Life has been so exciting the last few months. It seems every weekend I was flying somewhere and something new was upon me. I made a quick trip to Oregon to Nike. I always love going there. This time they let me sign the athlete's wall. I put a big 'dressage' under my name to represent! I then went to California to a friend's wedding. It was fun because as all barn girls know we prefer boots and dirt but once in awhile a dress and a pair of slinky pumps are a nice change. I went with a vintage 50's look, wavy hair and all. I was then off for a quick friend weekend in Angelfire snowboarding. Ok my friends snowboarded and I cooked and spent most of the time in the warming house. But that's another story. I visited my mom's Dual Credit class to see her teaching and now have a date for 'prom'. As a girl who never had her own school prom this seems like it will be fun! Another excuse for a dress and heels. I next dashed over to Welly World to support my bestie (and big sis) Genay in her U25 season at Global. Of course, there were so many of my friends competing it is also a great way to catch up with everyone. I stayed a little longer than I expected because I wanted to help out the USET with the AEGT and decided to sing again with my friend Anna. Maybe next time we should try a duo. We might win if we pool our clapping fan base. As soon as I got home I left for my current adventure-horse shopping in Europe. I left on Valentine's Day which was a bit of an omen because I came looking for my horse partner. I found 2 great horses that I'm vetting now. I think I am already in love. But then again, any horse shopping girl knows how easy it is to fall in sort of love with them all. But it is that true connection we look for right! Ok so too much Valentine sap, even after a week. But maybe the romance stayed with me a bit longer because I took a four day break from shopping to dash down to Italy. I knew with my new business adventure I would most likely not have any free time for years so I took advantage of the distance and the days I had waiting for the next appointment to see Rome, Milan and Florence. I have to say I have never seen a city more beautiful than Rome. It might be a new favorite.
I head home in the morning to Detroit to get busy with the new property. Grandma and mom have been working to update a few things and the new arena footing is scheduled next month. I have to say that business ownership is a lot different than competing. As a business owner, everything becomes about surviving economically so that you can pursue your vision. I've met with roofers, footing people, plumbers, feed people and potential employees. I'm really grateful for all the experiences I've had at NAJYRC, D4K and the YRGP among others. They have all helped me to obtain the valuable skills I need to make the transition from youth rider to adult business owner. I learned about setting high expectations and everything from contracts to feed needs. I learned so many details from so many excellent trainers about how I want to run my barn. Having been a working student under 6 different trainers and owners I gained a lot of insight in to what I want to do. I think it will be interesting to see that 'my' way is an amalgamation of pieces from every place I've worked. This step has been 14 years in the making. Every day it feels more and more real. A life in dressage has always been my goal but now I am beginning to have the concrete financial independence to do so. I can not thank the people enough in my life who helped make this possible. My parents, my Uncle James and Cousins Amy and Ava have to be particularly noted. So do all my trainers Mary, Mary, Bre, Jeremy and of course the amazing Christine. The photographers, freestyle designers, vets, massage therapists, PT guys, barn grooms, insurance agents, have all been the foundation of my dream. IRH and Custom Saddlery have been my rock for so long. I can always count on you. By the way Johnny if your reading this I'm bringing home two new babies! Nina thanks for coming to my rescue the day before Germany and overnighting me two amazing helmets for the trip. Finally, I have to unequivocally express how invaluable my Nike family is to me. Your support has been all encompassing. The confidence you give me and the faith you have shown me is beyond measure. The excitement of our working together and the doors you have opened for me have been without parallel. I'm excited about all our future projects together.
So I fly home in the morning and my two new geldings will be following shortly. For those of you horse people reading this one is a Sezuan and one a Furst Romancier. I can't wait to see what we can do together boys.