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October 1, 2013

It All Started With The Road To The Maclay

I'm hoping Gus is the horse to take me to the ASPCA Maclay Finals.

Meet the Chronicle's latest blogger...

They say life is like a roller coaster. The uphill battles are taxing and prolonged, the peaks are often short-lived, and the descent is fast, and out of control. I suppose it is a good thing that I like roller coasters, as the analogy seems to be proving true in my life, so far.

Over the last couple of months, my life has been riddled with ups and downs, to say the least. The start of August brought the start of what ended up being a month-long battle against colic and its resulting issues for my new horse. Then came a fall, which landed me on my face and in the hospital with a concussion and short-term memory loss. (Wait... What was I saying?)

Then, after only being cleared to ride the day before my flight, I was presented with the great opportunity of riding some incredible horses with a few fantastic trainers in the San Diego, Calif., area. The insanity of these adventures is not for naught, though. Let me start at the beginning.

My name is Anna Easton, I am 17 years old, and I'm from Atlanta, Ga. My riding career did not start in the lead-line classes before grand prixs. I didn't then move from smalls, to mediums, to larges before "graduating" to horses.

Growing up in Mocksville, N.C., I had a much more modest beginning. I spent my childhood riding bareback through the countryside, galloping through cornfields, and jumping various objects on the trail.

Things began to change, though, when I watched my first episode of Animal Planet's “Horse Power: Road To The Maclay,” a television series about multiple riders' journeys to the ASPCA Maclay Finals. I became infatuated with the Maclay, and shortly after, in 2006, I signed up for my first schooling show at age 10. At the end of the show, I marched up to the judge and asked, "Do you think that I can win the Maclay?" He, of course, chuckled, but then he said, "Some day, absolutely." And so it began.

As time went on, I moved from Mocksville to Atlanta, and migrated from schooling shows to "C" shows, and then to "A" and "AA" shows. My debut on the rated circuit was astride the same pony I grew up with on the trails in North Carolina. I competed in the pony jumpers successfully for a couple of years and came within a few points of qualifying for the USEF Pony Jumper Finals.

After that, though, my equitation dreams were reignited, and the search for a suitable horse began. The

My own "road to the Maclay" took a detour
when Gus coliced, but he's on the way back.

difficulties of finding an equitation horse on what would be considered a "shoestring budget" became quite apparent. A yearlong search ensued, during which I came close to giving up. But, at last, I found the horse! I purchased Gratify, more fondly known as "Gus," an 18.0-hand, 10-year-old, Hanoverian gelding, on May 11 this year. Though Gus had all the flat training, and a good jumping foundation, a two-year vacation due to his owner's work schedule caused him to be quite rusty and out of shape. And that brings us full circle. After only a few short months with us, Gus coliced, and has been recovering from the complications since.

In short, I am a girl with a modest background and limited means who is trying to qualify for the ASPCA Maclay Regionals, and then, hopefully, the Finals. September 1 marked the first day of my last junior season to qualify and I will be sharing my rollercoaster of a last year with Chronicle readers. I may not have time or money on my side, but I am determined, and I have an amazing support system of family and friends. So, the journey continues!

Anna Easton, the Chronicle's latest addition to the blogging roster, is a typical teenager with the big dream of competing in the ASPCA Maclay Finals. She doesn't have a big budget or a string of horses, but she's determined and focused. Follow along on her journey with us. 

 

 

 

 
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