Just when I thought this indoors season could not get any better, it got better! Eighth in the Pessoa/USEF Medal Finals was more then I ever expected. It has been my goal since as long as I can remember to ribbon in a major medal final. The confirmation that I am achieving some of my goals feels amazing.
The week leading up to the finals, I rode Rico in the junior hunter classes at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. He is a great hunter, but it was more important that he get in the ring, as he is not as experienced as a lot of the other equitation horses. The hunters went very well, and we received a second and two thirds…only a point off from reserve champion! Rico was nice and relaxed for the warm-up class on Saturday, and we got second in our section.
The day of the finals I woke up nice and early at 3:30, so by the time it was my turn to go I was pretty tired. The nerves and adrenaline definitely kept me going. The course was pretty tricky because it involved a lot of extending and collecting from a very forward first line to a very forward combination and then to an extremely short four-stride line. These first five jumps were definitely the hardest part, and it was obvious that a lot of people were having trouble. Rico and my trip was not as smooth and pretty as I would have liked—we were both nervous and tired, but we got it done! The hard part of making it into the top 25 was over, and now I just had to have a solid second round, and I would be in the ribbons.
The second course was just as difficult, but it was perfect for Rico. It involved a lot of related distances and smooth turns. I felt very confident going into the second round, and it paid off because Rico was a lot more relaxed. Our confidence benefitted immensely, and we pulled off another great round. Then it was just a waiting game of who would be the top 10. After a lot of anxiety I found out I got eighth! I was so happy and tired that it all blurred together into one great weekend.