A Supportive Community Is One Of The Best Things About Eventing

Oct 11, 2010 - 11:31 AM
Photo by Kat Netzler.

Greetings to everyone out in eventing land! Again I apologize for not writing since Plantation Field. Though things have been busy, I should have been on here sooner!

I had a good weekend eventing at Flora Lea Horse Trials after Plantation. Indie won the training horse division there, while Nina Gardner’s Celtic Heritage and Catching Melody both placed third in their respective divisions.

Morven Park followed, and Cambalda had his final outing before the big trip west this fall to Galway Downs. Ping won the dressage in his small class with an even 30. Though there were some mistakes, as always, he has improved and doing the advanced test “B” was more challenging for him. His changes are quite solid though, and I liked the way the harder test flowed.

He show jumped a double clear round, and although I ran slowly on cross-country on Sunday, he still came home with the win. Annie Jones’ Young Man was third in his preliminary division, and Beth Battel’s Sara was second in her training class on a 29. Indie won the training level from start to finish, which was lovely, and I had a fairly steady weekend all around.

Walkabout just did a combined test before his final outing at Fair Hill. He was a bit tense in the dressage but show jumped well.

Obviously the WEG was going on, and though I would have loved to have been there, it was nice to be out competing as well. I’m sure our team is disappointed, but how neat was it to see the Canadians shine like that? David O’Connor must be elated.

The next subject I dare to approach is one I’ve been stewing over for quite some time. I realize that my blogs since Cooper’s death have been more about results than what is going on in my life and my thoughts on our sport. We have a lot of amazing things about our sport, and one of the best things is the kindness most of us have to one another.

After the AECs I had people calling me about a post on someone’s Facebook page. This person was bashing me about running my 5-year-old at the AECs at training level when he was green. I didn’t even know this person, and she doesn’t know my horses or me.

I read what she wrote, and to be honest, it was fairly hurtful. I tried to call her to discuss what was said, but she never returned my phone calls. I found it shocking that someone who calls herself a professional would bash someone they don’t even know in public.

Then came the WEG and Boyd Martin’s blog and all the subsequent drama on the COTH forums that came from it. I read a fair bit of it. I think those forums can be amazing, and I agree and disagree on a lot of points people made, but I don’t understand when it gets taken too far and people become really mean.

I cannot speak for anyone else but myself when I say that I have been personally hurt by people going too far. I know this comes with the territory, and I’ve been told by numerous people to toughen up. You might be thinking that now, but it still it bothers me.

I know I’m young in this sport. I know that I am very, very, very lucky to have had all the help I have had to get here. It makes me feel guilty sometimes, to be honest, but I know I have worked hard too.

I also know that I make mistakes, don’t always ride well, don’t always say the right things. I am very self-aware and understand the huge benefits that I’ve had. I am nowhere near being a big contender in our sport. But as young professionals we have potential to be the future.

When an American goes in the ring, I am proud that I am part of them being there, whether I know the person or not.

Things aren’t perfect. No one gets along all the time and agrees with everyone on everything. I think criticism is important, but when did we all turn so against each other? I just love our sport, and it really makes me sad to think that we get to the point of just being really hurtful.

I’m not perfect, and we all have our opinions, and they can be harsh sometimes. Boyd brought up the point that sending developing riders to Europe isn’t a good way to spend money, and he doesn’t agree with it. I ride around him every day, and he knows I was one of those people, and he will say to my face what he thinks. It doesn’t mean that he personally dislikes me; he is one of my friends. As he is with Will Faudree and Doug Payne, and I know that he will be cheering for them too.

He’s braver than me to voice his opinion on such topics, and I appreciate that he would say to my face the same thing he would write behind a computer. I might not agree with everything he says, but at least he is honest.

I guess my point is that we’re all on different levels of the sport, but we all have the same love of horses. (I would at least hope that!) I don’t ride to be “a big name,” makes tons of money, or get sponsors. I ride because ever since I first stepped into an iron, it was the only place I felt like I belonged. Being on a horse’s back is when I am most comfortable with myself. Don’t we all have that in common?




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