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November 6, 2013

Out On My Own, But Not Really Alone

Indie checks out his new winter digs in Florida.

As I sit here in sunny Florida looking out the window at how incredible Scotty Keach and Matt Flynn’s farms are, I’m feeling very grateful and lucky that I just spent the day riding horses and caring for them, and that this is considered my work.

I’ve been told by a number of friends that the feeling of accomplishment and drive you get when you go out on your own is extremely motivating. I just thought today was really nice... I had my first couple lessons with Scott, and it made me really pumped for the next five months of really focusing on my riding and how the horses are going. It was so nice to bathe a couple of my horses today, hand graze them myself, and just spend a bit more time with them.

Jennie Brannigan and Beth Battel's As Cool As
Ice chill out in Florida.

That being said, it’s a very big change for me to be here in Florida, and it’s a very new lifestyle for me. I was asked how long me going out on my own has been a plan, and how I then decided to come here instead of Aiken, where I’ve always wintered before with the TPF team. 

Actually, coming to ride with Scott has been a goal literally two years in the making. I’ve been intrigued by the program here since I came down to visit my friend Rachel Dwyer, who was working for Sharn Wordley at the time in Wellington, and met Scott properly and got a glimpse into what his program is about. It’s taken me two years to get here, but I always knew I would make it happen when the time was right.

But as far as “going out on my own” is concerned, that’s been in the process for the past five years, from the very beginning. That is, after all, the goal from the moment you start working for a big-name professional—to learn the ropes so that you can forge out on your own someday.  

What’s incredible about Phillip is that he’s been pushing me along as a rider and a business-minded person since the second I walked into that barn. I still remember him saying to me in the very beginning that one day I’d be going out on my own, and that there would be plenty of things to take away from working for him, as well as things I’d learn that I might like to do a different way someday.

I’ve very slowly gained horses, clients, owners, sponsors and supporters over my time at TPF, and Phillip has been there every step of the way for that. He’ll always be a very big part of my career, and as long as he’ll put up with me, I plan to keep it that way! ;) I’ll be going back to True Prospect in the spring, renting Phillip’s back barn and working out of there.

So while I’m starting my own business, I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m “out on my own.” I don’t really see it as leaving, and that’s probably why I’m not a complete nervous wreck right now, to be honest!

Matt Flynn's beautiful farm in Reddick, Fla., will be
Jennie's home base until April.

I can’t really describe to you how lovely the Duttons have been to me... Evie has been a mother to me more times than one... and Lee Lee is seriously like the little sister I’ve never had... The people I’ve met and worked with at TPF are people that will be in my life for forever. There’s no doubt that the unreal tragedies and the amazing victories (not just in the show ring) we’ve been through together have bonded not just me to them, but all of us together collectively.

Just because Lillian is gone or Boyd and Woodzy are out on their own now doesn’t mean that support net has disappeared, and I love that. I’m so lucky to be able to go back there next spring, and I look forward to many more hours spent doing circles in that indoor arena!

I’d also like to thank Nina and Tim Gardner, Beth Battel, Cheryl Gamboni, Candace Kircher, and of course Toad’s proud owner, my mother, for the horses I have down here in Florida and for their support in going out on my own. Also my incredible sponsors, who have my horses in the best gear and products possible, and last but not least, Matt Flynn for having me at this unreal farm this winter...

All the best,

Jennie

Brannigan Eventing

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