Oh yes, EN readers, it’s Part I because there WILL be more parts. This is a series made up, conceived and written by me, about me and my return to Eventing. Write what you know, they say. Well, there are some things I don’t know.
First off, a little back-story (everyone switches over to TMZ). This coming Saturday, August 18, will be my first event in five years.
‘Five years?’ No one asks. ‘But why? You seem to have such a grasp of it in your writing/always say such smart and insightful things!’
Well, let me answer your question, and thank you for that compliment. I have had the same horse for 8 years, since I was 16 years old. When I was 18 he tore a suspensory ligament, and crushed all my hopes and dreams. I know, that’s heavy. The prognosis wasn’t too bad, but after a year off, when I started exercising again, it just wasn’t right. He was slow to warm up, and never really hit his stride. He backed off of 2’ jumps, when he never used to blink an eye at anything under 3’6”. So, at a young age, I made the decision to take jumping out of the equation. Forever. Hardest thing I ever had to do, coming terms with that. Harder even than giving up carbs last summer.
Two years ago I took up dressage with him. He got good and strong at first level, so much so that we didn’t even feel the need to move up to second, and I think the increased workouts and strength he’s gotten has made him, incredible, unexplainably, sound. Sound, in the 8th year I’ve had him, at age 19. It’s a miracle.
Anyway (back story’s ALMOST over), now, I’m thinking, it’s time. It’s time to get his darling, old butt out to an event. My good friend, and fellow EN contributor Abby Gibbon has been helping me, and even took us to school at Waredaca, and having her confidence in us has been HUGE. Having someone I trust tell me ‘He looks awesome,’ and pushing me to enter competitions with him has been immense. So, my calendar’s marked. Waredaca, August 18.
Anyway, that brings me to the burning questions segment of the post. Like, you guys, I’ve been out of the game awhiiile. I wash my saddle pads monthly. Something goes missing (polo wraps, galloping boots, martingale, show coat, rat catcher, shipping boots, do I need to go on?) and I don’t need it because where do I ever go. I follow the world of eventing religiously, but have been cross-country with my horse twice in the last half-decade. So please, help me out with my questions.
1. Does neon need to be in the equation for cross-country?
2. Will I get penalized for not wearing a skullcap with the visor flipped up?
3. Is my wallet supposed to feel lighter, or my credit card heavier after entering into an event?
4. Can’t my horse and I get a joint USEA membership? We’re basically the same person anyway.
5. How hard would it be to convince them I’m a Junior, so I don’t have to compete against Phillip Dutton?
6. The USEA wants to know my blood type for my medical armband. Do you know my blood type?
7. I’ve only evented in the Midwest. Do they serve walking tacos up here?
8. Will I still make the time if I trot around cross-country, and stop for a breather and a walking taco? How important is the time realllly?
9. So you’re telling me if (when) I fall off at fence 1, I can’t even get on to get a ride back to the barn?
10. If (when) I fall off at fence 1, can I get my money back?