There were two rockstars in the dressage ring today at Badminton Horse Trials when Libby Head and Sir Rockstar cantered down the centerline.
Nobody has worked harder to earn their Badminton ticket than Libby. She and her 15.1-hand, now 18-year-old OTTB “Rocky” have come a long way over the past eight years, when Libby first encountered a much rougher-around-the-edges version of her four-star partner.
When their paths first crossed Rocky was 10, scrawny and rank, with maybe one Novice event on his resume, and she was a green-to-eventing 16-year-old.
“I used to fall off on the way back to barn every day,” she laughingly recalled after her test this afternoon.
But by trial and error, and with Kyle Carter stepping in as a sort of eventing Mr. Miyagi, the pair began clawing their way up the levels together. Having earning a team gold in the CCI2* at NAJYRC in 2011 the pair moved up to Advanced the following year, where he proceeded to prove all of his believers right by making short work of the biggest courses in the land.
They finished in the top 20 at Fair Hill in 2013 and in the top 10 at their first four-star, Rolex, the following year. They were supposed to make their overseas debut at Luhmühlen last year but just two weeks before the event Libby broke her wrist skim boarding. No more extracurricular activities for you, Libby!
While Rocky has always been a star jumper, the pair’s dressage struggles have been … real. So to see them floating around the arena today, on the world’s biggest eventing stage, nothing short of amazing.
They had some lovely moments, and some tense ones, and while their score of 57.8 won’t keep them afloat in this shark tank of international competition Libby couldn’t wipe the smile off her face after her test.
She kindly took a moment to chat with us about her test, her horse and the weekend that lies ahead.
Libby is here with her parents, coach Kyle and her friend/groom Devon Brown, but her supporters back at home might as well be here as well — they’re cheering so loudly you can practically hear them from across the pond!
Best of luck to you and Rocky this weekend, Libby. Enjoy every moment of it — you’ve earned it!