Last year I was able to go to GA with a friend who was trying to get as many hours under belt for her TD and Judge's license. It was great because I had just failed my B rating and needed something else to focus on- thus donning on a nice yellow hat that stated my volunteer status and getting a chance to stick my fingers in some of the nicest horses I've ever seen's mouths as I checked their bits to make sure they were "dressage legal"- it almost seems silly because if they made it this far I doubt it was in an illegal bit!!! But watching the likes of Charlie Plumb, Boyd Martin, and Rebecca Howard on their novice horses (I was in the lower level dressage warm up) mentally prepare for their ride and seeing some of those novice horses' owners watch them carefully in the warm up, willing them to be on their best behavior, I couldn't help but feel a little giddy at being so close to greatness. I also enjoyed sticking my fingers in the normal riders' horses mouths. Getting a chance to talk to someone, wishing them good luck, helping out in any way shape or form was truly exhilerating. I couldn't help but think about how much I wanted to be in that warm up arena and I had 2 more years to do it in.
Obviously I didn't make it this year. But I have one more year to go before it leaves Chat Hills. But if the rumors are true and it moves to Kentucky I will have 3 more years to add onto next years 1 so totaling out 4 more years of trying to get there. I'm not in a financial position to be driving to far to get to the AEC's so I have a limited amount of hours that I'm willing to drive- Kentucky is the max that I'll go- 3 bordering 4 is my normal hour limit, but for Kentucky I'd drive- heck I've already done it for Pony Club Nationals back in 2001 and for Festival in 1998!!! The AEC's are basically Nationals for non pony clubbers!!
If I can get Gus to become a stronger, bolder jumper I know we have a chance of doing well at the AEC's. With horses you never know what is going to happen, how well the Dressage judge likes you horse, freak incidents like a weather balloon falling into the middle of the arena while you're riding, it's just basic life "what if's". But if you have a good horse you at least have a fighting chance to come home with the blue! Gus has a really strong Dressage background so I'm hoping he'll be scoring in the 20's and low 30's when we finally get to a real event, and each day he gets braver and better at jumping. I have a year to get myself more confident with Gus to give him a successful ride around a cross country course and through a stadium round that seems to be quite difficult because the poles fall down real easy at Chat Hills... So here's to every day getting better and getting Gus to the AEC's by 2012!!! After all I'm just hoping to make it around Beginner Novice to start with!!
|Gus mentally prepping himself for the jumping|