Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Reflecting on 2011: A Year of Firsts

Over the last few months I have had a bit of time to reflect on the past year for KSE. While we had a slow start to the year, we ended up having a whirlwind of a finish!

Having both Joey and Rox sidelined early on in the spring season left me feeling a bit defeated because we had some really fun goals we were working hard for. Rox was going to move up to Advanced and I hoped to qualify for a 3-star and Joey was aimed at Badminton, a lifelong dream. Well, that didn't happen, but. . . (here comes the first of my 'firsts') it was the first time that I entered and was ACCEPTED at Badminton! I think that's pretty special chapter in my book!

Well, those boys came back with a vengeance and I gained some perspective on my career. I had felt, for lack of a better word, down about not getting to Badminton, so I needed to snap out of that funk and get going on some new plans! I thought, Well hey, let's aim Rox at the Pan American Games! So off to Rebecca Farm on a plane to do another 2-star we went!

From there our whirlwind season began! After Rebecca Farm it was announced that we made the short list for the Pan Ams. This was also another first for me, a feeling that was hard to describe - but it felt so good that I cried every time I called someone to tell them!

On to the Mandatory outing at Richland Park (another first, being invited to compete at the mandatory outing), and also Rox's FIRST advanced!

From there we were placed as an alternate for our US Team, (another first) and went on to participate in training sessions and were asked to travel down to Ocala to train with the team in a week-long training camp (another first).

We didn't get to compete at the Pan Ams, but all of these experiences have been priceless. I learned so much from my whirlwind 2011!

To end the year I had to quickly get back to NJ from FL and hop on a plane to take Joey and Rox to Cali to compete at Galway Downs, (another first)! Rox was very graciously given a Land Rover grant to compete at Galway, (another first), an event that also represented a very special event for me since it was Joey's 10th completion at an advanced 3-day. Four 4-stars and six 3-stars! Go Joey! And let's not forget that it was my first time qualifying a horse for the Olympics!

I capped it all off by teaching a clinic out in Hawaii: horses and the beach! What a happy ending!

Okay, take a breath. . . now it's back to work at home to get ready for 2012. Which brings me to our arrival in Aiken, back at our second home at Sporting Days Farm. With 11 horses this year it's going to be a busy season!

Rox is back to have a go at becoming an advanced horse. Joey is again aimed at Badminton! Ray is moving up to training after his big finish as Reserve Champion at the Young Event Horse finals with Phillip last fall.

We have the three young horses by Ricardo Z that were imported last summer. Two are for sale: Ricardo Time and Ricardo Million. The third, Ricardo Whistle and Pop, is owned by Beth Durden.

George is making a comeback too, possibly with a new rider. . . but you will have to wait and see who that is :)

Kidd, owned by Bonny Borden, is back enjoying the sunshine and sand in Aiken. Ria,a very special little mare owned by Carol Hill, gets to have her comeback this winter as well.

Two late editions to the KSE Aiken team are Sahara, owned by Melissa Boisvert, and my own Textile. Both will be for sale here in Aiken (check the website for details).

So I started this blog talking about all of the 'firsts' that happened in 2011 that I am grateful for, and I certainly am! But there's this inner voice in me that keeps saying that it also feels like being in second place. Which has given me the strength, knowledge and fire I needed to make this a year of ACTUAL FIRSTS - I'm talking the BLUE kind!!

Of course I can't do it without my fabulous team of sponsors: County Saddlery, Five Star Tack, HayGain, Equine Organix, Mushroom Matrix, Running S Equine, and Kedrah House Stud. Thank you all for helping and supporting our team!

Good luck and be safe!