The first full day of competition at the Galway Downs International has come to a close, and it was a full day! As is usually the case at an event, our morning started very early — 5 a.m. to be exact. When I heard Katy Groesbeck’s alarm on her phone go off in the room down the hall, I did everything I could to ignore it. Unfortunately I could not ignore it for long, as we had stalls to clean, horses to feed and ride, braids to do, tack to clean and cross-country courses to walk.
As I got in my truck and drove to Galway, a big smile came to my face as I realized it would be another beautiful sunny Southern California day, and I am doing what I love. It really doesn’t get any better than that. After the horses were taken care of and schooled, our focus shifted to getting the FEI horses ready for the jogs.
The nerves and excitement of those doing their first FEI jog brought yet another smile to my face. This is why we’re all in this sport; we love our horses and growing and competing as a team. Hearing the word “accepted” at your first jog, well, they might as well say, “Congratulations, all your sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears are paying off!” Everyone at Hawley Bennett Eventing was accepted, so let the fun and competition begin.
Here I want to give a special shout out to all the non-FEI riders at Galway Downs (myself included). It’s just as much fun to see young riders and adult amateurs progress throughout the year and do so while having so much fun. There are so many of us who participate just for the love of the sport. It doesn’t matter if you’re running Beginner Novice or Training for the 20th time; the most important thing is that we’re progressing at our own pace and having fun while doing it.
When the jogs were over, I had a few minutes to walk over to the trade fair to grab something to eat and do some window shopping. (Yes, I made sure that I left my wallet in the truck.) I grabbed a hard cider and a BLT and sat down with a few friends in the VIP tent next to the main ring to watch some of the Training 3-Day and Preliminary dressage. It was a gorgeous, sunny day with temps in the 80s; I took a drink of my cider and smiled yet again. Nope, it just doesn’t get any better than this!