A Hunter Comes to the Eventing Dark Side

Lisa Lach has been riding for nearly 20 years in a variety of disciplines. She has been competing locally in Wisconsin for the last four years while riding anything she can get her hands on. She is a marketing professional by day, and in her free time she blogs at Centered in the Saddle.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Lach.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Lach.

I’m a chronic lurker. The observer on the sidelines — or more likely, behind a screen — quietly reading Eventing Nation articles and following along with the major events to keep tabs on my favorite riders (looking at you, Elisa Wallace). I stalk for sale ads and the Weekly OTTB Wishlist to pick out the perfect partner that I can’t actually afford right now.

And then I head out to the barn and get to work … training a youngster to be a nice little hunter. Yes, I confess: I am an adult amateur hunter. And not even at the A shows! (See above: cannot afford, must adult.) So what, you may ask, am I doing with all this low-level stalking of the eventing world?

I’ve always loved eventing. I’ve always wanted to do it myself, but opportunity found me in the hunters instead. But opportunity recently deserted me when that nice little hunter I’d trained was sold by his owners.

And I think I fell victim to some “insanity in the middle” between my ears, because I decided that this would be the perfect time to quit the hunters and start eventing. I have no horse of my own. I have little to no eventing experience. See what I mean about insanity?

But from what I’ve gleaned, eventers are excellent at taking a sucky situation (i.e. your free lease gets sold from under you) and fixing it with a get-er-done attitude and a sense of humor. Or duct tape.

Seeing as duct tape wouldn’t be too much help in my situation, I instead opted for the good attitude and found myself a place to take lessons. My overall plan is to learn the ropes and hopefully be ready to compete by next spring.

And when I feel a little seed of doubt and ask myself: Am I really ready to join the ranks of #EventerProblems and Insanity in the Middle?

The answer is always yes. I know this because so far, not one person I have encountered has seemed to think that a late-20s adult amateur from the local hunter circuit wanting to be an eventer when she grows up is really all that strange. I’ve met only with support, enthusiasm and excitement. So, as I start this possibly insane adventure, I’m pretty confident that whatever happens, competitively or otherwise, it’s going to be a helluva lot of fun.

I’ll be reporting in with regular updates on all my “firsts.” First time doing dressage, first cross country outing, every time I have no idea what’s going on … all of it. And hopefully, whether you’re a seasoned eventer or a chronic lurker like I used to be, it should be fun, or at least, mildly entertaining.

Eyes ahead, shoulders back, leg on. Here we go.