Last week was incredible of for Tracy Bowman of Kismet Farms, in Martinez, California, and Jolie Wentworth. No, Jolie was not running around a four-star or winning an event; in fact, Jolie’s name wasn’t even on the scoreboard at all. This weekend was all about Tracy. She and her pint-sized pony, Bella, traveled all the way to the Netherlands to join the U.S. team at the World Para Driving Championships at Peelbergen Equestrian Centre in Kronenberg, Holland. Tracy was the only one to bring her own horse from the States, a feat in itself, and they were well prepared for the stiff competition that lay ahead.
After settling in with the team, the pair showed off all week. Driving consists of three phases, similar to eventing. After Tracy guided Bella through a dressage test, they tackled the marathon phase the following day. Marathon is closely compared to cross country, as drivers must guide their horses through tricky obstacles known as hazards and gallop along the way. The final phase of the competition is the cones phase where two cones are set side-by-side requiring drivers and their horses to pass through them without knocking the ball off that is placed precariously on top. All of this was done while Jolie rode on the back of the carriage acting as her navigator.
When the dust settled after dressage, marathon and the final cones phase, Tracy and Bella brought home a superb eighth place finish for the U.S. team. In their first European driving event and first World Championships, Tracy and Bella proved they belonged with grit and determination. Their incredible partnership was on full display and there was not a dry eye in the house at the conclusion of the competition. To be able to compete on a team alongside her fellow Team USA Para-drivers was so special and to have the finish they did, well that is just icing on the cake.
It is sure to be the first of many championships for Tracy! She has done so much for the eventing community, and Jolie was thrilled to be on the back of her cart all weekend acting as her navigator. They make such a special team and Jolie was so excited to support Tracy. A big shout-out also to groom Laura Howland, whose elbow grease gave them an extra shine in the international-caliber competition. It was a dream come true for the entire team, and Tracy is as hungry as ever to return to the championships and put in an even better result next time.
The special weekend, however, would not have been possible without the support of the entire eventing community and beyond! It is so amazing to see a community come together and Tracy was so touched to have everyone’s support. It is one of the many things that makes the eventing world so special and one of the many reasons that Tracy loves to be a part of it. She would like to thank everyone who helped make last week a success from the bottom of her heart. Now, it is time for Tracy and Bella to get back to the States to begin the next step in the journey as they look ahead to the future.