My Journey through 2014 – Part 1
It’s been a while since my last post, and a lot has happened between now and then! I’ll start back in November of 2013, where I made a big change and decided to move out to California to live and train. I was thrilled when David Wightman and Kathleen Raine of Adventure Farms in Murrieta agreed to let me train there and work for them. So my horses and I made our big move on November 8th and we’ve been here since. I have learned so much from them and am so grateful for everything they have done for me. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive barn with great people and horses alike.
I competed in my first show after moving to California in January of 2014 with Verdicci, known as Chance around the barn. Chance is a 2002 KWPN gelding by Krack C. I’ve owned and trained him since he was five year old and I was twelve. My trainers and I made the decision that I should try out for the Region 7 Young Riders team that year and this was our warm-up show. We competed in the Prix St. George for a score of 64% and in our very first Intermediate 1 test for a score of 69%. It was a great way to gear up for the season and pinpoint exactly what we needed to work on.
After that we went to the CDI qualifiers starting with the first one in Burbank in February. We had a great show and earned 69%s in both the Young Rider Team and Individual tests. Next we went to the San Juan CDI in March and earned a 66% in the Team test, a 69% in the Individual test and a 68% in the Freestyle. Our last qualifier was in Rancho Murrieta in June, where we earned a 67% in the Team test and a 69% in the Individual test. Once all of the qualifiers were done, the Region 7 Young Rider Team was announced as Anna Buffini and Sundayboy, Cassidy Gallman and Grand Makana, Lindsey Brewin and Valliant and myself with Chance. I was thrilled to be a member of such a great team and excited to do the best job I could for my team.
We knew that the Region 7 team had a good shot at medalling. Anna and Cassidy were coming off of a very successful National Championships where they had been crowned Young Rider National and Reserve National Champions. So when it came time for the Team test, we all went out and rode the best tests we could with the other riders, coaches, family and friends cheering each other on. I was ecstatic when Chance and I were able to produce the best test of our life. He was amazing and did everything just as I asked. We received our highest score ever in the FEI ring, a 72%. That combined with Anna’s 68% and Cassidy and Lindsey’s 65%s were enough to take home the Team Gold Medal! I was so proud of my horse and my teammates. Our Region 7 Junior Team of Lauren Mack, Olivia Zeilinger, Danielle Bonovito and additional Region 6 member Heather Decent won the Team Bronze Medal. It was a fantastic day and one of my favourite memories.
Moving on to the Individual test, I definitely felt the pressure to reproduce the same result. I had never been in that situation before so it was great experience to have to deal with my own and others’ expectations.
I decided that I just had to focus on my performance and not the scores or other things I couldn’t control. With that in mind, Chance and I had another great ride and were able to earn a 71.8% and the Individual Gold Medal. I couldn’t believe it, it’s something I dreamed about since I was little but never something I thought would actually happen. I was so thankful for Chance in that moment and everything we had been through together to get to that point. When it came time for the Freestyle I just wanted to have fun with him and end on a high note. We did just that with another 72% and the Freestyle Gold Medal. I still can’t quite believe everything that happened and am so grateful to so many people. Needless to say Chance got a lot of carrots and apples that week! Stay tuned for my next post detailing the rest of the adventures we had last year!