There is something to be said about attending a horse trial at the beginning of the season. Perhaps I am sentimental or overly emotional, but it just doesn’t get much better than watching some of the country and world’s best out and about in the early goings of a fresh season.
Walking around Rocking Horse Winter I today, there was a palpable excitement in the air. Relief that the 2016 season is officially in full swing, happiness in the glow of a warm Florida afternoon, glee on the faces of riders who are tackling a pipe opening cross country run.
Out on the Intermediate cross country course, scores of horses and riders galloped past on a day when clear rounds were prominent and the rust got knocked off on the way back to the finish line.
Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM, who are perhaps one of the best relationships to witness between horse and rider, gleefully galloped across the finish, with Buck all but dropping his reins and letting Reggie finish up on his own.
Diane Portwood and Cinerescent bounced around the course, Diane encouraging her mare the whole way round.
I’ve said it many times before and I will say it again — eventers are a whole different culture. The casual conversations between competitors, the helping hand always offered to hold a horse or give a leg up, the bustling of working students and grooms who help even the busiest of riders have a smooth day — everything just feels brand new and fresh at this time of year.
Here in Ocala, it’s easy to look ahead and see a promising 2016. The season is just starting, and it’s as if the whole word is there for the taking.
So here’s to new beginnings, fresh starts and brand new eyes. We can’t wait to see what 2016 brings, and we’re thrilled to be here with you every step of the way.