May 9, 2016 admin

Rolex CCI4

Last weekend Tactical Maneuver (a.k.a. Gucci) and I completed our first CCI4* at Rolex Kentucky. Being a 4* rider has been on my dream list for a long time. Competing at that level to me symbolized someone who is an elite horseman, because the sport of eventing at the highest levels takes not only being a good rider but also being a good horseman — a horseman who has taken years to condition and train their horse to compete in any weather conditions at one of the most difficult equestrian sports in the world. Earlier this season I took a step back to assess some things. I doubted myself. I wasn’t sure how the Rolex weekend was going to go. Competing at Rolex was something I had been close to several times but had never been able to actualize. I didn’t want to let my horse, myself, or my team down. I realized that in my mind I thought that by the time I got to the 4* level I would be supremely confident as a competitor and feel with certainty that my horse and I would complete the weekend well. Then I thought of the old adage, “Experience is what you have after you need it.” In fact, I think I was taught that saying by Jimmy Wofford!
I thought of the years of dedication and practice that I had under my belt, and I thought of Gucci, this tremendous thoroughbred athlete and partner I have who has journeyed with me through ups and downs since I bought him and took him to his first horse trials in 2011. I remember as I was cantering towards the last few jumps on his first beginner novice course, I thought, “This is my Rolex horse.” I loved how agile and brave he was. He was my Ferrari and I trusted him. Last weekend Gucci made one of my biggest dreams come true by showing up as an athlete and a competitor every day of the weekend to finish our first Rolex Kentucky CCI4* in good style.
It was a dream weekend! I did two things every day all weekend. First, I took a moment to feel grateful for all of the people who have joined me on this journey (some for many, many years), with their love and support of all kinds. The Chronicle of the Horse noted that I possibly had the biggest cheering section of the weekend at the Kentucky Horse Park, and I don’t doubt that! It was an an unbelievable feeling to know how many people were able to come to Kentucky to watch and cheer, including my parents and many friends, clients and sponsors. Still more friends watched us compete on the live stream. Several of my friends from childhood, who know nothing about horses, even took the time to watch! Second, I told myself that every step of the way through the weekend I needed to be the best rider and horsewoman possible because I owed that to my horse. I didn’t want to let Gucci down, because he has entrusted himself to me. I couldn’t be happier with the weekend. Now, we will rest for a few weeks and see where the next leg of the journey takes us!