Friday, February 21, 2014

WEF Reflections

I’d say these are deep thoughts, but I’m no Jack Handey.

  1. 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.

  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 department.  
  6. Astroturf is the fabric of the show jump future.  Or some sort of awesome slogan like that.  
    Why even bother with the flowers?
  7. 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!


  1. It was a BLAST following your adventure and I'm so glad I got to live vicariously through you! In a short time, DC has found his way into my heart and I love how honest, humble and grateful you are.

    I am really looking forward to hearing about Gulfport!

  2. Aw, #3 made my eyes all misty. :) WEF-SYYYYYDE!!!!!!

    Miss you!

  3. Super fun!! I just found your blog yesterday, but I have loved reading through it. Thanks so much for the write up.

  4. NOT ONLY DID YOU PICK RIGHT, BUT SO DID HE!!!!! Keep writing.

  5. I'm an eventer, but always love dropping in to visit at WEF when I'm in south Florida (OMG the shopping!) I've enjoyed following your adventures here and on COTH. Keep writing! Libby (Bensmom)