Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Wow what a weekend.  A wirlwind of highs, lows another low and then a big high and the icing on the cake was that we came home not only with a ribbon but a YELLOW!  I am still in shock.  I just have to really question whether or not I am really cut out for this sport.  A big reality check that I had competing in my first recognized event is that Eventing is a sport of no mercy.  There is no crying uncle in this sport because whether you are holding on or not it just takes you on a wild ride.  You of course have the difficult, next to impossible challange of staying completely intune and connected to this one ton animal.  But then ad into that the insane buzz of people, golf carts, dogs, trucks and nearly 200 other horses 20 of which are in the same warm up arena going in every direction at every gait.  Your only job being making sure you are quite, calm and connected at every moment.  And don't forget on a healthy, fit, athletic horse that not too long ago anytime someone was put on his back with a bunch of horses around his only job was to run real fast .  Not a challange at all right?  Um, wrong.

Then the diversity of each aspect of this sport is incredible.  I had no idea that one could have a pretty yuck dressage test, a wild ass stadium round and still come out in the top three in a division.  Boy was I wrong.  Each level is important and each horse and rider have their strong areas.  Those that score well in dressage don't neccissarily have a stellar XC which one refusal on XC pretty much means you won't be in the ribbons.  Then Stadium refusals won't make or break you but they do add up quick and having refusals pretty much means you will end up with time penalties also.  So though I felt as if we did not belong in this sport after my dressage test over the process of the entire event I figured out that Eventing is exactly where we belong.  Now as soon as someone comes up with the USXCA (united states cross country accossication) I will be first to sign up.  But since I don't see that happening any time soon Steady and I will probably have on again off again struggle to pull off a decent dressage test at a show but as long as we can muddle through enough to get to XC we will more than likely be fine.  Not our goal of course.  Our goal every time is to get a 20 in dressage, have a perfectly balanced double clear stadium and then move on to XC and go home with a blue everytime.  But if I knew we could have pulled off either of those things I would have not entered at BN.  Seriously if I knew that Steady was capable of performing the same dressage test at a show that he does every day at home and that he would not run around like a bat out of hell in stadium there is NO reason we wouldn't have entered at Novice.  And the only reason I wouldn't enter at training at that point is because I am not there yet.  He by no means would struggle with the height, dressage movements or XC.  But I knew that he wasn't ready for that yet and that is why I made the decision I did to get him out there and start getting miles on him in that environment.

Then in Eventing you are voluntarily submitting yourself to not only the judges critique and criticizm on every single step that your horse makes but also every spectator also.  And herein lies MY biggest struggle with this sport.  It is not my horse, or mistakes or chaos that cause me the most stress.  I don't blink at the size of a jump or the shape.  I guess I am just dumb enough to not be afraid.  My horse has issues yes but I accept his issues because of the talent he also posseses.  You cannot expect to have a super athletic horse and then him not ever have axiety or tenseness issues.  Just watch the upper level event dressage tests.  The horses are often tense and more than occasionally naughty.  These issues frustrate me, disappoint me at times but I always get over them.  My #1 struggle in this sport is that I don't know if my skin is thick enough.  I am very affected by peoples words and take them to heart whether I should or not.  I think I come across way tougher than I actually am.  The judges I can handle I mean that is what I am doing in there is paying for their opinion.  I actually LOVE to read judges comments.  They are almost always spot on and very helpful.  The things I cannot handle are when those around me make comments about my horse, the way I ride and make judgements on both accounts based on what they see in that very stressful moment in time.  Almost always the people are not meaning any harm by thier words and probably actually are trying to be helpful.  But in reality this is a snapshot in time.  Just because the horse behaves a certain way or I ride a certain way doesn't mean it is the everyday norm.  As for me and Steady it is almost always not the norm because show environments just get him going.  So I have no issue with others or even their words.  I actually respect people who can be bluntly honest, I guess I just don't know if I am strong enough cause there are times that I just want to say UNCLE!!!!


  1. A snapshot in time - you said it well.

    I relate how people talk about me and my horse to how they talk about my human girls. You take pride in your daughters same as your horse - you try and be the best mom you can be and horse owner. When others make less than tactful comments - it hurts.

    I am pretty thin skinned, so I know where you are coming from. I have any advice? Not really except to go with your heart and keep doing what you love. And remember all the good horse people out there who are cheering you on and happy to hear about your victories!

  2. I fully understand where you are coming form! I event a Clydesdale/TB cross- not alot of people like draft crosses for eventging-but we have been successful in USEA events. However, he is bred to pull and not push with the hind end- things changed and dressage tests went from lousy to stelalr after I started riding with a grand prix dressage instructor in addition to my eventing trainer. Give it a try and Kick On!

  3. Congrats on the ribbon! Dealing with other people's opinions can be hard, but eventually you'll either shut them up or learn to ignore them. Hopefully both. ;-)

    1. I so commented. Thanks for the reminder though. I am super proud of you for riding well and coming home with a ribbon, but I absolutely require a play by play rather than just an overview. Hello, crazy stadium round??? I am picturing a steeplechase.

  4. Yay for the ribbon! Congrats! :)

    I admire that you ride cross country!

  5. Ok, I can relate. Although I've NEVER shown in anything other than barn shows H/J, there was PLENTY of 'comments' from the peanut gallery and it always got me. I dont know why b/c in life, I could care the horse world, I always feel like I'm 10 steps of knowledge behind so those words sting as I'm trying to wade through it all (this is all past feelings as I haven't shown since like 1997 lol-so obviously it stung to still remember!)
    BUT-my Husband who was a stellar Basketball player would tell me of stories of how he was heckled during HS and College games and how he used it FOR him instead of against him. I dont know 'how' but it built him UP instead of tearing him down. He would egg on the hecklers and point to the score board with his high points showing and urge them on!! Can you imagine the ego to do that, lol!! BUT, it helped him and he's NOT that person in life, just on the court (past). So, try and find that alter ego and remember..YOU HAVE A RIBBON and a GORGEOUS talented pony! They only talk of those they are jealous of ;)HUGS

  6. You have a tougher skin than I do lol! Someone can tell me I blinked wrong and I will cry. I'm exaggerating of course, but you get the idea. I know I wouldn't have a thick enough skin or the guts to do what you do. I admire what you do! I think you're doing a fantastic job! Just try to ignore the critics. :D Oh and I meant to say on your last post I don't know how anyone could remember it all! There's so much to keep track of. Courses, watches, camera, etc. Sheesh!


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