All decked out in pink and gearing up for the biggest event of my life

Cross-country at GMHA on June 4 2017. Ann Grenier took this awesome shot!

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OK so if you read my first article, “Dreams have no age limit – It’s never too late for Equestrians” then you know I’m a crazy HORSE NUT that can’t get enough of this sport!  But here’s a little more about me…I started riding as an adult…I’m no expert horse trainer but full of lots of trial and error experiences…just a horse nut that was given the high determination gene and I use it to seek out the best for my horse and I. I kind of flip flop between a “half full/half empty glass” kind of person but at the end of the day, I dust myself off and try again and can’t believe I have this amazing and beautiful horse!

All decked out in pink and gearing up for the biggest event of my life

Soooo, as the time nears to the weekend of the big horse trial so does the intensity, well better yet the neuroticism. Since late spring, I’ve been trying to get ready for my lifelong dream to ride at Groton House 3 day HT (June 23-25). Now that the weather has finally improved here in Area I, we worked out the kinks at some early schooling shows. Then worked on some of my nerves at a few of the early sanctioned events. Stepped up the lessons in all phases, learning some new tricks and perfecting some things we’ve been working on.

But something about this show has taken on a life of its own. Just getting my entry in and postmarked on opening day was a challenge. BUT It’s exciting to imagine riding there after all those years of watching the top riders in our area gallop through the water complex. It may not be any more challenging than any of the other events in our area but for me, this is bringing on heightened performance anxiety. What was I thinking, I invited all my friends and family and husband to come watch. I want them to come but that brings on a whole new level of perfection. I hope I will actually remember to enjoy the ride. Oh god, did I learn the right dressage test? I must have checked the omnibus five times, just this week! I’ve been trying very hard to keep my head in the game. Tough enough to do the big jumps but gentle enough to create relaxation for my dressage test and precision to manoeuvre the stadium course. As a matter fact, that’s the only place my head has been… Horse, horse, horse!

My horse had her vet check before the season began, scheduled all her shoeings with my farrier so they intricately fell conveniently one week before each show. My riding schedule has been intense, six days a week with no night off. I could barely schedule my own haircut in fear of missing a night of riding and forget the mani/pedi. Amazon is my new best option for shopping needs, since the only stores in my line of fire is a small grocery store and the grain store on my way to the barn. Seems like the only time I sit is on my drive to my jump lesson or soaking in the tub at the end of the day. Crazy right?

As the show weekend nears I’m down to the last few chances to work on what I think our weaknesses are. I am dedicated to effectively using my off time to train all three phases within my budget. Along with my dressage and jump lessons, we do some conditioning gallops, stadium and cross-country schooling and a few clinics just to up the ante. Why did I have to pick three phase Eventing. Why couldn’t it have been something easy like western pleasure… I’d actually like to wear their attire! But I love EVENTING. Every crazy, exhausting, money breaking, minute of this sport!

Water jump schooling to get ready for Groton House at Scarlet Hill Farm.
Photo credit Diane Considine

And so does my horse she still perks her ears up when she sees cross-country. My beautiful horse was made for this sport! She is sturdy fit and muscled….and delicate as a flower. As the show gets closer I worry about every blemish or puffiness, why isn’t she drinking, add electrolytes…keep her covered so she doesn’t get sun-bleached…and every time I go to fetch her from her pasture I do a quick count of all four shoes. And without fail, on the day the horse has off, you get a call from the barn manager… of course, you take the call no matter where or who you’re with because within that split-second 5 million scenarios go through your mind of what could be wrong!

But here it is, the time is finally come, so many years waiting for this moment. With all the excitement along with angst, I guess that’s what makes it special. Not sure what drives me on a daily basis. So much of it is just exhausting. Even just thinking about all the packing and driving just to get to the event on time. And you know, we’ll probably get an early AM dressage time! One of my goals is to just get to the place on time, but it’s not like you can just show up, you actually have to perform. And frankly, you have to make sure your horse is ready to perform with you as a team.

So no matter what happens at the upcoming show, we plan to have a good time. With the support of my “village” Vet, Farrier, Trainer and Coach, friends and family and husband, who’s had to put up with all the horse talk. And of course this page, Eventing Connect, who gave me an outlet to vent my crazy thoughts on. It’s got to be about the journey, no matter how big or small or whatever it is.. Go for it.. it’s what makes us feel alive! All decked out in PINK, I’m LIVING my story and it’s to be continued…

My friend Stephanie took this photo with her iPhone.

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