31 January 2011

Leslie The Fifth - Not A King But A Candidate

The Grant-Laws at Full Sail Farm in 2006 ©Nan Rawlins/Equimage

I'm going to have to redo my survey.  Just learned from Eventing Nation (what a great site)  that Leslie Law has turned in the fifth (and maybe or maybe not final?) application for the US Chef d'Equipe position. Over the years, I've had an opportunity to meet and chat with or interview most of the current candidates but only one has let me watch as he picked up the laundry, literally.

Leslie and the fabulous Shear l'Eau, 2006 ©Nan Rawlins/Equimage
Several years ago, I was asked by England's Eventing Magazine  to visit Leslie Law's Ocala barn and home. It was a treat for me as the visit was timed to fall not too long after Leslie brought home Olympic gold. He and Lesley Grant were in the final stages of planning their wedding and everyone in that barn was in a great mood. I'd been asked to visit the soon to be Grant-Law's to shoot an Eventing: Through the Keyhole feature.  Both Leslie and Lesley was gracious and friendly.  Leslie's friendly enthusiasm and energy were seemingly boundless, and most importantly to this discussion, his working students happy and non-stressed.

Whenever I visit a well-known personage's  barn, I like to talk to the help - the folks who live day in and day out with the big-named "personality". Observing and chatting with the people in the background is always illuminating -- you come away with a pretty fair idea of what goes on behind the scenes -- what the biggie's really like when the camera is put away and the recorder's stop button as been pushed. You sometimes can't write about it, but you end up knowing the bottom line.

To my mind, how the working students feel about their mentors is even more telling.  Working students are in a barn because they want to be, not because they have to be. If they love what they do and for whom they do it,  that's the gold standard. How the coach/teacher teaches and runs the barn and his/her teaching operation always shows through the working student.  If the student's are smiling and relaxed, there must be a reason.  Effusive in their praise of their coach/boss when he or she is no where in sight? That's a pretty fair assessment of the behind the scenes, out of the spotlight,  nitty-gritty. In the Grant-Law's case, at least on that particular day in Ocala, the Lesley and Leslie students were happy.  Those gals loved their jobs --  and the soon-to-be Grant-Laws.

John at EN reports that Leslie has never been part of the USEF system. Could this lack of federation political baggage be a good thing in the long run?

The candidates will be narrowed down to a short list by the search committee, then passed along to the Active Riders Committee for review. As there has been no end date announced, time truly will tell...

And, as for  that laundry? Well, lets just say that Leslie was right in there, shoulder to shoulder with the other Lesley, picking up the pieces... ~ Nan

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