Mar 31, 2019

Now on Course: Things I Would Tell My 14-Year-Old Self

Sam Kelly and Robinstown Ballivor. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Rewind eight years ago. As far as I knew, life was great. I was 14 years old, in eighth grade, my parents were married, and I had a quarter horse paint mare, Cinder, who I thought the world of. I took take lessons, anything from bareback to equitation to dressage to hunter/jumpers. I would spend time painting her hooves and braiding her with rainbow rubber bands. I didn’t even know what the sport of eventing was.

Now as I am sitting in the passenger side of our rig as my trainer, Liz Lund, drives me and my horses home after a great weekend at the Rocking Horse III Horse Trials. I am reflecting on all of my experiences, good and bad, that have gotten me here. You could have told my 14-year-old self all of what I have experienced over the past seven years and I wouldn’t have believed a single word.

Sam and Someday Never Comes. Sophia Johnson Photo courtesy of Sam Kelly.

In my short seven years of eventing I have learned mass amounts of knowledge relating to riding and horses, had many experiences, and been humbled more than once. I appreciate that there is never enough to be taught and as I continue with life experiences can accept fluctuation of goals and beliefs. I am lucky and thankful for a very supportive family that has made it possible to get the most out of this sport that I can continue to enjoy while still realizing that there is more to life than competitions. Juggling college in Minnesota and a competitive season in Florida isn’t easy, but I have a great support system including but not limited to my family, my trainer, my trainer's program, my university, and my friends.

In 2014 I acquired my first upper level horse: Someday Never Comes, aka Stella. Stella has taken me up to the CIC2* level (old FEI star system) and after a few setbacks we are trying to work our way back up the levels. We now have completed our second Preliminary of the 2019 season after coming off of an injury we weren’t sure she would come back from. While she was recovering, I took over the ride on my family's Robinstown Ballivor, aka Tyson, and have been campaigning him at Training level. Upon receiving news of Stella’s injury and the length of time needed for recovery, my family purchased Cobra King, aka Dawson, and imported him from Ireland. I spent the 2018 season getting to know him and successfully ended this weekend finishing our first Preliminary event together.

Sam and Cobra King. Photo courtesy of Sam Kelly.

Again, if you were to tell my 14-year-old self that I had just gotten done competing three horses in Florida I wouldn’t have believed you. If you would’ve told my 16-year-old self that my young rider horse would get hurt and I wouldn’t have made it on the team for the next few years, I would’ve been devastated. In hindsight, I wish I could’ve told myself that everything was going to be ok and I have more amazing things to come.

Things to tell my future self, what may seem like a tragedy in the moment will get better with time. Whether it be related to the sport you love or something as life changing as your parents’ separation. Something I wish I would’ve known was to constantly remember why I do this sport. It is not for the ribbons, it is not for the fame, it’s for the love of the horse, life experiences, people you meet, and the fun you can have along the way. I am so thankful to everyone who has made this wonderful sport possible for me. My parents for their never-ending support and always pushing me to be the best I can be. For my family and friends for understanding how much the horses mean to me. The vets, farriers, and other equine professionals that help take care of our amazing animals. My trainer, for introducing me to this intense sport and teaching me how to be a safe and correct rider. For allowing me opportunities to continue to grow and learn with other professionals in the industry.

Sam and Someday Never Comes in competition. Xpress Foto Photo courtesy of Sam Kelly.

This sport has taught me to be thankful for the little thing and take nothing for granted. I have met some of my best friends through this world and continue to meet amazing people on a regular basis. It is great to have such a supportive and inspirational group by my side.

The USEA is made up of over 12,000 members, each with their own special horses and experiences. The USEA's Now on Course series highlights the many unique stories of our membership. Do you and your horse have a tale to tell? Do you know someone who deserves recognition? Submit your story to Jessica Duffy to be featured.

Jun 26, 2019 Convention

VIDEO: Organizers Open Forum

To kick off the Organizers Open Forum at the 2018 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, Robert Winter provided a report to the organizers in attendance on Xentry and invited organizers to provide feedback on some of the changes that have been implemented.

Jun 26, 2019 Association News

USEA Announces Partnership with State Line Tack

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce a new partnership with State Line Tack. As a Bronze Level Sponsor of the 2019 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC), State Line Tack will award $2,000 worth of prizes for the 22 AEC division winners. This year’s AEC will be held August 27-September 1, 2019 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.

Jun 25, 2019 Competitions

Through the Lens: Golden Spike Horse Trials

Nestled among the Wasatch Mountain Range in Ogden, Utah lies the Golden Spike Event Center, home of the Golden Spike Horse Trials. For the past 32 years, the Wasatch Pony Club has organized the Golden Spike Horse Trials, welcoming riders from all over the West to experience the beauty of Utah and one of two USEA recognized events in the state.

Jun 25, 2019 Future Event Horse

FEH Stars Will Be Judged By Legends at Championships

The USEA Future Event Horse Program (FEH) will host East, West, and Central Championships in September 2019. The West Coast Championships will take place at Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, California on September 19. The Central Championships will move to Snowdonia Farms in Tomball, Texas the following Thursday, September 26 with the East Coast quickly following Saturday and Sunday, September 28-29 at Loch Moy Farm in Adamstown, Maryland.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Outerwear of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Riding Helmet of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA