Saturday, July 30, 2011

Living with Integrity

Hi Friends,

I titled this post "Living with Integrity". It is something I strive to do in every day, and I have always tried my best to let my ethics be my guide. Sometimes it means making very hard decisions though.

In making the decision to campaign to London 2012, I realized that the Team really needed not just a rider and a horse, but a rider and a horse who could pull down a top international score, which at my grade is in the 68-72% range. I knew I needed to sharpen my test riding, which had gotten a bit sloppy with riding Dylan, and I needed to find a horse that could consistently pull down 7's in the Gr 3 work when ridden accurately. Additionally, I decided that I needed to find a way to take the financial burden off of my own shoulders as much as possible - to find better ways to fundraise, and ensure that as much as possible, my own finances are kept separate from those of this campaign. Lastly, I am on an incredibly short timeframe to pull pull this all together.

I really believed that Neo was "the horse", and honestly, I still do believe that he IS "the horse"...he is talented, kind-hearted, and I cannot think of a horse better suited for the para work. However, Neo has had a quite a few riders in his life in the past 6 years, and it will take an investment of time in order for a relationship to flourish, and for him to be truly brilliant. And time is something I cannot fundraise for, nor do I have.

I am heartbroken, as Neo and I have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time, but I have to keep reminding myself about my timeline, and that I need to be ready to ride a test for scores in short order.

I find myself wondering what end? Am I "throwing away" a beautiful partnership in pursuit of medals? Is that truly living with integrity?

I suppose in the end I am hoping for BOTH a beautiful partnership, AND the chance to shine in competition.

In the meantime, Neo and I will just enjoy our rides together as he starts to look for his new "someone", and as I start to look for my new "someone", too.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Little Things/Big Things

This week has been filled with ups and downs and ups!!

I am starting to feel flutters in my stomach looking at all the pictures from the test events going on in London this week...have you seen them??

Here is the official site with some great shots: London 2012

The idea of everything coming together for a trip to compete in such an amazing environment gives me chills. It would really be a different experience than WEG - we will have a small team (4 riders and a small contingent of support staff), and we will all be training, traveling, and working together as a true team in support of the Paralympic Dream.

Neo really stepped up to the plate this week, which is in large part why I guess I am starting to let my mind wander ahead and think about London.

A large part of what we are working on is basic training concepts - go, turn, stop. In order for Neo and I to really get an understanding of one another, we really just need to start at the beginning. As we build our foundation, things are really starting to come together in exciting ways!! Yesterday, we had a few minutes of trot work that was WOW - the amazing feeling of throughness and power...the feeling that you could do just about anything!! The feeling you *hope* for as you jam down centerline! Gah!! Still giddy. I started looking at timelines and budgeting....kind of a buzzkill, but a necessary evil.

I have two major trips planned in 2012 - one to the Dressage Affaire, in Del Mar, California in March. The second will be to Selection Trials...I do not yet know when/where that will be, but I am guessing May/June, and am budgeting for middle-of the country-ish. I will also need to fundraise for Neo's continued care and training. So...I have my work cut out for me. But...I am determined, motivated, excited, I have an amazing horse that I KNOW will represent the US well!!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank ALL of those individuals who have supported me thus far, as well as thank my corporate sponsors Kerrits Equestrian Apparel, FarmVet, Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center, Antares, Browbands by Design,, and Olsons Tack for their tireless support. Thank you to Rebecca Chatfield for opportunity to partner with her amazing horse, and to Alyssa Pitts of AP Dressage for believing in Neo, believing in me, and making sure both of us keep our eyes on the stars, and our feet on the ground.

ANYTHING is possible, my friends. Believe it.