So Conor and I just got back from Jersey earlier this week. While the event did not go quite as he had planned, it was a very successful event for him. He was able to ride his horse in a very smart way and reacted to what was happening. That is a hard lesson to learn let me tell you, I still have to remind myself it it. Kim used to always tell me that I must ride what is happening and not what I want to happen or what I think is going to happen. After Conor had his second stop on course he was very smart to throttle back on the pace and just ride the horse home on a good confident step but not pushing him against the clock. While we were watching him go around and waiting for him to get home, I must say that I was very proud to say that I was apart of his team at that moment. He made a few mistakes but the issues he had on course were his and very easily fixed. This he knows and therefore he was thinking of his horse out there and what the horse needed at that moment. If I am able to teach someone any one thing while they are here at Bonnie's, I would be so thrilled that it be the "listen to your horse and think of your partner" lesson. Well done Conor.
The course at Jersey was much different than it has been in the past. It was much more galloping and, in the CCI** at least, you were at your second minute in the early part of the jumping test. So that was great for the horses to get going. However John did make the course a bit more challenging in the back with the terrain. There were two long "pules" up the back hills. Everyone was saying that those pules really made their horses work. It was a good FEI course. The dressage judging was a little different at times. From what Bonnie said, you had three judges that all like specific things and those specific things really were not anything that the others really wanted. So that was a bit odd but clearly the horses that did well were very good. Show Jumping I feel is always hard there. I don't know why but I have always thought it is a challenging course and definitely makes you thing throughout the course. Which is good! So overall I quite like Jersey and think that the event is run very well and I hope to be back next year. Now if only they could get rid of the turn pike...so annoying! I now know why people up north have road rage. You have one group of people that is going like 12 mph and another that is going like mock 10. uhg.
Now onto a few other fun facts from Jersey. While I do like to help and was very happy to help Conor and his horse at Jersey, grooming for one horse, can be a little slow sometimes. Therefore I like to walk around and talk to EVERYONE and maybe create my own fun. Most of this fun at Jersey took place around the food. The Furlong's set up a breakfast and snack table at the end of the barns for all the riders and grooms and really anyone who is in the barns working. It is super nice and they had some of the biggest donuts I have ever seen! They were, no kidding, as big as my face....it was AWESOME. They also had bagels with peanut butter and jelly...there is nothing better than a good pb&j on a bagel. Ok so anyway back to the funny parts...one morning Doug Payne, Lillian Heard, and myself were chatting and eating and Doug challenged Lillian to a thumb war contest. Doug loves this contest. He is crazy and a huge cheese head. I can say this because he is one of my best friends. Well seeing as how Doug is built like the jolly green giant, his thumbs are as long as that darn New Jersey turn pike. Lillian was putting up a good fight but to no avail. Doug is still the thumb war king. BUT on more important news I was deemed the best dressed groom at Jersey! I must admit that I did actually make up the award, but that is neither here nor there. I like to wear nice blouses when at the barn. I just feel as though the "look" is part of the image. Therefore I was getting comments on my blouses and my accessories...so naturally I ran with it...straight to Eventing Nation. I may have an "in" with Eventing Nation as one of the vet's, Dr. Jeff Brashear, is the owner of the place where John keeps his horse in Virginia. Use all your resources, right! The way I see it, a win is a win! :) I was not able to ride at Jersey so I had to come home with something! I was proud of my win. I now need to go get some new blouses. You see I was so proud of my outfit that I was showing everyone...and I do mean everyone. I like to talk to people. So now I can't show up at the next event in the same blouses. That just would not do for the best dressed eventer. (Which is my long term goal, good thing that Silva Martin does dressage!) I have to at least rotate right?!
With Vaughn finishing his healing from his surgery, I have not been to an event since late March. As we did not plan on having time to take the young ones out much until after the spring three days. So needless to say I was so happy to be back at an event. It is funny when you try to tell "normal" people what you do for a living. The best way I have to describe it is that this job is not a job, it is a lifestyle. You are either willing to give up all your time for it or your not. I am. That being said all my friends, all my fun, all my stress, all my nerves, all my tension, all my laughs, all my jokes, all my energy is placed and takes place at events. I think of all the people and friends at events and to be honest I consider some of them as close to me as my family. This sport/job is so intense at times and so demanding that you don't see it as just a job or a sport and no one, but those that do it, understand and can relate. So for all of your people out there that have listened to me cry, stress out, freak out, wine, and overall ramble....I thank you ever so much!! I also encourage you to do the same to me! Chances are I have been feeling the very same way that you are and it all always comes full circle. I was so happy to see everyone at Jersey and see how many people were making smart decisions when it came to their horses and a few riders were quick to pull up on course and make the decision that today was just not their day and were looking to the future. I was so proud of Lillian Heard who finished 6th at her first CCI***. It was great to see her do so well. This is Lillian at the first Jog...so classy.
Next on the calendar for me is Virginia Horse Trials. I have 2 horses going, Isbond and Vintage Trial(Vinny), and they are both for sale. Also make sure to check out the Eventing Radio show next week as I will be Co-Hosting it again and guess what......wait for it......I am getting my own segment!! That's right, they must have gone full on crazy or have nothing better to put on the air than me! Just kidding, it is going to be the best thing that you have ever heard! :) Be sure to listen in and see what it is all about (as I am not really sure what it is going to be about, I am just going to run with it.) Vaunted is going to get legged up soon and I am going to make a plan for him. As far as the distant future I would love to get him over seas next year. It is very rare that you have a horse in your lifetime that you know will do everything in his power to get you through the finish flags and complete a big event. Seeing as how the cost of doing this is going to be very hard to cover I am looking at doing allot of fundraising now. I am looking to schedule clinics, lessons, talks, and sponsorship anywhere and everywhere. I am a member of the American Horse Trials Foundation which will make any and all monies tax deductible. No amount is too small and any situation will be helpful, so if you are interested in setting something up please feel free to contact me. The sport is sometimes lending riders to believe that you need to buy an expensive horse and have allot of money to make a go of it at the top levels. I am hoping to be living proof that you just need to have a good work ethic, never stop asking questions, and never turn down and opportunity to do anything! So until next time, keep kicking, go buy a nice blouse, and eat a pb&j that is all. :) Happy Driving.