Sandy: Story-Review Sagas

The workday was officially over, and I’d just gotten on the highway for the hour-plus commute home when my cell phone rang. I looked at the incoming number, and it was hunter/jumper trainer Steven Weiss, with whom I was working on a story, “Better Distances with the Medium Pace,” for the July 2011 issue. We were in the final stages of getting the story ready for print, so I knew Steve was calling to review the photos and captions I’d sent him earlier that day. I also knew he was going to be extremely busy over the next two weeks with horse shows at his home base, Old Salem Farm in New York, so getting this last review ASAP was critical. I answered and told Steve I’d call him back in five minutes. I snaked my car through bumper-to-bumper traffic toward the nearest exit and into the parking lot of an office park. Sifting through my briefcase on the passenger seat, I pulled out a pencil and a draft of the story and called Steve back. As I balanced the manuscript on the steering wheel, Steve gave me a few minor changes. After about 10 minutes, we said goodbye and the story was ready for proofreading. As I headed back to the highway, I could feel myself begin to relax. To ensure accuracy, we send every article to the appropriate featured expert to review. For training stories, they also approve the photos. Things get interesting because trainers, we all know, don’t have 9-5 jobs, so sometimes tracking them down can be challenging. Are they at home or a show? Are they in the US or Europe? Did they even get the email? Questions like that are always on my mind throughout the production life of a story, but they become big, blaring neon signs the closer we get to deadline. So if a trainer calls, no matter where I am or what time it is, I try to be available. A month earlier on a Friday afternoon, for instance, I had just finished working on the final story of George Morris’ nine-part series. As our usual procedure, I faxed a draft to his Florida home for him to review and left a message on his cell phone alerting him to its arrival. The next morning, I woke to two messages from George on my home and cell phones. The calls had come in around 10 the night before when I had been fast asleep. (Yes, I live such an exciting life that I’m often in bed by 9 on a Friday night.) In his voice mail, George said he was giving a clinic in Colorado over the weekend and could I fax the story to his hotel. I was just about to call George back when he called me to make sure I got his message. Thankfully my 2-year-old daughter was happily engrossed in feeding her Cheerios to our black lab, so there the background din was at a minimum. I’d fortunately brought a copy of the story home with me. Unfortunately, my home fax was broken, so my daughter and I headed to the nearest Staples, where I faxed the story and phoned George’s hotel just to make sure it arrived. The next morning, my phone rang at about 7, and the caller ID showed it was George. My daughter, however, was being extremely boisterous so I didn’t dare answer the phone. George left a message saying he’d be heading to the clinic soon, but he wanted to go over the story. In a hurry, I plunked my daughter on my sleeping husband and shut myself in our home office to call George back. We reviewed his changes and chatted a little bit about his upcoming schedule. As I hung up the phone, I again breathed a sigh of relief. Another story review done?and I hadn’t even changed out of my pajamas for this one! To read a sample of the weekly training schedule Steven Weiss gives his students, click here. For stories about the George Morris Training Sessions, click here.

Steven Weiss’ article in Editor Sandy Oliynyk’s mobile office (car) awaiting review. ?Sandra Oliynyk
Gabrielle Baker IHSA
Reflections on Competing at IHSA Nationals
IHSA Rider
Favorite Memories from the 2017 IHSA Nationals
IHSA Day 1
IHSA Nationals Through the Lens
My Life: A Dressage Queen Breaks Out promo image
My Life: A Dressage Queen Breaks Out