So a series of unfortunate events kept me from posting all week at NAJRYC. First, my computer hard drive crashed! Not only was this a big bad blog problem, but I am still in school at K12 and had exams to take. Lots of calls later, I got extensions but what a hassle.
So back to all the events leading up to NAJYRC! The dinner and water balloon fight with the Canadians was so much fun. I met so many amazing people. The food was great and the balloon fight was a bit lopsided with only two Americans; so it turned into a girls against boy bashing on Colby Dodd of British Columbia. We spent time talking about EDAP and trying to hook up Lendon Gray and the Canadian Chef’s to make this amazing program open up to them. Sunday was the EDAP ice cream social. It started a bit shaky when Anna Campbell of Region 9 accidentally ate a piece of a peanut in crushed Snickers. A Benadryl and a rescue from mom and things turned out all right in the end. I was excited to see my old friend Cassie Schmidt there too. I took the gang out to explore Razor Cave behind the house but we were way to chicken to go in because it looked like creepy crawly things were climbing on the ceiling. Yuck. But we did see a beautiful cherry red Chevy Super Sport 383 in the neighbor’s yard! We did get good team news as the submission by a teammate to EqEntries essay contest got the Region 6 NAJYRC a onetime grant of 1000 dollars. Go Region 6!
Monday we moved to the KHP and Sjapoer and I got a lesson with Jeremy. Things started to seem real. It was finally upon us. Tuesday at the jog I was a bit nervous as SJ and I have never had an uneventful jog. They have ranged from broken toes to being lifted a few feet in the air! I will say I got a lot of compliments on our airline stewardess-like black skirts and short sleeve blue cotton shirts. I am happy to report it went very well. There were a few tense moments when my teammate got held back and had a recheck. But she passed and the team was set for Wednesday’s team ride.
Wednesday I got a late ride in the fourth round. As we had only three riders and no drop score we got to have a later (haha 6:20) wakeup. Having a team of three makes every second of every ride so important and it puts a lot of pressure on every rider because they know there is no back up. You do not want to let your teammates down. My mom and grandma spent the day in the stands watching every ride; keeping everyone updated on our standings. I don’t let them tell me anything though. I don’t like hearing scores. I want to ride my ride without a goal in mind other than to do my best. At the end of the day, we came out with a Silver Medal for Region 6. Dinner back at the house was so fun. It was full of laughter and stories that kept everyone in stitches for hours. It was one of my favorite memories from KY.
Thursday was supposed to be a resting day, but there were so many meetings. Riding for Jeremy, as his only student, is a tremendous privilege and has given me so much knowledge as a rider. However, with every blessing comes a responsibility or two or twenty. All of those meetings some of you went to; I was at all of them (with my pulled neck) and had to listen just in case he asked me a question at any minute; I had to have a viable answer ready. Stress! The scrutiny becomes more intense and it seems like you get pulled in lots of directions! But it is worth every second. I would jump through fifty hoops a day if it meant having this opportunity. The trainer, the teacher, the mentor, whomever is giving you their knowledge and time remember there are dozens of other girls (and guys) wanting that spot and how hard would they be willing to work to get that spot! BTW my practice ride with Jeremy went well. We spent lots of time working on halting and walking. It was kind of a joke with Sadie Lahey and I from my team. We both got dinged on our walks and halts. Her trainer Karen Whitman jokingly was ‘demonstrating’ how to go about walking like a horse down the aisle of the barn. Robert Dover gave Sadie some great tips on taking Uppa sauntering through the park. Jeremy kept reminding me the halt is not about the halt but about the thoroughness before the halt. And not to get after him in the warm up in the halt; he associates it then and the next 3 or 4 he will be tense and bracing and waiting for the punishment. Most likely as this is a warm up one of those would be in my test.
Friday, I had a great feeling of surety. It was because of Sjapoer. For the first time in over a week he looked and acted like himself. He was pesky, and bugging for attention and to get out of his stall. He looked like he was ready to explode with power. He seemed to know it was a big day and he was ready. I tried to start to zone out everything early in the day. I got a call from Brandi Roenick and she gave me some last minute advice; which I have to say was spot on. Thanks girl, I owe you. I was the last rider of the day, which I have to say is my favorite spot to draw! As you walk out and the scores are posted you know where you are at. Although be careful, as your Geeky celebration dance is likely to get posted on FB by USEF! I was really astounded by Gold this year. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to win and I worked all year to learn to do my best. But this was my first year in Young Riders. I had no expectations other than to do as well as I could and to show the judges how spectacular SJ is. It just turned out really well. So luckily my first year at Young Riders will be my last (unless someone has a great horse they want me to ride in it for them next year!) But Sjapoer and I plan to move on to Brentina Cup. This will hold lots of challenges for us but Jeremy, Shauntel and I have already begun to work on the pieces needed. Friday night it was dinner at Portofino’s with Jeremy and Roberta Williams! What an honor. But the best (and worst) part of the night was when I got to save Genay Vaughn’s life when she got stung by a bee. We luckily had liquid Benadryl and an Epipen in the car and I ran out and got it for her. Unfortunately, her foot swelled up and she was in pain. So that was the second allergy related drama of the week. Anyway I love you big sis and I cannot wait until Festival of Champions. We already have a house rented to share. Fun times ahead.
Saturday because of the Gold on Friday was just ‘icing on the cake’ or as a team mom said, ‘the whip cream on the sundae.’ Again, I didn’t have expectations about the Freestyle. In fact, I had never ridden it in this entire form in competition or an arena at all. We had to make major changes to my old one and with such a short show season in Region 6, I didn’t have time to preform it as a whole. Then when my music when out in the tempe changes I decided to just keep riding my program. It did mess up my count in the movement I was in but I kept going. When the music came back on, I finished on cue and felt good about that. I hoped Jeremy noted it and would give me kudos. So when we won Gold again and then the Fiona Bann Memorial Trophy for the Pursuit of Excellence I was elevated from cloud 9 to cloud 109! I was really happy to realize later that Brandi’s name from last year will forever be just next to mine on that one!
The best thing about the week though was getting multiple hugs from Jeremy! I even have photographic evidence on FB now. He cannot deny it. I felt in those moments that his pride in the rides SJ and I put in at NAJRYC made all the hard work and sacrifice the last year worth it.
So today I am in route back to Washington with SJ. I am riding with two members of the British Columbia team that were gracious enough to give us a lift; Sydney Holme and Colby Dodd. Thank you to you guys. Without your ride to KY I wouldn’t have been here. Glad I got to know you both better and good luck in your future dressage endeavors. Well, I am off to try to get some sleep as Colby tries to steal more candy from me.