Kentucky in perspective

Last week was not my greatest success. I forgot Elliot's dressage test (...twice), forgot my show jump on Heidi, and fell off Elliot in the show jump. But the horses were incredible. Elliot went into the dressage more ride-able than ever. He ran around the USEF CCI* national championship cross-country course fast and clean. He recovered in the vet box in less than 10 minute, and felt great the next day for his jog. He went into the show jump and was soft and quiet. He did exactly what I told him. It just happened to be wrong. Heidi's dressage improved drastically in one week. She was in the top four of a division with over 20 horses. She ran around a tough training cross country, which caused a number of more experienced training horses and riders grief. She left all the rails up the final day in the show jump.

Above that, the horses have come so far in such a short time. Seven months ago Elliot wasn't even in work; he was recovering from colic surgery and a tendon strain. A year ago, we weren't even sure he would live through surgery. Before that, he was squealing and frolicking throughout much of the competitions. And before that, he was scared to death of poles on the ground. Heidi within a week has improved markedly. If she's made this much progress in such a short time, I cannot wait to see where she will go.

It is such an exciting time for RBF. We have so many talented young horses up and coming. We have a promising new partnership with Jim Graham. We have new wonderful sponsors. Our students are riding well. We have more interest in lessons than ever.

I was disappointed about the weekend. I wanted more than anything to complete the CCI* even if I didn't place. Between my errors in the dressage, forgetting my course, and falling in show jump, I was feeling very down on myself. Looking back on the weekend and with the help of some very supportive friends, I realize I have to take a step back for a minute to look at the big picture. Things are actually going well. One bad weekend, however disappointing, does not make me a bad rider or a bad horse person. This sport is so mental. I let my brain, nerves, and excitement overwhelm me.

We were lucky enough to get Elliot entered at the Virginia CCI* in a couple weeks so I have a second chance. I'm spending the next week resting my brain as much as my body. I just need to keep it simple, do what I do best, and revel in the opportunity to work with some amazing people and ride some amazing horses.