Repost, BTE 1 of 9: How I Won the Training Level AEC
Saturday has turned into my admin day, when I don’t have a Show Today post. Over time, I will be reposting the entries from my previous monthly blogs Back To Eventing and Back To Riding. You can catch ’em if you missed ’em the first time. I can include them in the Rodney’s Saga search space.
This one is where it all began. I sold the idea of a column following my purchase of a new horse and my return to eventing. HA! A slightly edited version appeared on the USEA website, Tue 2010-08-31 19:18, archived here.
Back to Eventing: How I Won the Training Level AECs
by Katherine Walcott
“If you build it, he will come.”
Lee Garlington as The Voice in Field of Dreams
The title is an overstatement since I am horseless. After 20 years of owning an Adult Jumper, I am going back to eventing. Just as soon as I find a horse to take me. The subtitle is one of those affirmation actualization statements the sport psych books endorse. That’s the goal. Let’s see how long it takes to realize and how the scenery looks along the way.
Our Story So Far
Once when I was admiring a new horse, I was told that the rider had looked for a year. My first thought was ‘How horrible.’ I was so right. Last September, we finished upgrading our fencing and began horse hunting. In the past 12 months, I’ve sat on almost two dozen horses, looked at an equal number, and seen hordes by picture and video.
The Ones That Got Away
Horse 1 – The Class Act: The first horse who had a chance of coming home with us was a young Danish/TB gelding. A true mix, his turning radius was somewhere between the roll-back of a Thoroughbred and the barge turn of a Warmblood. He was pretty, a good-mover, and alert to the fences without being insane.
The verdict: Too fancy. Given a few initial blue ribbons and nothing else to ride, I would succumb to the temptation to push him too fast. Plus, I kept crying. Shortly before we started looking, my 26-year-old retiree passed away suddenly. Whenever I thought about bringing a new horse home, out came the waterworks. A subtle clue that I wasn’t ready for a horse yet.
Horse 2 – The Rolex Horse. Candidate number two was a young, wide-built, 17+ hand OTTB. His conversation consisted of “Huh?” and “Okay!”. For a bank jump, I had to introduce the concept in very small words but then he happily hopped up and down. He had a look I see every year up in Kentucky during the jog. Hey, if sellers can tell me that a horse has Advanced potential after one abbreviated Novice-level cross-country school, I can make equally absurdist claims.
The verdict: Too strong. I lacked the nerves of steel to let him carry on at his own pace. I would always be pickin’ and fussin’.
Horse 3 – The Intriguing Problem: An youngish, black TB who had unfortunate behaviors that I felt could be addressed physically.
The verdict: Too complicated. I was more interested in the problem to be solved than the horse underneath.
The Bottom Line
I’ve built the field. Where’s the team?