Now that “Chapter 1: The Junior Years” is officially over, it’s time to start the next chapter in my life and riding career.
Last you heard from me, I finished my last show as a junior after a very successful weekend competing with Don Stewart. While I didn’t qualify for the Medal or the Maclay, I did receive an offer from Don which was too good to refuse. In September, he invited me down to Jacksonville to work for him at the Zone 4 Maclay Regionals. So, on September 8th, I drove down to Ocala to help pack for the show.
The week passed in a blur of hacking horses, cleaning tack, running errands, helping the grooms, and setting jumps. I rode as many as ten horses per day, learned a lot of Spanish, and met some very exciting people. It was a wonderful experience to see how the business side of a big show barn actually operates. The week finished with Ashton Alexander, one of Don’s students, winning the Regionals, and a number of his other riders placing very well.
I came home the next Monday four pounds lighter and exhausted. But, in spite of my sore muscles, blistered hands, and empty stomach, I couldn’t help but to be thrilled with how well it went.
After a few months of discussion, during which I had to take a month off from riding due to being ill, I am excited to announce that Don has offered me a job over the winter circuit. I will be heading down to Ocala just after New Years and traveling between Ocala and Wellington with Don’s team.
I can’t help but to feel blessed and indebted to those who have supported me. Chapter 1 may not have ended how I hoped, but I never imagined Chapter 2 would be starting this well. As I’ve said before, this is just the beginning.