This year's NAJYRC's were held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY and let's just say it's an experience that I'll never forget!
All the area II girls had cute dresses to match for jogs unfortunantly that didn't really matter because it rained so hard that everyones dresses were clinging to them and it resulted in some interesting pictures to say the least, but all ponies were sound and perfect dispite the conditions. Later the team was named, Molly Curtiss to ride first, Colleen McKitrick second, Huxley Greer third, and finally Blazer and I.
Since we were the last to ride for Area II I had all day to get the grey horse clean. After a long morning of watching rides, bathing, braiding, and putting on Jenn's pretty shadbelly and tophat it was time to ride. In the warm up ring Lauren O'Brien was waiting calm and ready to help me keep it together before the test. Two riders out we walked down the ramp into the main arena and looked up at the scoreboard to see that the previous rider had recieved a 45.7. Seeing that made me focus and ask for that little bit more that I knew Blazer and I both had in us to put in a winning test. Other than our break in the medium trot Blazer was amazing! I couldn't stop smiling through the test. When it was all over and we did our final halt and salute the cheers from Area II and others were so loud the announcer had to ask the eventers to keep from scaring the dressage horses doing their test in the next ring. Walking out of the ring and looking up at the live scoring on the board I saw the 7's and 8's from all the judges but wasn't sure how the final score would come out, and then it was up, 45.7, tied for the lead after Dressage!
After walking the course three times, talking to Lauren O'Brien, and my trainer from home, Jenn Simmons, I was excited about the course. There was only one part that worried me and that was the bounce. I went out early that morning to watch the first few rides and everyone was going the direct route and it seemed to be working just fine which made me think maybe we could do it. With both the direct and alternate route in my head I headed back to get ready. In the warm up Blazer was right on his mark and did everything I asked, we even jumped through a bounce that Lauren made out of two verticles. Once he was all warmed up and greased up it was time to head to the start box. After the countdown it was time to show everything we had. Blazer flew around the first half of the course barely letting me get a half-halt in, everything was just right out of stride and seemless. 9-10-11, the bounce, came up pretty fast and Blazer had been going so perfect and strong I wasn't sure if I'd be able to make the circle to go the alternate route so there was no turning back and he bounce right through like the perfect pony he is. After that it was smooth sailing on home through the second half and we came through the finish after 7 minutes and 12 seconds on course and once again Area II could be heard by the whole Kentucky Horse Park.
After a night of icing and fluids and everything else we got up Sunday morning to jog. All the Area II horses passed and it was time to walk courses and watch the two star girls ride. The Area II two star team all put in amazing rounds and won the team silver! After the course was reset for the one star and we walked Blazer and I took our time getting ready and walked down to the warm up to meet Lauren. As the warm up ring thinned out after each rider went the excitment began to build and it was time to go in the ring. In the ring Blazer acted as if he hadn't just run around cross country the day before. We had a rail at fence 2 but we had room for error luckily and the rest of the course was perfect and we went home with two gold medals! :)
What an amazing weekend! Hearing the crowd cheer for our victory gallop with our cooler and our team and individual champion ribbons was the coolest feeling ever, words can't even describe what went through my head all weekend. I wouldn't have been able to experience any of it though without the help of everyone, my parents, my trainer of 6 years, Jenn Simmons, my dressage trainers, Libby and Jules Anderson, Area II Coaches David and Lauren O'Brien, Dr. John's from VEI, our grooms, Britta Holum, Tiffany Foster, and Retsy Holliday, the amazing Area II coordinators, Gwen Dean and Audrey Wiggins, and everyone else that helped me get where I am now, thank you!