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.
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.
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.
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.
US Equestrian is pleased to announce two additional competitions approved by the USEF Board of Directors to host CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, and Advanced level events during the 2023-2027 competition cycle under the new Eventing Calendar Process. The Florida Horse Park has been allocated the CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, and Advanced levels on Week 16 and the Advanced level on Week 40.
If you take one look at Jim Moyer’s Facebook page, you will see it is filled with sweet sentiments from the lives he has touched through his work in the equine industry. Moyer’s involvement with horses began when he met his future wife Jean 50 years ago. As Jean went on to become a prominent instructor in eventing, Moyer found that their friend circle was full of horse people, so it was only natural that he should find his place in the community.
Horses and riders in 12 divisions, from Starter to CCI4*-S, tackled the show jumping phase of competition Sunday at The Event at TerraNova, over a track designed by Nick Granat in the world-class setting of the main arena. Prize money was awarded in all divisions.
USEA Official Podcast Host Nicole Brown looks back on a brilliant Maryland 5 Star with Jennie Brannigan, reflecting on her fourth-place finish and highlights of the inaugural running of the event. USEA CEO Rob Burk and USEA President Max Corcoran then join Nicole to look forward to the 2021 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention which takes place in December.