Blogger Contest Finalist Cassidy Oeltjen: What Go Eventing Means to Me

The 2022 EN Blogger Contest finalists were asked to write about what “Go Eventing” means to them as one option for their final, Round 3 submissions. The following piece is published unedited. Your feedback will help us select our final winner! Use the rating poll below to give this post a thumbs up. Votes will be factored into our final decision.

About Cassidy:

I’ve managed to do a lot of things in my 38 years, unfortunately none of which have led me to world domination. My equestrian competition record includes results at the semi-upper levels of eventing, dressage and hunters, with a random barrel race thrown in. My off-time is spent traveling, experimenting with home improvement projects, obsessing over my horse’s supplements, and making Amazon orders. I make my living as an eventing professional, but also organize recognized dressage shows, put random ink spots on things, write some words, and own a horse who desperately wants to win us some money in the hunter ring (nature is scary). My current life goals revolve around keeping my new little human alive and finding a deodorant that works during summer in North Carolina.

[Read Cassidy’s Round 2 entry]
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There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of “Michael Jordan plays basketball and I play basketball.” And that’s how I feel about the divide… the great divide. Upper levels vs. lower levels. High performance riders vs. everyone else. Those who will get on come hell or high water vs. those who chose to keep their saddles dry.

We all ride the same sport. Three disciplines over a varying number of days covering the grace of dressage, bravery of cross country, and precision of show jumping. We all love the sport, value the horse first, and put on our breeches one leg at a time. We all crossed the start line for the first time, and we will all finish for the last.

When the high performance riders “go eventing” they are doing it for all of us. Sure, they may not discuss whether I should have made the difficult-to-obtain Novice time over a round of drinks at the Mexican Restaurant in Lexington (like we’ve done about them on the Saturday evening of Land Rover), but they event to represent the system our country is developing. They put their expertise on the line to ensure safety measures are implemented. They are human, brutally honest, and let us into their lives in a way that makes us talk about them using their first names like they are old friends.

For us who aren’t household names, we cheer them on just like cheerleaders encourage the home team. “Go(oooooo) eventing!” is like “goooOOOoooo bulls!”. Go, be safe, represent us, make us feel like we are a part of a bigger slice of this world, even if it’s only for the timespan of an 11 minute cross country course. Take us for the ride on an evolving sport with deep traditional roots.

New safety measures become regular rather than recommended. Go eventing.
Everyone comes home safe and healthy from an event. Go eventing.
New scoring calculations make things more fair, top hats are phased out in favor of safety, grassroots efforts keep dreams alive, and the underdog makes anything seem possible. Clapclaptoetouchsplits .. GgggoooOOoo eventing!

Even if you chose to keep your saddle dry when it rains, all of us also ‘go eventing’ in a less cheerleading and much more literal way.

Need your horse to gain confidence? Go eventing.
Need to find your brave? Go eventing.
Need to feel a part of a supportive community? Go eventing.
Need to feel eager, embarrassed, encouraged, and elated? Go eventing.

Michael Jordan and I both played vastly different games of basketball (just like Boyd and I ride vastly different courses), but I think he was channeling his inner eventer when he said “When I step onto the court, I don’t have to think about anything. If I have a problem off the court, I find that after I play, my mind is clearer and I can come up with a better solution. It’s like therapy. It relaxes me and allows me to solve problems”.

Go eventing and GggoooOOOOOO eventing!