A Bittersweet Fair Hill Experience

Oct 21, 2010 - 5:32 PM
Walkabout romped around the two-star course at Fair Hill. Photo by Sara Lieser.

My friend Jimmie Holotik and her Aussie lover Dominic Schramm are getting married this weekend, so instead of competing at the good old ‘Daca I am currently on a plan to be a part of this wedding. It’s pretty neat how horses can bring people together, and this is another example of it!

Sitting on the plane has given me some more time for reflection as I think about how Fair Hill went for me this year.

Walkabout, or Will as I call him, greatly benefitted from being the only horse I rode at the show. He put in one of his best dressage tests to start off the weekend sitting 12th out of 56 horses. Dressage is his weak phase, so I was very pleased with him. He notched in one of seven double-clear cross-country rounds with plenty of running at the end of the course. Pulling up sound and healthy, he jogged very well the next morning, and we were swiftly off getting ready for show jumping. He jumped the course well but got keyed up by the end, and I lost some rideability. He had the last fence down, which was a bummer, but I was so happy for him to end up sixth in his first two-star in a really big division. So proud of the guy!

I kept busy over the weekend by riding Cambalda, who is getting ready for his CCI*** debut in California coming soon. It’s nice to have Fair Hill so close to home.

On a sad note, Jen Simmons losing her mount J.B.’s Star made me feel terrible for her. I am so sorry for her loss. I drove by New Bolton Center that night and wanted to drive in and just do anything I could, which I know was nothing.

Ironically, I ran into Cooper’s New Bolton Center vet that same night. That was quite strange, but it still brought back floods of memories. It was one year ago on Fair Hill Sunday that started the end of my partner’s life.

Our sport is amazing—the highs are so high but those lows are so low. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t feel a twinge of emotion crossing the finishline in the show jumping or that I’m a little relieved to be taking Ping to Galway instead. It seems silly though. With luck, I will compete at Fair Hill many times.

It’s been a year, and though time does heal wounds, I still cannot write this without crying. So I feel for you Jen so much, and no words will probably help that.

I guess I am still emotional about Cooper, and I’m glad for that. I feel the loss and that hole every day. I think about what was happening a year ago and how lucky I am to have all the things going for me that I do. I’m sure from the outside I look like I’ve bounced back and everything is great. In some ways I suppose I am better now and stronger, but I still miss seeing him. He was so happy, and that made me happy. I just want him to know that he’s still missed as much as he was the first day he was gone.

I’ll quit rambling on, but as I tend to look back quite a lot, I am looking forward as well. I know Ping is ready and feeling well, and I look forward to tackling Galway Downs!

Thank you for reading,



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