Kaitlin Hartford, a 16-year-old eventer from Callahan, Florida, is blogging about her journey to competing in this year’s Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover with her OTTB Family Foundation, better known as Sven.
Can I please prefix this blog by saying has anyone seen a loose ring French link snaffle with bright green reins and torn check straps at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala on the back 40. If so that would be mine.
Today was definitely a tad bit crazy! I woke up and life was going fine. We were heading down to the Florida Horse Park to school cross country and then show tomorrow. A show blog will be up tomorrow, but right now this blog needs to be announced, mainly because I need my reins!
Anyway we got to the Florida Horse Park and I signed in and one of my friends, Emily, is actually the organizer. Shout out to the best organizer ever! We headed out onto the cross country course after I had basically debated putting my air vest on because something told me I shouldn’t but I did anyway (major part to my blog). We headed out and had a great warm up and popped over the first few jumps great. A bit hesitant, but he always tends to be when we are going cross country for the first time in a while.
Well, after jumping the first five fences a few times each –did I mention this show is an awesome show where you are able to school the day before over all the jumps you show on?? They are just that cool! — we are coming up to #6, a shark’s tooth. We had previous issues at this same show but I was throwing my heart and soul over the fence and he took his feet off the ground so I started going with him and then all the sudden I was on the ground and my air vest had exploded and Sven was off to the races. And I see why he placed in a major stakes race…
He sadly broke my favorite green reins and my bridle as he was galloping but he is sound. So we trekked back to the trailer and put a new bridle on deciding to stop with the jump and move on to confidence building. So we jumped the next few jumps amazingly!
So we approached the next thing and I was prepared for anything and this was a simple mulch box. With water behind it about 10 strides out. He stopped. And stopped. So we finally went over it and we went into the water. Went to go back over it and put the two together and I fell again. So we went over confidence building and called it a day so I didn’t push him further then he needed to be. Just an FYI I am currently blogging and searching for my reins.
After taking care of him and putting him away we went to get some tape to tape my ribs up, because I really think my air vest saved me from writing this blog in the ER. Anyway I saw this guy on the side of the road who made my day. So I did what any normal person would do. I pulled off and I went to take a picture with him. The words on this sign sum up my life.
So after meeting him we went to get dinner and I was laughing at first because I informed mom “it smells like bacon, bacon is for winners” because I was messing with mom and she doesn’t like bacon. Then I said, oh wait, I’m not a winner and acted completely disappointed, joking — sort of. We had dinner and ice cream and stopped at the gas station for ice. While holding the ice I put it on my ribs because they were hurting. The guy informed me after I flung the ice onto the counter (somewhat gently) and mom was laughing at me that we needed strong prayers ASAP. So here I sit on one of the jumps I fell off at wondering what was so scary and thinking about what I can change tomorrow. I made the decision to not run the full cross country course and just the first few jumps to give a good experience and then retire.
Tik Maynard said it best: “We have to keep reminding ourselves to go fast, we’ve got to go slow.” My next blog will be out tomorrow but thanks for tuning into the crazy day!