I’ve loved horses ever since I was born, but I didn’t start riding until I was eight years old. I spent about twenty years riding huntseat equitation and competing at local shows as well as on the IHSA circuit while I was in college. It wasn’t until I started working with JJ, however, that I thought about trying eventing.
After just a few rides on JJ at Go With It Farm (where I take lessons) in Johns Creek, Georgia, I decided I wanted to compete again. My trainer loves eventing, and I thought it would be fun to try something new. How hard could it be? I could get through a dressage test, and I’d been jumping my whole life… At 30 years old, I signed up for my very first event, and two weeks later, I was on my way to Chattahoochee Hills to run my first Tadpole 3-Phase schooling show on August 2, 2014.
I’d only ever gone cross country schooling once, and that was in June of 2010. I’d never taken JJ cross country, but that didn’t stop us. We schooled our course the night before, and all went well.
The morning of the show itself, I was SO excited! I had memorized my dressage test (Intro C), and couldn’t wait to get back in the show ring. While I was riding my test, I actually started smiling because I was thinking to myself “This is so cool, I’m riding my first real dressage test!” and I loved that moment. JJ behaved, and only tried to “help” once by cantering when we should have been trotting. ;) We wound up with a score of 44.00 – not great, but considering we’d only been working together for a short time, I was happy with it.
Later that day, we went double clear in stadium jumping. JJ was a rockstar and gave me a perfect round! We had successfully completed two of the three phases, with cross country looming ahead.
Standing in the cross country start box for the first time was such an incredible feeling. Even before we started our course, I knew I had found my new sport. The starter signaled us to go ahead, told us to “have a great ride,” and we were off and running – literally! I don’t remember much of the course except that I was thinking “this is so much FUN!!!” the whole time. JJ said “yes” to absolutely every question, and although we were still trying to figure out how to work as a team, we made it happen. We crossed the finish line in 3:42 which also nailed the optimum time of 3:42 right on the dot!
I know that a big part of eventing is just surviving by staying on, not refusing out, not going off course, etc… but I had hopes of also getting a ribbon so that I could have a souvenir from my first event. Walking down to check the final scores at the end of the day was nerve wracking. I had done my job, and JJ had done his. The rest was up to fate. There were ten people in our class that day, and I was so absolutely thrilled when I saw that we had finished fifth!
The next morning, I woke up still smiling. I was totally addicted, and couldn’t wait to try eventing again. As everything had gone so well, my trainer and I decided that I should move up to Beginner Novice. The next event was a USEA recognized one, and we decided I should go for it…
Eventing is FUN! Where has this sport been all my life?!
Date: August 2, 2014
Location: Chattahoochee Hills in Fairburn, Georgia
Division: Tadpole 3-Phase
Type: GDCTA Schooling Show
Final Score: 44.00