Eleanor S Eulogy
Eleanor just loved stories, according to her grandmother with whom she spent much time whilst in the UK she especially loved the stories my misspent youth! So many of these stories of her life may seem just too perfect to be true, ….we all know that Ellie stood for hyperbellie, but amazingly I am just telling it as it was.
The first story is the probably most important here today. Eventing is a complex sport with many moving parts. It sometimes feels that all these variables cannot come together for one perfect event. In her early days Eleanor like most teens could get frustrated fall into the if only…. this or that… Two years ago I was with her at an event in England and this time it was me doing it ….if only lorry hadn’t broken down again and made you late to the warm up ring. Mummy I have finally learnt that you should never ever ever do the Couldve, shouldve, would’ve. So I say this to you all and most particularly myself as we go forward no could’ve should’ve, would’ve !!!! Ella will always be young & golden, full of hope & talent.
Two common threads in all the tributes and stories folks have been kind enough to share with us over the last few days:
she lived a big life quotes “she lived 50 years in 21”, “I was sure she was with us 18 months but it was only 6,”….” I thought she must be older because feel like I knew her for more than 21 years.” “She lived a fairy tale”. Bit this fairy tale was not from magic, but from determination & hard work.. She was a worker who earned her place from her own efforts, achieving those grades so that the skeptical parents would pay the competition entries, getting up at 4 to drive across the country, taking the equine partners she could afford who were talented but needed some fixing and through love, attention and hard work building the partnership she needed.
The other theme is that Eleanor changed people’s lives because she had such strong goals and such enthusiasm, determination and drive. Jackie & David Green who she worked for in the UK told me that Ellie had made, their words not mine “these old horse people re-look at their lives and objectives,” by the way she looked after the horses, the size of her goals, the quality and suppleness of the tack after she had finished with it and above all her magical cottage.
Eleanor like most early career riders could not expect luxurious accommodation at her workplace and the Greens yard was no exception. One day Andrew was interrupted in a meeting in the US by a call it’s your daughter calling from England, all sorts of panicky visions arose) but Ella she was just in B&Q (lowes equivalent).Daddd What paint do you use on walls? She transformed her grungy aging trailer which no-one had thought to do anything with for years, and renamed it the magical cottage. The Greens also admired the training of her dog Zipper and he was always required to be on parade when they had dinner guests. Was it his incredible soccer skills, which ellie practiced each day with him, or his powerful singing – but only to her favorite John Mayer, and James Blount.
Everyone knows that Eleanor was in a powerful hurry, it started early,
Christmas of 1985 found Andrew and I in India and Nepal. We were visiting Fatepuhr sikhri an exquisite temple near to the Taj Mahal, when we were told that if we wanted our dreams to come true we needed to tie a silk thread to the beautiful marble screen at its heart. On September 10th 1986 Ella was born.
It seemed Ella was always destined to be a passionate horsewoman. Winter holiday 1990 and we were vacationing by the beach in Tunisia a Mediterranean country. In Mediterranean culture large families produces big brothers who love little kids and love to treat them, whether with candy or rides. As we made sandcastles Christmas day a gorgeous young man on a white (or as we now know grey) horse came galloping down the beach stopping only briefly to sweep blonde curly haired Ella up and off they went leaving us with our hearts in our mouth. They soon circled back and cantered around us, any other 3 year old might have been wailing with fright, Ella was grinning from ear to ear.
When she was 7 we gave in to her pleas to take riding lessons, so we trekked around various suburban stables, but none was right and eventually we gave up, deciding she wasn’t really interested. . However last year she shared with me that she couldn’t bear the cramped conditions the ponies were kept in. She settled for Scruffy the hamster, on whom she lavished all her pocket money for food and bedding.
Once we moved to Albemarle when she was 12 she was finally in a place where she could ride horses who could be looked after in the way she wanted and she was off,…..
I know most of you have been to her website so read her own words and stories about her grandfather’s inspiration and the list inside her trailer door setting out her steps to 4 star, I wont repeat. Just to say. She had outrageous dreams and fulfilled them against all odds. She always joked that her biography (such confidence) should be called 4 star from 4 acres (it was a little but not much more acreage), But of course like us all she was flawed too. She was an outrageous drama queen, and would do most things to get into a photograph. She so so loved her friends old and new and as your lovely internet posts have shown would do anything for others, and was always helping and kind, and always took care to take time to help friends and younger ones. However she could perceive the world as centering around her, as this story illustrates.
B& Q again only this time with her Daddy aged around four and recently cast as a shepherd in the nativity play, when the announcement came over the loudspeaker “would A shepherd come to the service desk please” Daddy how does God know that I am here?
Before I leave you with an understanding of things she loved I must tell you two stories from last week. She decided she needed to give me some homework. She was a huggy huggy person and would randomly squeeze and tell me I love you mummy. She was doing this last week and realized I was standing there totally limp, I am not a huggy person. OK I am going to give you a hugging lesson and then you will have to practice again and again. Sadly I have had more practice this week than she planned.
As she came out of her tack room Saturday morning to get on to Barney (it had been a little out of sorts weekend and dressage had not gone well as it normally did for them. For unlike Bailey he did not attempt to jump out of the dressage arena) but she looked up at me. You know what I forgot, no I said thinking medical armband, crop whatever, she said no, I forgot to celebrate. Celebrate what? His extended trot, he never does well on that and I have really been working on it and he got 8s I really need to remember to celebrate, and off she went.
But Eleanor was so much more than just a talented horsewoman she loved her family and had a great talent for life and friendship
She lived with gusto and she Loved
A clean barn and a messy bedroom,
Driving over Afton mountain at dawn on her way to compete at the Virginia Horse Center
Gelato especially from San Gimigniano
Nicknames which always mutated Daddy to Boompers, to Boompers chappy,
Zipper to Zippy to piggles to St Piggles of Assisi
Davie, Karen and Brian. ….. come on Erica and lucia explain that to the O Connors.
Her cat Cloudy became George Clooney,
Barney was Brad Pitt
Impressionist painting - what 7 year old has her birthday party at the National Gallery Tate Modern
Trash magazines, Perezhilton.com
Declaiming Poetry, Shakespeare, Drama, hating math
Sunshine her kitten then cat
Well oiled tack
Carousel Farm, especially standing alone with her horses in her tiny barn early in the morning
Being the gofer carrying Kim, Linda and Dan’s swag around after a triumphant Rolex Kentucky
Romantic movies especially if they involved hugh Grant or colin firth
Teaching kids to ride the correct pace for xcountry
Xcountry at Morven or indeed anywhere
Seeing Sarah Kozumplik at Bramham, Lainey at Blenheim
English Erica (well actually dutch American Erica in England)
Auntie Anna’s Cadburys stash
Bailey Zwei despite the spinning
Sting, but only Doo doo dah and fields of Gold
Virgin Atlantic Airmiles
The Royal enclosure
Driving her horse lorry
Riding out with the Beaufort hunt
Dancing with Prnce Harry, …. Just once
Driving her texas truck, driving KA
Chasing her dreams
Please remember Eleanor her life, and loves by dreaming big and chasing that dream. If each Thanksgiving you remember her and including a thanksgiving for her life in your celebrations each one of you right down to the very youngest here, Then she will live on for a very very long time. If you are a rider take a button with her cross country colors green and gold, (larger than intended but maybe thats fitting) and take her for one last ride choose something you love whether it’s a Thanksgiving meet, a trail ride in beautiful country, Rubicon, Jersey Fresh, Rolex or Burghley a dressage or a jumper show, and if any of you make think you might make it to the Olympics in her hometown London in 2012 save it for that. If like me your more comfortable on the ground but can go to a place Eleanor loved take her there one last time.
Eleanor is to be laid to rest here in this beautiful churchyard around the corner from Plain Dealing close to Carousel Farm. As she wished in a sunny spot, with a view of the Grayson Farm (where she started her equestrian journey) cross country course, a prelim. corner to be precise, Cadbury her first (hypochondriac) horse and Zipper will join us from that field.