Well, as I sit here on Hawley Bennett’s couch, a lot is rolling on through my mind about how the last few days have gone at the Galway Downs CCI*** in Temecula, Calif.
Ping (Cambalda) jumped his heart out for me the past two days, and I cannot say enough brilliant and amazing things about this horse. My cross-country round felt fairly smooth, though of course there were a few things I would have sharpened up if I could go back and redo it. But on the whole, I feel as though it was a fairly solid round.
Ping came back well on Saturday, and I was able to take a few shortcuts, which made it a bit easier to make the time around Ian Stark’s track, which I thought was very well presented. After giving Ping fluids and giving him a good check on his soundness we tucked him in for the night.
We did have a little problem getting Ping to settle when some late-night farrier work was going on. Poor Ping had himself so wound up in the stall throughout the weekend that he was pretty exhausted by the end of it all! He did come out and jog well on Sunday morning, which was a relief. Unfortunately, my good friend Tamra Smith had to withdraw her horse Corner Street from the competition. She was sitting second barely behind me—I can say honestly that it was very sad, and my heart goes out to her.
Then there were the golf cart races, which, to be honest, were probably one of the most fun things I've ever done in my life. Some highlights of this include Nick Cwick hitting Ian Stark in the head with a orange cone, Casey McKissock getting run down by Hawley Bennett, and Gina Miles and I getting in a serious water fight in Galway’s new water jump.
Next came Ping’s show jumping, and I was very nervous when Allie Slusher, who’s a friend of mine and was in second, jumped a clear round.
Ping was pretty darn tired but jumped his heart out, especially when I got in seriously wrong to a large oxer on the track. He jumped like crazy after that and was pretty bound and determined to jump a clear round. What a great horse is all I really have to say.
I'm still in shock that he won. Getting to put the cooler I donated in Cooper’s name on him was one of the most emotional moments of my life. I think Hawley Bennett and I were extremely emotional when we got interviewed. One year ago I was in one of the biggest lows in my life, and it's crazy to think how much things have changed.
Thank you to everyone at PRO, Galway Downs, and everyone who has helped me get this far. A big thank you to the Gardners and my family for really supporting me this weekend and to Phillip and Evie Dutton, Kelley Merrette, Emma Ford, Lillian Heard, Nick Cwick and every sponsor and owner I have.
I can say without question I have two homes now and have the best people in my life. I wish I could name everyone....
Doctor Bogenrief, thank you for believing in me when all the chips were down.... Thank you for being there for Kozmo, Cooper, and now Ping. And of course thank you and Joy for owning Walkabout. Words cannot do justice to what you've given me and taught me.
Well I guess 2010 is over.....
What an end!