A lot of my friends are headed off to Kentucky this week. I feel a little off not getting packed myself. I am going to miss the US vs Canada water balloon fight we started at our house! I am going to miss the parties, the meetings and most of all making friends. Reese, summer just isn’t summer without a visit to Maplecrest Farm. The grass in Kentucky is so green an rich, even the horses dream about this trip every year. By the way, everyone be careful about grazing too much! The NAJYRC vets told me last year that the cell walls of the grass in Kentucky is thicker than most types in other regions.
The last three years we drove from DFW to Lexington and I think I know the route by heart. Like my Canadian friend Colby mentioned on FB yesterday be sure to check out Cracker Barrel! I think I know all the Cracker Barrels between DFW and Lexington! We used to stop at them with the Bauers all the time because Courtney loved them. Anyway I thought I would take some time to say good luck to everyone and I wish I could be there to cheer for you.
I also wanted to give a little advice to all the first time attendees (and maybe some returning competitors). Get some sleep. I don’t just mean the night before you ride. I mean from now until then be eating right, sleeping and drinking lots of water before you go as well as when you are there. Sometimes when we stress in preparation we take short cuts. My mom says that at the university, students cram, don’t sleep, and eat like crap the week before finals so finals week they are all sick and run down! You don’t want Lexington to be your finals week when the time before catches up with you.
I have talked about visualizing before on several blogs. For more details review those or check out some of Dr. Susser’sarticles online. Every night for months before big competitions when I go to bed I lay there and visualize my test. I think about every half-halt. This is easier for those of you that have been to Lexington because you can see the arena, you can smell the sweet Kentucky grass and you can feel the heat. Even if you haven’t been doing this for months start now. It is a great relaxation exercise right before bed too. On the day of competition I always like to zone and focus. I put on head phones and try to keep all the ‘helpers’ out of the barn until they are really needed so Sjapoer and I get a lot of bonding time. With the music in your ears it is easier to not get distracted and it gives you time to review the test and just connect to your horse.
In Kentucky be sure to stay hydrated and out of the heat as much as possible! And don't forget about the people around you, look out for each other! Several riders every year end up in the med tent or back at their rooms from the heat.
Be sure to thank all the volunteers and the USEF and USDF teams. Give Hallye a big hug for me and take advantage of all the wonderful information and events they have planned. They are there to help you do not be afraid to ask any question you have and get help.
Finally, have fun and good luck!