Sharon White — From Bromont to Burghley

In a startling twist of fate, the USEF released what I think is a very reasonable Summer Training List earlier today.  My next post will be about a pig I saw flying around and I can assure you that I will be playing the lottery tonight.  One of only a few things about the lists that raised my eyebrows was that Sharon White was named to the Developing Rider List rather than the High Performance B List.  Sharon was 5th in the CCI3* at Bromont on Rafferty’s Rules and she finished just behind Clark, Phillip, and Buck.  Sharon, however, is far too gracious to ever say anything against being listed or not being listed.  Instead, in this latest EN blog, Sharon writes about Bromont, Reggie, and an email that Sharon thinks I wrote to her but was actually written by the Chinchillas, who in fact handle all Eventing Nation official emails.  If you are wondering how that is possible, they work in teams, one on each half of the keyboard.

Before we get to Sharon’s blog, I want to quickly mention that Sharon’s Last Frontier Farm is hosting the third annual JUMP! derby on July 2nd.  The course is a mixture of stadium and cross-country jumps with levels elementary through preliminary.  Proceeds go to help fund Sharon’s trip to Burghley, and Sharon’s sponsors have all generously donated cool prizes for a raffle AND Nigel Casserly will be announcing. [More info]

Photo of Sharon at Bromont by Samantha Clark

From Sharon:

Poor John…I’m sure trying to get EN’s guest bloggers to get their writing to him in some sort of timely fashion is like trying to herd cats. He asked me do to a Bromont recap the week after Bromont and now we’re in the second week after and I just received an email from him saying “Hey Sharon, since we are so far past Bromont, could you please target your next blog more as a looking forward kind of thing. Maybe your summer plans and looking ahead to Burghley.” Well geez John, I don’t think we’re THAT far past Bromont, and I have been working on my Bromont recap all week. It’s just that it’s ten minutes every evening before I fall asleep on my laptop and then I’ve lost the whole thing because I don’t know how to save anything, or I read what I wrote and think I can’t send that because people will think I’m thick as a brick. So hence here we are in the second week after Bromont and apparently the eventing world has moved on without me.

But I had a great Bromont and that is why I can look ahead to something as exciting as Burghley. My horse Rafferty’s Rules (aka Reggie) is just a fabulous horse, and I do hope to take him to Burghley in September. It will be his first four star, and my third. I had been aiming him for Rolex this spring as he has finished in the top ten at two three stars in the States, and did Blenheim last fall.   But an unfortunate rotational fall last October at Fair Hill (with another horse) left me with a broken hip and pelvis- embarrassingly enough, my second- and my body was just not going to be strong enough to start competing in enough time to be ready for Rolex.  So Bromont bound we became.

Reg skipped around Bromont like a four star horse would have, with a personal best in the dressage which left us fifth, a clean and fast cross country round which moved us up to third, and one unlucky show jump rail in an otherwise fabulous jumping round to finish up fifth. He came through the event like he hadn’t done anything, I felt great as well, so now Burghley bound we are. I have been to Burghley twice to watch, and it would be a dream come true to ride there. It is a huge course, and just the challenge Reg needs. And he does need a challenge; otherwise he is too much of a pain in the rear!

Reggie is the closest thing to a terrier in horse form that I have ever met; feisty and determined, with a healthy disregard of authority. He lives in his own world, by his own rules. Cross country to him is like a pull toy to a terrier, he locks on and doesn’t let go. I am just along for the ride.

Rafferty’s Rules is actually a popular Australian saying that means “No Rules at all,” so his name fits him to a ‘T’.  Like a terrier, he has a healthy disregard of authority. According to Adrienne Classen, Reg’s owner and good friend of mine, these are Reg’s rules:

1) You serve me.

2) Everything is edible, especially your sandwich.

3) Work is for those without talent.

4) Don’t pick a fight you can’t win, unless your friend can.

5) You won’t know if you can get away with it unless you try.

6) When in doubt, be naughty

Adrienne explained Reg best by writing:

“I bought Reggie from a video tape and imported him from Australia. Yes, I am insane, but I have never regretted it for a minute. He is a naughty, cheeky, talented prima donna who has caught people’s eye from the moment he arrived. He drove my husband crazy by refusing to be caught in the pasture, jumped over his stall guard at a show, then went under it then went through it. I once fell off when he over jumped into the water at a competition, and he spent 20 minutes trotting back and forth in front of the spectators while one of the officials drove me around in a truck trying to catch him. He would let someone get close then would shake his head and trot off again while everyone looked on. He LOVES attention, but not to be petted. I mean, really, you would not pet royalty after all, would you? Although I had never considered being an owner, Jim Wofford recommended Sharon White as a rider when I had my hands full with other stuff, and I can never thank him enough.”

Boston cream doughnuts are Reg’s favorite thing. He will put the whole thing in his mouth, suck all the cream out, and then eat the rest. After Bromont, Kay rewarded him with two boston creams. I think at Burghley, I’ll try four, as I’m so not opposed to bribery. Safe riding everyone, aren’t we lucky to be eventing!


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