I really and truly am going to get better at this whole blogging thing. Between Kentucky, school starting again, and GAIG qualifying, my life has just gotten a bit out of hand. I am progressively regaining control though 🙂
I realized after publishing my first post that I didn’t talk really at all about my trip to North American Junior/Young Rider Championships in July. For those of you who don’t know, NAJYRC”s are pretty much the Olympics for Juniors and Young Riders on this continent. The top four riders from each region are selected to compete, and this year, Region 1 alone had ten trying to qualify.
My original plan was to qualify Rocadero, but after Harvest Moon last year, he sustained a puncture wound, abscess, and tendon strain, all on one leg. By the way, each happened after we successfully healed the last injury, so it pretty much laid him off for the remainder of the winter, and beginning of spring. That’s riding for you though, completely unpredictable, especially with Warmbloods 🙂
One of Julia’s clients, Debbie Morris, realized my goal of riding in Kentucky, and offered me her horse, Strudel (Aussie), to try to qualify on. This was all made that much more complicated by the fact that Aussie and Debbie were 2009 NCDCTA HOY at Training Level. So considering it was mid-March when Debbie offered him to me, and we competed at March Magic, I’d have to give Aus a gold star for his efforts. By the way, although all levels may now be ridden in the snaffle, Juniors and Young Riders are not included in that rule…..so Aussie was introduced to a double just weeks before he had to compete in it (he wasnt so found of it at first!!)
Our qualifying season proceeded with stops at Dressage in the Sandhills, the CDC and FENCE, all of the scores were in lower to mid 60’s, which is pretty good, but when it was time for the team to be selected, I wasnt one hundred percent sure we would make the team, so we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. We were eventually told the whole team, with Aussie and I ranked third in the region….not bad for a Training Level Schoolmaster 😉
The trip to KY was pretty priceless. We left at 8pm on Sunday night, driving thru the night would be cooler, and arrived after a 9 hour drive at the KY Horse Park in Lexington. Unpacking, setting up, and unhitching a trailer aren’t nearly as much fun at 5:00 in the morning as some might think! It was at this time that we also realized that I had forgotten the paperwork folder. Now this may seem like an easily overcome obstacle, but considering it was 9 hours away in Oxford, NC, and it had vital contents, such as Aussie’s coggins and passport, panic does not even begin to cover how I was feeling. Tuesday morning were the “In-Barns” (inspections), at which we presented our horses with their passports….all I have to say is God Bless FedEx and overnight delivery. We literally had 1 minute to spare between the paperwork arriving and the vet getting to the barn.
As we geared up for all of the festivities to start, it began to dawn on me just how huge this really was. We rode our first test on Wednesday, which went really well all things considered. Riding in front of five judges was certainly a new experience for me, and riding in the huge, beautiful arena, where numerous Olympian’s have ridden was so surreal. Having seven other girls to bounce off of was really one of the greatest parts of the whole thing. The team was so phenomenal about supporting one another, and we all really had a great time together. All of our sponsors were also AMAZING! From shirts and hats to golf carts and tack stalls, none of us would have been able to afford most of these things without a little help from our supporters. It was just so amazing to see how all of Region 1 was so willing to chip in a little when we needed them.
If there was one thing I would have to say that I got out of the experience, it is that everyone should know that anything they can conceive of is attainable, and to continue to work towards your goals, even when they seem so blocked by obstacles you can’t really see them anymore. You will reach them if you keep trying!