Thursday, June 14, 2012

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus...

Call it what you want...karma, generosity, luck, blessings, sponsorship...I call it
A Dream come true.

From the time I started doing this sport I wanted to do something cool.  I dreamt like good little horse girls do of having a "big time" horse that would compete on the national stage. My friend Janet and I were really extreme, and played with our Breyer Horses of Might Tango, Jet Run and a dozen others, "taking them to horse shows,"  and we were even known to run on hands and knees and jump books to "practice"! (You know you did it too!)

 A lot has changed since then, (thank goodness cuz my knees really took a beating!)  I have been given the opportunity to ride so many spectacular and amazing horses in the dressage ring, but have not had the same luck in the event world.  It became apparent to me earlier this spring that while I know "Z" would jump anything for me, and try his heart out, Preliminary was probably going to be his topping out point. He is such a special guy and it breaks my heart, but I know that he is better off doing the job he loves at a bit lower level.  So, the search began. 

I think I looked at over 150 horses since February, and only a handful made the short list.  For one reason or another, something would fall through or not work out, and the roller coaster that is horse shopping continued on.   Then, in the most unexpected way I was given a game changer: some anonymous people offered to purchase me a competition horse for the purpose of competing in the upper levels.  I was stunned at such a generous gift!  It allowed me to pursue avenues that I would not have thought possible, and opened so many doors to finding a really special horse.  Working with Alex Robertson and Bastian Schroder I must have looked at hundreds of video clips of horses in Germany, and we vetted one that didn't work out.  They were so patient and really kept after it!  I happened to give another friend of mine, Courtney Cooper a call to keep her eye out for me as well, and lo and behold, she was making a trip to Ireland the following week to look at horses for herself.  She kindly offered to look around for me as well, and I didn't think too much of it until I got an email a few days later.

Some of you probably know Courtney or have heard of her and her husband Neal's place C Square Farm.  Let me tell you, Courtney is an amazing lady.  First off, she is a MASTER baker; I hope I get cookies this year.  We have had the pleasure of working with Courtney on several buying trips, and she helped  match us up with the lovely Zophie for Jessica.  She has seen me ride a fair bit, and knows what I like, so I had full faith in her judgement. 

When I got the call/email/video of two horses that she thought I might like, I couldn't get home fast enough to see the footage.  Right off the bat, I thought Clover Joe was a great jumper with a good walk and canter.  She sent video of her riding as well as the current owner, Steve Smith.  They kindly posted more video at my request, and after talking, and thinking, and talking, and talking, (Courtney is a saint) and getting more pictures, we decided to go for it and vet him!  I have never bought a horse without riding it before and never off a video, but I was confident that having Courtney ride him would tell me what I needed to know.  I knew that whatever I bought needed to be a very good jumping horse with quite a bit of Thoroughbred blood, and that it was ok if it needed a little help on the flat.  This horse was right up my alley.  He passed the vet, and a deal was struck! 

Now that everything is done, and arrangements are being made for his arrival from Ireland, its starting to sink in.  I randomly get goosebumps and teary eyed when thinking/ talking/blogging about this whole process.  It seems so surreal that people would do something of this magnitude for me.  I have so much still to learn, and that they would put their faith in me is well, I don't know what it is.  I am so completely touched that really I am speechless (not that you would know it from this book I just wrote). 

Thank you Courtney Cooper.

Thank you Anonymous Friends who made this all possible.

How do you thank Santa Claus? 

One Event at a time.