The signs are everywhere: lessons are suddenly extra-difficult, horses are getting trimmed and washed and their manes pulled, and one-day shows are full of people trying to win some last minute points. Finals season is undoubtedly upon us.
With this being my final junior year, I have only one more chance to achieve every equitation rider’s goal, a ribbon at one of the national finals. I’ve ribboned at most of the smaller, regional finals in my area, and I made the top 25 at the USEF Medal Finals last year, but I have yet to win at the big games.
That’s not to say I haven’t accomplished anything. My horse Calvin and I were fifth at last year’s New England Equitation Championships, and I’m the only person to win their Horsemanship class twice. We were second at the Connecticut Hunter Jumper Association Master’s Medal Finals and third at the Professional Horsemen’s Association Finals. I also earned a gold medal for the USEF Talent Search, signifying twenty class wins, including one at Devon.
I also took Burberry, a 4-year-old horse (now 10) and, pretty much by myself, brought him along through the 3’6” equitation. Along with letting me show Calvin, Chase Meadows Farm and Barbara Howard have given me the ride on a 5-year-old mare that I am training with only the help of my mother as jump crew.
In order to focus on the finals, I am taking a year off between high school and college. I graduated in June (with honors!), despite my school’s lack of support, so I have a whole year ahead of me to ride without any other obligations. With the most important shows of the year coming up, I can certainly use all the extra time I can get. I just hope that when it comes down to it, Calvin and I are up to the challenge.