This may seem like an insignificant achievement when compared to the challenges and obstacles that all the Rolex riders experienced this weekend, but nevertheless, Valonia and I made our first 2014 public appearance yesterday at the GMHA mix and match show. You have to start somewhere, right?
Let me set the stage. Friday evening I come home from the barn after finishing up my chores. The trailer is packed and the mare is about as clean as I could hope for under the circumstances. No running water yet because we live in frozenville, combined with a half furry creature translates into: we’ll do the best that we can! I pass out from pure exhaustion around 10 pm only to wake up a few hours later to the sound of torrential rain pounding on our roof. I sat up in my bed, and thought to myself, pouring rain and mid to upper 30’s tomorrow…..am I insane, or am I event rider?
I got to the barn the following morning, only to find even more rain. I told a few people the night before that there was no way I was heading out the driveway in the morning with chilly temperatures and rain. But then that pesky and adrenaline driven voice in the back of my head said, you are SUCH a wimp. Buck up! Get your butt out there and ride. You waited all winter to compete…don’t be such a loser. So that’s what I did.
I was shocked at how many die hard riders were at this little show. There were dressage tests in the large arena, eventing tests in the regular arena, the annual GMHA 15 mile mud ride was going on, and jumper rounds too! The footing, even though semi deep and mucky, was not slippery at all. I entered one dressage test and two jump rounds and could not have had more fun.
The first outing of the year can be daunting for so many reasons, regardless of the level you are at. It’s comforting to know that you are not alone. I spoke with several riders yesterday who said this was their first outing this year. Some said they were happy they stayed in the ring. Others said they were happy they didn’t fall off. Others were happy just to be riding in public. We all have to start somewhere, and I could not have been more pleased with what GMHA had to offer us on a cold, rainy and seemingly miserable day. Thank you GMHA and all the awesome volunteers who stood out in the rain in order to make this show possible!