
½ cup fruit juice (orange, apple, cranberry, lemon as you like)
½ cup water

Combine all ingredients in food processor for coarse chop. As you prefer, serve raw (use less liquid), or cook 10 minutes over medium heat. Serve warm or cold. Make extra, it gets better with age. Also makes a nice hostess gift!

© Jean Schanberger 2008. Used with permission. All rights reserved.


Anonymous said...

That was beautiful - thanks.

Anonymous said...

I loved this story. My dog Barkley is a member of our family so I am "one of those pet people" you talked about. I get it.

Anonymous said...

This brought tears to my eyes. What a touching story and so beautifully written!

Amy Sherman said...

Am I only the only one tickled by the idea of "Jean" working for Levi's?

Ruben Procopio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruben Procopio said...

Having gotten to know Rose I can't hear this story enough... She's one of reasons how Jeanne and I met, they road in our neighborhood street one day and stopped to say hello while I was out for a walk... I eventually said "What a beautiful looking horse!", both rider and horse a beautiful pair. Rose was truly Miss Manners and is dearly missed. Oh fyi, Diane, I totally agree with your assessment of Jeanne... she's no regular corporate lawyer you'll ever meet and an incredible person to boot! Of course I'm a little biased here.

Jeanne's Fiancée

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

thanks sally ,julie and kristen..i loved the story dog mose is loved more than i can say...

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said... crack me up! thanks for the comment...

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

welcome ruben..what a lucky, lucky man!!! and congratulations!
thanks for the comment..

Jean Schanberger said...

Thanks to you all for your very kind remarks, Rose deserves them! Glad to hear about all the "pet people" out there. Be sure to give your four-legged loved ones a big hug!

And yes, Amy, I've been called "Blue Jean" here and there... ;)


Anonymous said...

Beautiful story..Thank you Diane and Jean!