Yesterday, we did not come home with a ribbon — and I could not be more proud! Deszi completed the CIC* at GMHA‘s Festival of Eventing.
I have never had so much fun in a dressage ring. And I am so incredibly proud of Deszi. We worked through moments together to maintain harmony, correct positioning and continue working within the test without disruption. It was a blast! She scored a cumulative 43.2, placing us in fifth out of 15.
We had a killer warm-up for show jumping. She was jumping beautifully and listening well to the aids. Sadly we pulled three rails: one due to a slip that altered our stride, another because I rode her too deep to the distance, and I think the third was due to another close distance. Deszi just wasn’t quick enough to get her feet out of the way.
Why? I wish I had an easy answer. Part of it is that she requires a technical ride in stadium. Stadium is often my weakest phase. I think the primary reason is strength. She is fit, but she needs to develop more strength. And strength can’t be rushed — it takes time.
Cross-country is Deszi’s middle name. She is brilliant. And an absolute blast. She does not back off anything; she’s willing and bold without force or eager stupidity. Another amazing quality is her gallop. She covers ground with the ease of a Ferrari across tarmac. The stride is effortless and light, and she is so quick to adjust and accelerate. The best part is that she loves her job, she has fun, and this makes the ride fun for me. What an amazing feeling to be a part of her experience on course!
I have been thinking a lot about Deszi, her performances and her future. It has been overwhelmingly disappointing to pull rails in show jumping. And nothing adds salt to the wound like when you enter the ring in first place, and leave far lower in the standings.
However, that is ego talking — in the simplest, most honest sense. What the ego rarely recognizes is the path taken to achieve that first place standing. Deszi is 6 years old. Six. What is more alarming is that she has been in work for 14 months. I am amazed at these two numbers, as her progression has been very natural and without resistance. She is sound, healthy and incredibly trusting with what I ask of her. In a short period of time, we have built an incredible partnership. I love this horse.
I promised her that she would have a vacation after this event, and I am honoring my word. She will rest, relax, eat and hack out for the next two weeks. She may have another two weeks after that.
As we have all experienced, there is no guarantee with horses, regardless of preparation. Deszi has now performed at the FEI level before Garth. I would have never guess this would happen, and I could not be more proud of her!
A HUGE thank you to Roger and Kathryn Wakeman for all their help and support this weekend!