Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It takes a village

Three weeks ago I jumped an amazing horse around his first CCI****!

Ballylaffin Bracken, better known as 'Rox', cruised through his first Rolex in style! My boy that I've had since he was a barely broke 4 yr old stallion blew me away on that 4star cross country track!!!
For me, this was an even bigger accomplishment being that Rox is the first horse I have personally produced from his first event through the 4star level!

There is an immense build up that happens leading up to a four star event. Hard to describe it in detail, but everything you do, think, eat, say etc is for Rolex, is for the horse you're riding at have to become completely consumed. Then comes Rolex week! Great fun, great friends, but hey! - you are running in a 4STAR!! So it is intense and feels like a whirlwind of a week. Then after all the excitement and adrenaline starts to settle, you find yourself sitting in your truck already on your drive home. It's madness! But we love it! 

This year, I hadn't really gone back home yet after our winter trip to Aiken, so I had been away for almost 4 months. Getting home was great, to see everyone, people and ponies, that I had been away from for some time. But it also brought a very strong sense of unsettlement.

In order to pursue certain dreams, you surround yourself with groups of close friends that are in that same position and understanding. I tend to enter into a slight state of 'numbness' after a big event such as a 4star. All the buildup and hype and then afterwards, I personally, feel like I crash a bit. Maybe it is why we give our horses time off as well, to mend and let down. I already knew this about myself and had planned 2 short weekend trips in the weeks after Rolex. Both times heading back to Aiken for a few days of down time and to visit a close friend. It was just what I needed!

At the 3 week post Rolex mark, both Rox and I seem ready to go again! He has needed every bit of that time to not be pampered and pestered over every detail. Let him be a horse and just graze! For the first time in the 8 1/2 yrs that I have had Rox, he finally has started to nicker to me when he sees me. I think he's smart enough to know that he just accomplished something pretty big and that we did it together.

So for the next few weeks, Rox and I will be just hacking and slowly returning to work. Still working on what our fall plans will be, but I'm sure I will be announcing that soon! Right now I am finalizing some additions to the exciting Ballylaffin Bracken Syndicate! Hope to be able to build a strong support team for Rox and future horses. Please contact me if you or someone you know may be interested in joining us on this adventure!

This spring leading up to Rolex just showed me even more so of how much of a team effort it takes to get to and complete a 4star. I am very lucky to have an incredible group of friends and supporters! Phillip Dutton whom I have trained with for many years now, has always gone above and beyond for me. He is a mentor and amazing trainer. He is the true strength behind Rox and I getting to and running well at Rolex! Robyn Ford came on to groom for me this winter and to get me through KY. She did an amazing job handling not only Rox, but her rider as well!! Can't thank her enough! I also think she turned Rox out beautifully, and she should have won the groom's award at Rolex by far! Melissa Boisvert and Janine Ordway kept the farm in NJ running smoothly for me while I was away competing, couldn't ask for better help! Melissa is a saint, she keeps the farm going and keeps clients very happy while I leave each winter, and she does it with the best attitude I've seen yet!
My mother and owner, Janet Geiler, again, I could not have accomplished this with out your support in many ways! Thank you!
There have been a team of vets that have truly helped us get to KY and their hard work shows when Rox trots up beautifully after running around a 4star! Dr. Kevin Keane has put in endless hours of care for Rox and I couldn't be more appreciative. Dr. John Peroni at UGA pulled some favors to get Rox in there with a moments notice and did a wonderful job helping me to get back on track to Rolex! Dr. Mitch Byrd of Aiken Equine has been a huge support and has helped keep Rox on his game leading up to Rolex as well! Having him travel to KY to support us means so much to me! He helped me stay on my game too!!
Our farriers, Sean Gaul, while in SC, and Bob Pethick in NJ, Thank you!!

A special thank you to all of my clients, family and friends for being so understanding of what it takes to get to a 4star and being my underlying support through it all, thank you!!

To all of my sponsors: County Saddlery, Five Star Tack, Tredstep Ireland, Equine Organix, HAYGAIN, Equine Matrix, Kedrah House Stud, Sporting Days Farm, and Running S., THANK YOU for all of your constant support!!