Goodbye, 2016! At last, the end of a year of frustrations, pain and learning opportunities. Thanks, I’ve had quite enough learning opportunities! I should be a genius by now, with all the learning opportunities I’ve been forced to swallow this last year. It’s time to start having fun again.
This year eventing also has had some sad times. We lost Phillipa Humphreys — a terrible blow to our sport which left us with resolve to do better in her memory. We lost Roger Haller, an icon in our sport — but he’s left us a great legacy for the future.
We had the Olympics and the disappointing team finish, but the incredible individual bronze performance of Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice, and the equally incredible job Boyd Martin did with a green Blackfoot Mystery over the world’s toughest cross country course ever.
Our national eventing association had a big gain; we welcome the leadership of our own Carol Kozlowski, a longtime competitor and USEA leader who also has competed at the highest levels and was responsible for the changing of the weight rule back in the day, which had a huge impact on the sport. We look forward to her time as president of the USEA in 2017.
We look forward to increased attention paid to adult amateurs, volunteers and kids in the sport. We hope the sponsors and supporters from last year step up this year to help us. Prize money helps everyone and it keeps us going forward, training hard, trying new things, keeping bills paid and the sport vibrant.
We know our cross country gurus are working hard on studying better, safer ways to make jumps, and we look forward to even better rides over safer courses in 2017.
We hope that the ugly stuff is way overcome by the great stuff when it comes to issues and difficulties. The horse is always, always foremost, and it’s our hope that 2017 gets that message installed in every eventer.
We want everyone to have fun, we want competition to be fair and properly judged and scored, we want everyone to have a great ride. Every single rider, every horse, all year in every event. Not just the big events, not just the favorite ones, not just the high profile ones or the ones with the live stream or big PR — the small ones, too, in every corner of the country. They are all worthy of greatness.
Go eventing! 2017 is here!