I’d say these are deep thoughts, but I’m no Jack Handey.
- Even the best of
the best have to deal with equine mishaps, and on a regular basis. Prior to this experience I always went into
the ring with a nervous tic, worried about what everyone else was thinking
about me, my horse, my riding. The bigger
the names around, the more nervous I got. I
honestly can say that this experience has allowed me to relax a little about my
trips in the ring. Part of that is the
fact that my horse played/bucked around one of the biggest stages, and those serving as witness were supportive and sympathetic.
The other part is watching even the best horsemen in our industry
struggle with their own equine demons. I
watched the hunter/jumper big names have stops, spooks, bucks, rears, shies, crashes, runaways, and otherwise. Horses are horses, and
although I don’t want to paint the picture that this was the majority, I saw a
little bit of everything. This made me
realize that those that are standing at the side of the ring being judgmental
simply haven’t had the opportunity to gain some humility that can only be
granted by a horse who decides they don’t want to go along with the game plan
for whatever horse given reason. Even those who have a barn entrance that looks like this will struggle from time to time.
- All of the buildup that is given around WEF is true, and then some. Often when someone describes an experience they’ve had, the hype exceeds the reality. Granted this is my own personal take, but in this situation, the reality actually exceeded the hype. I could not have imagined how big, how many horses, how many cute foreign men, and how awesome the experience of WEF is. I know it is humdrum for a lot of people out there, but I can’t imagine a horse show being bigger or more exciting than this one. Friday and Saturday night entertainment, shopping, beach 30 minutes away, weather, real estate that is completely built with equines in mind, and the ability to immerse yourself in different disciplines brings a truly unique atmosphere that for me is unrivaled.
- Sometimes the best
of friends are those you haven’t met yet.
I mentioned this before, but I met my WEF host via the Chronicle of The
Horse Bulletin boards. When I posted
that I was going, she went out on a limb and offered me a place to stay for my
WEF experience. Luckily, it turned out
that she is not an axe murderer, and I made a new friend that I hope to have
for life. She opened her place to me and
all of my assorted on going adventures with as much friendship and grace as I
thought possible. That and she made
allowances for my new found Florida avocado obsession, this being a key part of
our bonding experience.
Welly-side That's right, I'm about as white girl as they come.
- DH really is the best DH I could ask for. Not even ONCE did he ask me what all of this is costing, and trusts that I will make good financial decisions (oh dear, this could be a downfall). He drove DC and I to Florida, turned around and flew directly home, then flew back and drove me home to Austin. No question in his mind about what a pain that all would be, just did it for me so I could have this experience. When things weren’t going well and I was stressed beyond reason he made me take a step back and said “You’re not there to win, you’re there to have a good time. As long as you’re having a good time, I don’t care about the money, I don’t care about winning, I care that you’re doing what you love.” Then when a decision needed to be made on if we should send DC to Gulfport, after much discussion, and reasoning, he didn’t say “no” he said “Is there a good golf course there?” Seriously. I picked a winner.
- Though still
young and green, DC is truly a unique gem of a horse that I am beyond blessed
to own. There are few American bred
horses competing at that level, even fewer still that are only coming 7, and
even fewer than that that only can claim a handful of pro rides to their name,
and no pro division during the week.
Actually, he might just be the only one.
I feel like he’s a Dr. Pepper 1/1 commercial. Hey maybe I could pitch it to their marketing
- Astroturf is the
fabric of the show jump future. Or some sort of awesome
slogan like that.
Why even bother with the flowers?
- Lastly, life is short. It’s so cliché I know, but it’s true. While I was in WEF, a woman fell from her horse and died in surgery a short time later as a direct result of her fall. It can be scary to think of how one small thing can change everything. I try to take a true 'seize the day' mentality and live life to the fullest. You just never know what the greater plan is for you. As those youngin's of today would say YOLO!!!
I am so lucky to have had this experience, and can’t wait for Gulfport!