There has been a lot happening since the last Eventing Dad blog, and it’s all been good. Bailey won the 2014 USEA Intermediate Young Rider of the Year. She took home a lot of awards in USEA Area V and her home association here in San Antonio, the Central Texas Eventing Association.
Probably the biggest thrill was being talent spotted onto the USEF Eventing 25 Developing Rider list and getting to spend valuable time with new coach Leslie Law at the first training session. She has even started off the 2015 season in fine form with a couple of great finishes. All of this has been leading up to the Big Day. Or maybe I should say, the next Big Day.
This coming week Bailey and Leo will be making the big move up to the Advanced division at the Rocking Horse Winter II Horse Trials. This is the next Big Day. At this point in her career, nothing will be bigger. But as I inferred above, life is just a series of Big Days. The really important days are in-between those Big Days.
The time spent practicing your dressage as you try to get those few extra points. The hours spent building that relationship between horse and rider so that when that skinny to a ditch to a skinny on an angle coffin complex comes up, you and your partner can navigate it without thinking. Those are not the days that you are noticed. Those are not the days that people see you at your best. But those are the days when the foundation is laid. They are when the cornerstone is set into place that makes the Big Day possible.
To use a favorite passage of mine, if you don’t have a firm foundation, it is like building on sinking sand. If your foundation is not solid and you get to the Big Day it could result in failure. Those trakehners suddenly look impossibly big when your base is wobbly. That Weldon’s Wall is deeper, wider, and taller than you remember from the course walk when the ground is shifting under your feet. And your partner, who must be able to put their trust in you, may decide that this relationship is not as secure as you thought when that foundation starts to crack.
Yes, those in-between days are not the days to be seen at your best. In fact, those are the days that sometimes you need to be at your worst as you push, stretch, and reach towards that next goal. But without a doubt, those are the days that put you into the conversation. Those are the days that you lay the bricks so that when the Big Day does come you are ready to be seen. That Big Day might just be your first Beginner Novice schooling show. It might be the first time you make it to that recognized Training Three Day event. It might just be the first time you take on an Advanced cross country course.
I have watched and shared in the excitement of Bailey having many Big Days. I have mentioned before that I remember the first Green as Grass show at Pine Hill in Bellville, Texas where she and her pony trotted the entire course over jumps that were not much more than branches on the ground.
Next week I will get to see her go around her first Advanced cross country course. I have to say that Eventing Dad was just as proud of her on that very first day a long time ago as I will be next week. I will be cheering her as she leaves the start box and, God willing, I will be waiting at the finish line to give her a high five as she comes across.
You see, I am not just proud of her for what she does on this one Big Day. I am proud of the hard work she put in laying the foundation that got her to this Big Day. One Big Day of many more to come.