Hi! I’m Lisa Takada and I’m representing Area VI at the North American Youth Championships (NAYC) with my horse Wishbone aka “Bones”. I am a first-timer and this year will be my only experience at NAYC as I age out after this season.
I’ve had the goal of going to NAYC for several years now but, as many understand quite well, things with horses rarely go to plan. Qualifying for NAYC as my last chance was and still is an absolutely surreal feeling, especially after I experienced a year where it seemed like nothing would go right. If you had asked me a year ago if this goal seemed at all possible, I never would have said yes.
Less than a year ago, I lost my young horse “Noodle” who I only owned for six months. Two months before I bought Noodle, I lost my heart horse, “Walter.” I pictured myself competing in Intermediates, two-stars, and even NAYC with Walter last year, but as I stated earlier, sometimes even the best-laid plans don’t turn out the way we intend for them to.
Lisa and Wishbone competing at the Woodside Horse Trials. Callan Weiss Photo.
It was an unimaginable year, but now I feel as though Bones is making 2018 unimaginable in the best of ways. Bones came into my life at the end of September just after Noodle died and with him a new wind of ambition for the future.
Bones is a 17-hand 10-year-old quirky Holsteiner. It seemed like quite the undertaking to forge a partnership with him in the first few months because he is so unlike any horse I’ve had before. Luckily, the off-season was just around the corner and gave us time to relentlessly chip away to start 2018 off strong. We had a good first run of the season with a finish on our dressage score at the Preliminary level.
I knew we hadn’t taken any shortcuts in our training over the winter so my trainer and I decided that I was ready for my move up to Intermediate shortly after. On a whim, I decided to apply as an Area VI NAYC candidate, fully understanding that it might be a bit unrealistic, but not impossible to actually make the team. After all, this is my last year and I am sitting on a capable and experienced horse, so I thought I might regret it if I didn’t give it a shot.
Lisa and Wishbone on course in the CIC2* at Aspen Farms. Jo Arlow Photography Photo.
And although I say that things rarely go to plan, this time, all the stars aligned. We completed our Intermediates, CIC* and finally CIC2* qualifications all just in a matter of four months. A lot had to go perfectly for me and Bones to make the team, and while it hasn’t always been a walk in the park (with Bones it’s more like a constant jig), I’m proud that we were able to figure each other out when it mattered the most.
Now, I have the privilege of being on a team with such an amazing group of talented girls and horses and the chance to represent Area VI! I just returned from the Area VI Young Rider Camp, where I got to get to know my Coach, teammates, grooms, and everyone else involved behind the scenes. I am so grateful and am looking forward to sharing my camp experience with you in my next blog.
Thanks for following my Road to Young Riders!
Check out Lisa and Wishbone's winning cross-country round in the Aspen Farms CIC2* last month. Video courtesy of Ride On Video.