Tamie Smith: The Mom (and Dad) Have Arrived!

There is no better way to experience our North American Junior and Young Rider Championships than through the eyes of an eager competitor, or in this case, an eager mom! Tamie Smith’s daughter Kaylawna is competing for the Area VI one-star team, and she’ll be blogging about the experience as a cheerleader from the sidelines. If you’ve been to NAJYRC, you know how special it is, and if you haven’t, we’re hoping to show you through this series of blogs. Kaylawna is also writing for the Area VI blog.

Area VI Young Riders represent!

Area VI Young Riders represent!

From Tamie:

Well, after a VERY long day of travel we have arrived in the beautiful blue grass state of Kentucky.

I learned today that the domestic violence laws here in Kentucky are quite lenient, according to our rental car agent. My husband (who for the record, is a saint…most of the time) asked him because apparently he doesn’t understand that everywhere I go,I go fast. Fast paced walk, or run. Clearly he has never been a working student at Next Level Eventing! So after rushing him today from 3 am to 7 pm, he had enough!

So I took it slower after that and went at his pace, which is probably normal. However, because I am a high energy person who is completely stressed out from being the cheerleader and not the one driving the boat, for the record I feel like I’ve been hog tied with a sock shoved in my mouth, and that has started to take a toll.

Between a tension headache and a knot in my neck, Ibuprofen has been a close friend of mine, and we haven’t started dressage.

It’s an early morning today. Kaylawna rides at 9:26 am EST, however the team starts competing at 7am.

Area VI Young Riders all ready for the jog.

Area VI Young Riders all ready for the jog.

When we arrived in Kentucky we quickly rushed, I mean we drove, to the house to see Kaylawna and give her a good luck present and a hug! I bought her lucky horse shoe earrings and lady bugs earrings for good luck. We met all of the parents, gathered our Area VI shirts and headed to our hotel. The best part of Young Riders is the kids and this year we have such a great group!

I’ve come to Young Riders as a coordinator for Area VI, a coach three separate times, a groom, and a support team for my best friend when I was a kid. There is something unique about Young Rider Championships. Obviously, we adults who are approaching our 40’s feel like kids again, which is always great!

Watching the kids and the way they handle themselves is so incredible. Most of the kids at Championships are not old enough to ever have experienced something with this much pressure, emotion, excitement or disappointment. As a coach you guide them and support them, but it is up to them to compete and cope. No matter the outcome you know at the end of the weekend that they are better for their experience.

As a parent, you just want every piece of the puzzle to work out perfectly. The amount of stress that it puts on a parent is quite a bit more than I ever realized. I even feel a bit unreasonable. I thought maybe I could get to the barn early and braid Kaylawna’s horse, Metro, because I braided for Jennie Brannigan and she won Young Riders so maybe that will give Kaylawna some good luck. #psycho

You obsess about ridiculous things. Things that I look at my students parents and think, are you crazy, and look at me now, CRAZY!

I’ve never been the person who likes surprises. When I was a kid I would open my presents under the tree before Christmas and rewrap them so I didn’t have to wait to see what I was getting. Bad I know!

So I will just continue to internalize my anxiety and put a big smile on my face and pretend I’m not one of those crazy parents with a these ideas of how it could be better if maybe I did some rain dance around the horse before he went in the ring. Ok so maybe that is where I draw the line.

GO Young Riders & GO crazy overbearing parents! I now have sympathy for you all!

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