I caught the eventing bug many years ago when I was a broke college student who could barely afford to show at the local shows. Nevertheless, I followed eventing religiously; my friends and I made the mecca to Rolex every year. Fast forward a decade, and I am now a commissioned officer serving in the National Guard married to an active duty Army officer (we do occasionally speak civilian in conversation). We have one son, Carson, who’s nearly 4 (my how the time flies), two dachshunds, and one extra-large horse. The best and worst thing about the Army is getting to move to a new location every few years. I’ve been fortunate so far to live in three great USEA areas: V, VIII, and III. Right now we’re located in Richmond Hill, GA–a short jaunt from Aiken. I might’ve been a bit adamant about choosing Ft. Stewart for our duty location. I may or may not base our duty locations off proximity to horse show venues. Don’t judge me.
I’ve been fortunate enough to ride with some pretty awesome (albeit lesser known) trainers who’ve had a major impact on my riding career. My last trainer hired me as a contract instructor and assistant trainer. That was probably the most valuable learning experience of my life. I had the great fortune to ride her Prix St. Georges mount, some super-talented warmbloods, and lots of different horses at various levels of training. I learned a lot about figuring out how to adjust to all the different types of thinkers.
But, perhaps my best lesson partner is my current mount, Big Johnny. This highly opinionated fella is fairly certain I have no idea what I’m doing, so he often takes it upon himself to decide our approach to the fences. He recently underwent tie-back surgery (laryngoplasty) to correct his laryngeal hemiplegia (aka, one of his ‘flappers’ had stopped working). I am currently blogging about his recovery and our progress towards Training Level Eventing when he’s good and ready. He’s got upper-level potential written all over him, but he doesn’t handle mental pressure very well, so we take things one day at a time.