Sunday at Fair Hill marked the end of the year for my string of horses and I. It is such a huge relief to turn out sound, happy horses at the finish of the last competition. We all have had a big year and deserve a little rest.
I began the year in a not so good place, dissapointed again by being left off the developing riders list and then to add insult to injury I fell off at Kentucky. Houdini was struggling to move up to Advanced, I was basically a homeless eventing gypsy and I felt like nothing in my life was going in the right direction. Not such a good start to 2012.
When I was little mama always told me never to cry over spilled milk. Get over it and get on with it. I found myself dwelling on the negatives and she quickly put the kabash on that. Listen to your mothers, people. Although being an eventing gypsy is good fun, I decided if I really wanted to make a go of this I needed a stable place to keep and train the horses (no pun intended). I purchsed a small farm in Ocala that has everything I need. The community down here is amazing and I am surrounded by wonderful, helpful, supportive people. A year ago they were strangers, now they are family.
I think that horses are much more intuative than they are given credit for. Once we settled into the new farm it was like they knew they were home. Even the barely broke babies were calm, cooperative and happy in their work. We worked hard over the summer and our efforts were rewarded, Don does what Don does best and finished top ten in both the Richland CIC3* and Fair Hill CCI3*. I had my doubts about Houdini, but he rose to the occasion by finishing his season with a win in the Advanced at Poplar Place. I have such high hopes for this horse.
It seems at the end of each year I keep finding myself in a better place. I have a wonderful new girl who works for me, she just finished 2nd in the Novice at Rocking Horse on her spooky young Dutch gelding. I am very, very proud of her and she works her tail off every day. She also has the added benefit of a wonderful family who is endlessly supportive of me. No matter what anyone says, this a team sport, and I am very lucky to have such a n incredible team behind me. I welcomed some great new sponsors, first and foremost Patty Merli saddle fitter extraordinaire and her awesome husband Rip. They have put me in some lovely Bliss saddles and I can't wait to try the Black Country line up. Revitavet is a wonderful product that we use on a daily basis, the owner Tom is a huge supporter and is always good for a congratulatory phone call after a big event. I appreciate that more than he knows! Still riding in my Heritage gloves, the best on earth and an amazing company staffed with awesome people.
I also welcome some new owners, Kate and Lee Robbins in Ocala who have lovely Dutch horses that I will be riding this spring. I can't possibly write a thank you post without mentioning the Hollings who are steadfast in their support of me and have gone outrageously above and beyond to help me. And of course my "Ocala Mom" Sharon Will who is all in, 24/7, between her and my own mother I have the two best cheerleaders in the world!
None of this would be possible without my incredible horses, Houdini and Sir Donovan. The trophies and ribbons are as much theirs as mine. As I sit on the deck listening to them meander around in their fields, I am so thankful that I have been privledged enough to spend another year in their company. To turn them out at the end of a long year, sound and happy, is bliss. I am already looking forward to next years' competitions, but I am pretty sure all they are looking forward to is more alfalfa.
Bring it, 2013!