The Countdown to the AECs Has Begun

Jeannette Bayer is a working student at Denali Sporthorses in Iola, Texas. She has been eventing for a year with her OTTB gelding Pandamonium (“Panda”) and is the founder of Warm Up Ring Bling. Keep up with Jeannette on her blog here

Good man

Good man, Panda! Photo by Scott Bayer.

Seven weeks from today I leave for the American Eventing Championships. Seven weeks from today at this time, I will be there, actually. You’ll probably find me crying about something I left at home that isn’t a big deal, like toothpaste or my extra extra pair of gloves that are used only for dressage rounds ridden on a Sunday in the rain.

That’s the kind of person I am. Stress leaks through my eyeballs in the form of tears, either when it is building up or when it needs to be released. So to everyone I cry on or around, I’m sorry. I really wish I could control it.

This week the name of the game is collecting sponsorships. My teammates and I are very excited to be competing in the Adult Team Challenge that will take place alongside the AECs this year. This blankets us under a non-profit status, which has helped us to collect a few so far. Our team is unicorn-themed, and we are going all out.

Riding Warehouse has generously sponsored us with saddle pads, sparkle crops, shirts, hats and more. Uncle Jimmy’s has given us more treats than our horses can think about eating in a four-day period of time. Mars has decided that we can/should live off of Skittles all weekend long because you can’t have unicorns without rainbows. We’ve got a few more in the works but are so incredibly grateful for the support we have already been shown!

We also got a bit crazy and made T-shirts through the Booster website. Anyone and everyone can order a t-shirt and take part in the unicorn craze we are hoping will sweep the nation.

Apparently my brain is all about making this next seven weeks as long and intimidating as possible. I was dreaming that I was at the AECs. I was running late, and it was almost my dressage time. My trainer asked me if I had the test memorized. To prove I did, I started spouting out, “A, enter working trot rising. C, track left …” She stopped me immediately and said that wasn’t correct. Tears. Everywhere. As I hurried to look through some sort of pamphlet that I guess was supposed to have the test illustrated in it.

As is the case with most not-so-good dreams, it was just out of reach. I never could turn to the correct page to find the test. So I decided to watch the person in front of me. She happened to be my veterinarian, who is also a dressage queen. As I watched her spin 10-meter circles in our Beginner Novice dressage test, tears. All of the tears.

Good news, somehow I stayed asleep to find out I did not get eliminated. Bad news, seven more weeks of this. Bring on the AECs!