Monday, June 27, 2011

Another step forward ...

Anyone who is in the horse business like I am knows it's an understatement to say that making money in this industry is difficult. Paying for your life - hopefully - supporting your hobby.... the real reason we do it. And as everyone else faces in this economy, it's become a daunting challenge just to make a living. I started working here years ago to pay my board, and bought the farm to continue to support my passion. It's been hard work - physically and mentally - and every once in a while I think that I would like to be doing something else.

BUT then I have a ride like I did ths weekend. The CCI* at Virginia Horse Trials was great for sure. We finished fourth on our dressage score, with one of a VERY few double clear show jumping rounds and a great gallop around XC. But this past Friday I competed at Surefire HT and I think I had the most fun cross country that I have ever had. The Intermediate division went all on Friday, with I think 34 starters. It had been almost a month since we competed at VHT, and I was feeling a bit out of the "groove". Great lessons and schools in the meantime, but was missing the atmosphere of competition. I'd never been to Surefire before so had no idea what to expect. What a nice facility not to mention a huge money prize for the division! It was kind of nice to have the place to ourselves since there were no other divisions riding that day. Toga warmed up for dressage a bit up, and he kept breaking to canter every time I put my leg on him to ask for haunches in. Then when we went into the ring, he was obedient, quiet, and did exactly what I asked him to do. I was a step early on my halt and one of the transitions, but I was REALLY happy with the test and I'm sure the judge could tell by my big smile and hugs for T as we left the ring. Well I guess she saw things completely differently because I was almost last after dressage on a 44 and there wasn't a positive comment on my whole test. Wow she hated him! Sigh. Oh well. It was really hard to think to myself "well at least I was pleased with it " being that far down the list after thinking I would be at least in the upper third.

Show jumping was great - two unfortunate rails for no apparent reason added 8 points to our score. Another hard one to take especially when Toga was jumping great and I really can't say why he tipped the rails.

THEN WE WENT CROSS COUNTRY and I am still smiling :) Toga was so easy to ride, so adjustable, so brave, focused, and smart that it rode like a baby novice course the way he cruised around. Every jump (OK Packy except for the skinny off the bank) was in stride and just as I'd planned. He galloped easily and I made the time!! At Intermediate that was a first for us, and it happened easily. 1-2-3 jump.....1-2-3 jump....just like that. I was the 17th ride and the second double clear at that point. SO exciting. At the end of the day we had jumped up to 14th place - very respectable I think. I can't tell you how many times I've ridden the course again in my head just to try to feel that rush again. It's why we go eventing.

And it's why, even when I think I can't keep doing this any more and don't see a light at the end of the dark economic tunnel, I'll find a way to keep riding this amazing horse and hopefully take him as far as we think he can go. We all need something to dream about, and if the dream has even a small chance of coming true, I think we owe it to ourselves to make sure we try as hard as possible. I feel I owe it to Toga for giving me the opportunity to do more and better with him than I ever thought I'd do with any horse. We'll keep on track for Fair Hill this fall, with Stuart next in July. Can't wait!!