At the end of the year, most riders take the time to look back on their year with and their accomplishments. I have decided to take the time and write my own year-end wrap-up.
At the end of January, I brought home my first event horse and my new partner. Gus has about 6 inches longer than a normal horse his size. This is how he got his nickname Gus the bus. While he was a great jumper, his flat work needed some work.
After about 2 weeks of lessons, we went to our first dressage show together in the middle of a snow storm. It was then when I learned the effect very cold weather had on ex-racehorses. Even though the show didn’t go according to plan, we placed in all of our classes and left with plenty of homework.
By the end of April, we had figured each other out more and entered our first event. Mother nature had different plans, though. It poured so much the week before that the event became a combined test. We finished 11th in an open division with a clear stadium round. The experience gave both of us great confidence that carried over to our other shows.
The experience gave both of us great confidence that carried over to our other shows. Our next event went perfectly! We finished on our dressage score and ended up second place! The next month Gus and I were competing in my first Beginner Novice and rocked it. We ended in 10th place with just a handful of time. While we didn’t place in the rest of our events, we had plenty of success in the Dressage and Jumper rings.
In September, I had the amazing opportunity to compete at the New Vocations Charity Jumper Show in the Rolex arena. It was my first ever big jumper show and it was the day after a dressage show on a very hot weekend. I remember waiting for my first round and watching everyone before me having problems. As I went into the ring, I told myself I just wanted to finish. By the end of the day, I had 4 clear rounds under my belt, a 3rd place, two first place, and a division champion ribbon in my back seat.
After a lot of work in the dressage ring, Gus had become a great dressage horse. We came home with a blue ribbon from every show except one and always placed well in our other class. At our last show, we even brought home a score of 70.5%!
All of our success set us up very well for our year end awards. We were the junior grand champion in both of our levels for our first local dressage circuit. In our second dressage circuit, that took place at Majestic Farms, we were third and fourth in our level’s open division. For the Kentucky Dressage Association, we were the grand champion and reserve champion in our level’s junior/young rider divisions. In the Region 2 local dressage circuit, we were second and sixth place in our junior division.
This year has taught me so much in and out of the ring. Even though I don’t know what next year holds, I have so many memories from this year that I know I am prepared for whatever it gives me.