Thursday, April 1, 2010

Get In the Game

I am three weeks out from KY. I have been working hard on getting Vaunted where he needs to be at this point and I got the go ahead from Dr. Brady and from Bonnie to continue on with my plan. If I were to sit here and tell you that I am cool, calm, and collected, I would be lying so much that my nose would grow long enough that I could build a bridge to Australia.

Vaunted is looking good. He is at a good weight, well muscled, on schedule for his gallops, and has getting those half passes down. However I have got more things going through my head than a I-95 toll booth. It is now when I am so thankful to have such a great coach behind me. While Bonnie is also competing at KY and has her own demons to worry about she is so supportive of Vaunted and I. She just keeps telling me to be patient and to remember that I am on a horse that I have been doing advanced on for 4 years now and have a partnership that is iron clad. At the end of the day he knows how to jump, knows how to answer all the questions out on course, and knows how to do the movements in the dressage. My goal now is to put the polish on that and make sure that I don't let my insecurities transfer over to him. She just keeps telling me that Vaunted will tell me what he needs from me and what is right for that day.

Horses are horses. Each day is a bit different than before. Therefore each day has a new question to ask. I think that is really why we all love doing it so much, right? If they were the same everyday then we would all be on the Olympic team! That leads me into my next thought, "the team". I have been lucky enough to be approached a couple of times by either Mark or one of his group members about my horse and I. However there have been a few things that I still need to improve on before I go down that avenue. I admire so much those that are able to keep their composure while having the team and the thoughts of the team breathing down their necks. While I do want to be apart of that atmosphere and that intensity, I always think of what Kim once said to me. She told me that she thinks it is a blessing that she was not able to go to ride for the team in Atlanta. (I think that was when it was) At any rate, she was in her mid 20's and while she was very disappointed at that time she said it was in the long run maybe a good thing. She was young and she said she had allot to learn before she was able to go out and show everyone what she was made of. I must say, from what I have seen this sport is one that longevity is only going to help you. It is amazing to listen to stories of the true greats in the sport due to the fact that they have so much first hand experience with everything and their reasons for doing something is not just because they read it out of a book.

I take great pride in the fact that I am able to work for someone else and still compete at the upper levels. While it is with great thanks to Bonnie for allowing my to keep my horse as first priority, as she does with Murry, it is a learning experience everyday. I know that while I have been lucky enough to do all that I have at such an early part of my career, there is still so much to do and so much to observe. This game is very much mental as it is physical. That being said I think that for where I am at in this juncture, I have to work on my mental conditioning as well as my physical conditioning. Easier said than done but I will give it a go for the sanity of my horse and everyone around me! :) Without those people, I would not be here.

Having missed both Southern Pines and The Fork, I question myself and if I will be ready. Not my horse, me. I spoke with Bonnie about this and she said, "Ashley, how many horses did you jump today, 4, OK well you only have to jump 1 at KY and that one knows how to jump and knows your thoughts before you have them!" She is (as usual) right. I am lucky right now to be able to jump everything from Vaunted, to a training horse, to the little baby Pixie! Although these horses are at very different levels I have been able to work on myself and my position which will allow me to be better on Vaunted. So while I did steal a few of those "air sick" bags from the plane on the way back from teaching in KY, I will put them away for now and focus on today. Focus on what I can change and not what I can't. I know Vaughn, I know my coach's cell number,(and where she lives!) and I know how to ride my horse.

While all of that is rather heavy, I wanted to mention the clinic that I taught in Lexington KY this past weekend. I was lucky enough to be asked to teach the UKY Event Team. What a great group of "Kids". (seeing as how most of them are rather close to my age!) We had a wonderful facility, to which I must thank Marty Whitehouse for the use of her farm Red Gate. When I was flying into KY it was amazingly beautiful. What a wonderful place. However I got off the plane and saw a million and one signs for the WEG's. While I do not plan on attending as a rider, I still got nervous!! There were even coasters at the airport bar that were adverts for the WEG's. The clinic was a great success and it was fun chatting with everyone Sat. night. Unfortunately the UK game was on at the same time and there was a little sadness in the air when they lost...I am not a sports fan but I felt their pain. Also, as a funny side note, the guy on the tarmak kind of looked like Charlie I took a picture, then I got yelled at by the airline attendant to turn off my cell phone. I have this secret plan in life to be an airline stewardess so I obeyed the rules. Thanks you guys so much for a great weekend and can't wait to come back!!!

I am only sure about the inner working of a few of the upper level riders but I know that for myself, at 3 weeks out from a huge event....I am going to STOP second guessing myself and ride. I am going to listen to Vaunted and trust my coach and my plan. Oh, I will also probably start packing...Bonnie gets so mad at me because I am such an over packer....I'm like a boy scout, always prepared!

No comments:

Post a Comment