I must admit I tend to get a bit hyper-focused in my "day-to-day" - school, clinic, barn, home...so it will probably take some practice to make sure to include this piece!
I figured I would start by giving everyone a quick update, as well as my general plans for the next months...although a lot is up in the air at this moment.
In May I competed at the Para Equestrian National Championships & CPEDI3*, with my now 11 year old SWB Dylan. It was his first big competition, and his first big "road trip". He did amazingly. I am so SO proud of how he handled everything. The weather was poor the first day (the footing was more soup than sand!), but it just didn't even phase him. I was concerned he might "burn out" by the end, and just get a bit tired or cranky, but his attitude was superb. We ended up 4th overall in the National Championships, and won the freestyle for our Grade - absolutely incredible. My parents were able to come down and see the freestyle ride, and they have not seen me ride since my disability onset in 2000. Really an incredible day.
With that finish the US coaches thought I should consider taking my horse, Dylan, to compete at the Open European Championships for Para Dressage, which are taking place in Norway in August. I am a "new kid" on the international scene - the more I can get in front of the international judges and ride well, the better. There is something to be said for name recognition.
Sending a horse from Seattle to Norway is not exactly easy on the horse, or the pocketbook, though. I didn't have the fundraising resources, and beyond that, I was a bit concerned about the length of the journey on Dylan, whom I have only had a year, and who is just now "coming together" in terms of his training & development...he is 11, but a "young" 11...I worried that such a long journey would unduly stress joints & muscles that are maybe not as strong as they could be, or would be in a few more months. I'm certainly no expert, I'm not a horse trainer either....it was probably just more a feeling coming from a concerned "horse mama", knowing that we still have a lot of training to do before we are solid before next year.
So, I decided to try and borrow a horse in Europe, so that I could compete. And this, is where little miracles have begun to happen for me!! Mary Phelps of Dressagedaily.com posted an amazing article on my behalf when nothing had come to fruition on my end. I was contacted by a number of incredible people - Rick Silvia of DreamStallions offered one of his amazing horses, Robert Dover posted my request on his website doversworld.com, I was contacted by the farm of Victor Alvares, and finally by Regina Moldan, who offered me 2 incredible horses to try.
Trying to secure a borrowed horse before the entry deadline was challenging...but as it turns out, that was only the beginning. The horse I submitted on the entry was for sale...and as it turns out, had a buyer shortly after the entry went through. So, and appeal had to be submitted to change horses. The organizing committee has been very helpful and supportive, and approved the appeal, so I was able to switch to Regina's other other horse.
I learned just this week, though, that my coach has injured her shoulder, and will not be able to travel with me, and due to her injury & the required surgery & rehab, will need the assistance of my groom to help keep things running smoothing at home.
So...I am brainstorming options to find another groom & travel companion, and hoping to find someone at the competition who may be able to assist in coaching me.
The latest news comes this evening, that the horse I am planning on competing on may have a health issue that would prevent him from being ready to compete.
Who ever said it was easy?
Who ever said it was supposed to be this dang hard? :-)
While I have not *yet* thrown in the towel...I definitely have pulled one out of the linen closet!
If I do stay home, I hope to spend some time with Dylan in training, I'd love to see his flying changes come together, and take him to a schooling show at 3rd level.
Thank you so much to all the folks who have been performing miracles for me the past weeks. I hope it comes together for a European adventure...but if not, the adventure surely doesn't end here, and I hope you'll join me on the road to WEG!!