A recent discussion in the Facebook group for EN Patrons (haven’t joined us on Patreon yet? Click here to learn more.) got me thinking and interested in hearing our readers’ responses. It centered around the topic of the “eventing bug” – you know, that moment where suddenly life seemed more clear and the only thing that seemed to make sense was hurling yourself, atop a horse, over solid obstacles at speed. And now, here you are: an eventing rider, a trainer, a photographer, a vet, an owner, a volunteer, a fan.
Surely many of us can remember a specific moment in which that clarity came to us. For me, it was watching Gina Miles and the great liver chestnut, McKinlaigh, soaring over the fences in the old Rolex arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. It was 2003, and it was my first year attending what was then known Rolex Kentucky. Somewhere, there’s a scrapbook made up of instant camera photos and scribbled notes about the horses that stood out to me: Antigua, Leaps and Bounds, Primmore’s Pride…everywhere I could crane my teenaged neck, I was surrounded by superstars.
It was this year, driving back to Missouri with red shoulders and a program book covered in rider signatures, that I knew I’d found the horse sport I loved the most. Growing up, I’d gravitated towards racing as that was primarily what you saw on TV, but once I got wind of what eventing was, there was no going back.
Each year from then on, I attended the big event on the Bluegrass, booking my hotel in December when I just couldn’t wait any longer and stalking the schedule for autograph signings and course walks. A tradition had been born.
Years and years later, I would finally get the chance to interview Gina Miles for a story right here on EN – after I got my starstruck gushing that goes against most journalistic standards of conduct out of the way, of course.
These days, I love discovering people’s “aha!” moments – the simple exchange between Alexia Blake and Lauren Ferguson that gave a little girl stars in her eyes comes to mind as a recent favorite. The memories shared on social media over the past week surrounding this year’s Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event have spurred me to curiosity, so now I give the mic to you: who gave you “the bug”? Tell us your story in the comments or by emailing [email protected] and I’ll compile them into a future article.