Let the Games Begin

I knew that every day at NAJYRC was going to be busy, whether or not I was competing that day. But the first three days at Young Riders have given me whole new definitions of hectic and crazy.


No matter what time it is, there is always something to do. A horse needs to be walked, a stall needs to be mucked, tack needs to be cleaned — the list goes on and on. Working all of those things around lessons with Mikki and various meetings just doubles the crazy.

Nothing would ever get done if it weren’t for our amazing hard working grooms. I swear my horse has never been this clean for this long in her life.

Kentucky weather has also been an eye opener. Who knew that it could go from a torrential downpour complete with thunder and lightening to sunny and 90 degrees in just 15 minutes?

And while flooded stalls are never fun (let’s just say that we had to scoop water out of one of our tack stalls), Ruby seems to be a fan of the heat and humidity. I can’t say I’m disappointed about that.

All settled in!

All settled in!

The golf cart decorations and opening ceremonies at Spy Coast Farm have been a staple of NAJYRC for years. Area 1 went a little overboard with decorations, but our gold carts look amazing. It’s so funny to watch people’s reactions as we drive by.

Area 1 runs on Dunkin and Minions are just too cute

Area 1 runs on Dunkin and Minions are just too cute

The skies opened up just as the golf cart parade was about to begin. As result, the lovely parade turned into a race, complete with water cannons. Teams from every country, area, and discipline raced from the Rolex Stadium to Spy Coast across muddy fields, trying not to tip over. Standing on the back of our gold cart was definitely one of the more terrifying experiences of my life, but it was extremely fun.

Wednesday was jog day, and it started bright and early. Most of the team fit in flat lessons with Mikki in the morning before making our horses spotless and perfect for jogs.

Our super grooms made sure each horse was perfectly braided and turned out, complete with matching quarter marks. The whole team looked great with our matching dresses and shining ponies. We had a few tense moments when one of the Area 1 horses was held, but all the horses ended up passing.

Area 1 - Accepted!

Area 1 – Accepted! From left to right: Paris Beddingfield, Killea Gynis View, Caitlin Tierney, Jessye Ebzery, RF Luminati, Katie Lichten, Claire Paulhac, Clonemethan Crest, Mariah Gallien, Abby Dubrowski, Beau Voyager, Madison Gallien, Abby Niles, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Anna Billings

Competing at NAJYRC is a bit like doing Hercules’ seven tasks, and many of them happen before you even ride.

First, you have to get there. Then you have to pass in barns. And then you have to pass the jogs. And while each step in even more nerve-wracking than the last, the completion of each gives you an intense sense of satisfaction.

Receiving the Junior Championship patch for my show coat after jogs today gave me that feeling. It’s a symbol that I’ve made it. I’m officially competing at NAJYRC.

Looking beautiful at jogs

Looking beautiful at jogs