Mar 15, 2024

Now On Course: A Letter to My Horse

Kylee Willis and Drumloman Lad at the 2023 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds. Kristin Lee for Erin Gilmore Photography photo

Area V young rider Kylee Willis penned this letter to her horse, Drumloman Lad, or "Benji," a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Golden Master x Lismullig Clovers Ally).

Dear Benji,

This is one of those notes I wish I wasn't writing. But if I didn't get my thoughts to you in some (albeit cheesy) way, I might go crazier than the situation is already making me.

I am reaching a point in my growth, as a rider and as a person, where I am having to realize something that, for lack of a better word, sucks. That is that my plan is almost never going to be the way life actually goes.

Of course, a part of me always knows this, but when things are going so well, situations like this are a brutal reminder. I am so heartbroken that I won't be able to compete you anymore. Yes, because I love you, but also because this was NOT a part of my plan. Not by a long shot. I have such high hopes and dreams for myself, and I believed you would be the one to take me to them.

It is so important to remind myself during all of this that you did take me to them. You have done so much for me! From my first season at Novice with four top-3 placings, to a trip to AEC that was more successful than I had ever dreamed it would be, to second place at my first Training level event. This all in essentially one year. I could never repay you for such amazing experiences and so SO much learning and maturing.

I will try my best to do so, though. Repay you, that is. By doing what's best for you, by giving you time to heal and finding you the best possible future. You still have so much to teach someone, so much talent to share, but you've reached your limit with me, and I am finally coming to terms with it.

You have told me in your own ways that the upper levels are just too much for you, and I am so thankful you did because I have the chance to listen, and do whats right for you and me.

There is something about going through such a brutal loss with my heart horse that makes this situation a bit easier. You will be happy, and healthy. I will find another partner who will continue on what you started for me, and there will be times I will wish they were you, just like I often have wished you were Elliot. I am learning that this is the way things go.

I have moments where I wish I didn't form these strong emotional attachments with horses, it would make this so much easier. Then I think about how much sweeter it makes the victories, big or small, when I have such deep love for the partner I'm doing it with.

I am so thankful for you. I will make sure you are taken care of, whatever that looks like, and I will always have a special spot in my heart reserved for my big, applesauce eating, rain loving, Irish boy, Benji<3

Do you know a horse or rider with a cool story? Email Lindsay at [email protected] for a chance to be featured.

May 24, 2024 AEC

Three Months Until the Start of the 20th Anniversary USEA American Eventing Championships

The 2024 United States Eventing Association (USEA) American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds is just over three months away, which means it is time to start planning your trip to Lexington, Kentucky! For the second year in a row, the AEC, which is brought to you by the USEA and its organizing partners at Equestrian Events, Inc and Mary Fike, will return to the iconic Kentucky Horse Park from Aug. 27 to Sept. 1.

May 24, 2024 News

Athletux Signs on as Bronze Sponsor for 2024 USEA American Eventing Championships

The United States Eventing Association, Inc. (USEA) is pleased to announce Athletux as a “Bronze Level Sponsor for the 2024 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC)” taking place at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, Aug. 27- Sept. 1. Athletux will also be the “Official Commentary Provider” at the AEC, offering commentary for the upper levels at the event. All levels of the AEC will be live streamed.

May 23, 2024 Eventing News

Weekend Quick Links: May 25-26

Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.

May 23, 2024 News

Christina Gray Shares How ShowConnect is Shaping the Future of Event Management

Christina Gray has been working in the horse show office since the mid-90’s. What started out as her lending a helping hand at her local horse trial turned into a full-blown career after Gray graduated from college and founded her own Gray Area Events, LLC.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Competition & Training Apparel of the USEA

Official Horse Boot of the USEA