Eventers have true grit and here’s why



Eventers have true grit and here’s why

They say Eventers have GRIT… I’ve had to experience it first hand this past year after the sudden passing if my husband. People tell me I’m strong, but on the inside I don’t feel that way at all. Always in the edge of falling to pieces over spilled milk. Riding and training for the Events I want to enter, was the only thing that kept me from laying in my bed feeling sorry for myself.

But recently in my Area 1 Eventing world, I had an up close look at exactly how strong the women here in Area 1 are. As I was preparing for Groton house my favorite 3 day show here in beautiful Hamilton Massachusetts… I twisted my ankle pretty badly five weeks prior. No not a horse injury but at a stupid trampoline park… what was I thinking? It might have been safer to have taken that jump lesson after all. Surely my ankle would be fine in time for the show but sadly it was NOT! But when you are delivered a lemon you make lemonade, right. So, I offered my entry and ride on my horse to my Trainer and asked, “Do you think you could take her Training level?” So about 10 days prior to the show, when I had to make the switch, we squeezed those lemons to get about five Training level rides in before the show.

Now we know my horse can jump but I ride Novice, occasionally sampling a Training cross-country question or big oxer. But obviously to do a whole course could be a challenge with my quirky ‘wants to do it her way’ mare. But my trainer took it on with ease, getting to know her and finessing her to get the movements needed for dressage and figuring out how to jump into water instead of launching!

But the week leading up to that Groton House show proved to be another tough pill to swallow, as my trainer endured some personal setbacks. Her foal stepped on her foot and it was not broken but pretty swollen. What is going with the lower extremities people?

Then mid week a sick horse with tragic outcome. It had to have been emotionally draining on her. I felt like we should just throw in the towel but my trainer showed up for the final training ride on time and in good spirits. I was impressed she still wanted to go and ride my horse for me. HARD CORE.

So off we went to the show. They rode a very respectable Training level dressage test. On cross-country my horse was a super star, with just a tap to convince her to drop into the water. She ate up those fences with ease, finally getting to use the power she was bred for! My trainer had to ride every stride in that big stadium ring but dropped only one rail on a tight turn to finish 7th at my horse’s first Training level Event! Throughout the weekend it was fun to hear our fans cheer as my trainer went by, insisting on wearing our signature pink garb. It was very exciting to watch them get their ribbon and go for the victory gallop. I was one very proud mamma!

But while we were at the show that weekend, another amazing strong woman was there having had surgery for cancer only a few days prior. All of us in Area 1 know the fundraising campaign “Buck off Cancer” so there we were in the heat of the summer, in between electrical storms plugging thru the grueling schedule each day and here was this amazing woman…looking quite stylish even with her chemo bags, smiling and spreading her upbeat attitude to everyone around. It made me verklempt yet proud to be a part of such a group of women that defy all odds to do a sport they love more than life itself! Or maybe there is no life without this crazy sport?!

Perhaps life is a test. Seeing how much you can handle before you crack.I don’t know, some days I feel like nothing more than a gooey broken egg on the floor…but keeping company around some amazing strong woman has made me realize that I’m lucky to be a part of the “TUFF CHICKS CLUB”

55+ something AA Extraordinaire in Area 1
Striving to be the best I can for my horse!

I dedicate this article to the two strong women that inspired me to write this piece. Erin Renfroe of Waters Edge Farm in Concord Massachusetts and Jessica Halliday of JH Eventing at Baile Hill Farm in Sutton Massachusetts. INSPIRATION is too small of a word for these gals!

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