Somedays I have to pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming. This past month I was living my dream as May concluded with completing my first FEI Nations Cup, and June kicked off with the Bramham Under 25 CCI3*. With the support and honor of competing under the 2017 Karen Stives European Emerging Athlete Tour, I finally got to represent team USA in my senior debut.
The tour started off with a great start with Team USA earning a bronze medal at Houghton Hall Nations Cup CICO***. I was on a team with Katherine Coleman and Hannah Sue Burnett. All three of us put in stellar dressage tests and show jump rounds. But the highlight of the show was that all three US pairs went double clear XC. Houghton was the perfect test to get my feet wet representing the United States and I am thrilled to make my country proud.
After two weeks of training in England I went into Bramham with two ready horses. Dressage was a bit more reserved on The Apprentice (Dirk) and Pebbly Maximus
(Rory) than I typically do, because at Houghton Hall I pushed the trot too much on Dirk which caused us to break into the canter. Our score of a 49.0 and 47.7 landed us in fifth place and seventh place, which I was a bit disappointed in. I know we can deliver better results, but my conservative ride restricted Dirk’s and Rory's movement a bit. On the flip side, Leslie told me, “Dressage is about showing the judges how trained your horse is. Not about how well you can hold it together,” so it is a comforting feeling to know that Dirk and Rory respond well to me.
Bramham wrapped up with both The Apprentice and Pebbly Maximus in the top 10, which I could not have been more proud of. Cross country day proved to be a challenge to all, with half of my division eliminated. Sunday's show jumping also proved to be influential, however I am proud of both my horses and only adding 4 faults to their score. I am humbled to have had this opportunity to compete overseas, and to know that people have put their faith in me to represent our country . I feel like this was a big step into my emerging career as a professional, and I am looking forward to improving my string of horses!
On that note, there have been some sales and leases of horses since I got back to the States. Haley Carspecken purchased Center Stage, whom I had as a five
year old and produced up the levels to 3* . Nacho, another one of my 3* partners, is spending the summer with Rachel Wilks, and I have two young horses currently looking for a home. It is sad to see them go, especially Nacho as he has always had a special place in my heart, but I am trying to make a living out of this sport and it's a sacrifice you must make to reach the top.
It is time to look ahead and start establishing a string of 3* and 4* mounts! En route from overseas, I have two five year-olds, who have been generously bought for me by new owners to produce to the four star level. I will include them in the next newsletter once I have them home.
This journey into a professional career can not be done alone, so thank you to all who are helping me along the way to turn my dreams into reality.