Two weeks after the Mega Mageover, Britany seems to be again on her expertise on the Kentucky Horse Park. Her greatest takeaway? Group.
Two weeks later, as I’m processing the expertise that was the Mega Makeover, what I’ll bear in mind most is the neighborhood. So I’ll take this chance to name out some extraordinary folks and horses who embody what this competitors is all about. That is additionally simply the view from my small nook of the stabling, however I hope a very good illustration of the hearts and efforts of the five hundred+ unbelievable folks and horses that joined collectively in celebration of the Thoroughbred on the Kentucky Horse Park this yr, and the unbelievable workers and volunteers who supported it.
It’s not like any present I’ve ever been to. You’re not up in opposition to “made” horses, everyone seems to be in the identical boat and when a teen spooks or makes a mistake, it’s met with humor and understanding. We’re every there to help our horse, and everybody was there to help one another.
It was becoming that the primary particular person I bumped into that week was none aside from Meghan McNamara. She and I began to converse through Fb for two months beforehand, sharing notes and preparatory tidbits. As we pulled into the parking zone, my journey associate and good friend, Autumn Sorenson, factors towards the world and says, “Isn’t that your good friend?” (I’d already shared that Pied, Meghan’s horse, has a splash of roan throughout her left facet and he or she acknowledged her immediately.) No sooner had I hopped out of the truck and shouted Meghan’s title than she was leaping from Pied’s again and barreling at me for a hug. (I’ll word right here, that the week each started and ended the identical approach — extra on that later.) Suffice it to say that she was precisely what I anticipated, as have been the family and friends that got here along with her. All through the week, they’d take me below their wing and assist with a wide range of issues, from Meghan’s good friend Dianne, setting the tarp for my freestyle efficiency after which handing me a margarita whereas we waited for scores to be finalized after, to the household having me over for dinner and letting me do my laundry.
Autumn Sorenson, my aforementioned good friend, additionally made this journey a memorable one. Let’s begin with the truth that simply six weeks go she was nonetheless uncertain if she’d have the ability to go, as a result of her horse, Thistle, had spent the complete summer season rehabbing a bowed tendon. As soon as sure she was prepared, Autumn ran her at two trials simply earlier than leaving, confirming their partnership was strong as ever, and loaded her up on the rig for Kentucky. Good factor she did too — the 2 gave a stellar efficiency, placing them in 2nd in Discipline Hunters on the finish of the preliminaries, and due to this fact within the Finale. This was a inserting that the unassuming Autumn had by no means anticipated to be in, however particularly as a result of Thistle had solely simply come again to work. Such is the extraordinary nature of the Thoroughbred.
My very own spicy mare was additionally a power to be reckoned with. We competed within the single largest area of any self-discipline of the week — one in all 86 entries for the 2021 Dressage group — and Freestyle (*not* a dressage freestyle, however a singular division the place we may showcase our horse’s talents outdoors of the opposite 9 disciplines represented, which spanned the English varieties in addition to aggressive path, ranch work, barrel racing, and polo.). The creatives on this group opted for the whole lot from liberty work (my efficiency of alternative) to reining and jousting.
At 4, JC Itybityquikasakity was one of many youngest horses and going into it I knew we’d be up in opposition to professionals with horses each extra mature and additional alongside, however that’s the fascinating factor in regards to the Makeover… they’re judging on one’s future potential for sport and never essentially the completed product. There’s room for errors, and definitely for nerves. How refreshing!
On the Kentucky Horse Park the whole lot is on a grand scale, the biggest of which is the Rolex Stadium the place we carried out our dressage take a look at and demo (like a dressage freestyle with out music). Whereas we had schooled the day earlier than, Kittie was nonetheless a bundle of nerves strolling down the ramp into Rolex. Our hour-long warmup with my coach, Ashley Horowitz, shouting at me to “ship it!” (journey tremendous ahead), had labored wonders, however I nonetheless had a mildly tense OTTB, and that was okay.
As we left the world after our first take a look at, the decide, impressed by Kittie’s “forward-thinking,” chuckled and advised that possibly I had a future Eventer on my arms. That’s the plan! It was with these phrases that Ashley’s sage knowledge lastly landed.
I relaxed, and so did Kittie. She hit her groove as we entered the second ring for our demo 10 minutes later and danced with me. By no means have I had a lot enjoyable in a dressage ring! And our rating mirrored it — whereas our take a look at was good, our demo was one of many highest scores all day (solely 9 others reaching that rating or increased), and of that area of 86, we completed 18th general, and third positioned newbie.
The nerves would resurface for our Freestyle within the Lined Area — assume banners on each floor, a Jumbotron, and a great deal of folks — and Kittie went in along with her head on a swivel.
Feedback on our scorecard later revealed a decide who completely understood my teen: “powerful surroundings for a delicate horse.” Delicate certainly — about midway via, recognizing how nervous Kittie was, I finished, put my arms on her and took a deep breath. She did too, and like in Rolex the day earlier than, dropped her head and selected to stick with me for what remained of our liberty routine, together with floating a tarp off her again. We completed within the ribbons in ninth place, and once more positioned third newbie. Higher but, she was the very best positioned 2021 horse that had raced at Arapahoe Park, and so we got here away with that award too.
As for my associates, they completed remarkably effectively. Autumn and Thistle gave an attractive spherical within the 2020 Finale, ending 2nd general within the Discipline Hunters and 2nd positioned newbie, in addition to tying with Brit Vegas and Mr. Park for the 2020 Arapahoe Park award.
Again to my facet word earlier about our week ending a lot because it began…I obtained a textual content from Meghan shortly after she and Pied participated within the 2021 Finale Jogs for his or her prime 3 inserting for his or her preliminary Freestyle.
Pied didn’t cross the jog and so they wouldn’t compete within the finals. It was my flip to return operating for a hug. It’s devastating to return thus far and never have the ability to end, however Meghan took it in stride with grace. We later realized that the jog vet was blown away by how she dealt with the let down. I, then again, was not stunned in any respect. So far as Meghan was involved, Pied owed her nothing and had already achieved miracles. Not being allowed so as to add any finale factors to her rating, her third place was transmuted to a fifth, and he or she completed 2nd positioned newbie. She additionally completed eleventh in Ranch Work, and third positioned newbie in that division as effectively.
The glue via all of this was a beautiful couple who I occur to name associates, Ashley and Jonathan Horowitz. Ashley coached the riders talked about above, in some way operating between warmups, enjoying private videographer, and customarily maintaining our heads on straight.
Jonathan is an announcer at racetracks throughout the nation (even asserting Kittie’s singular win), and he and Ashley each announce on the Makeover and share unbelievable tales all through the week — the tales of horses and riders who shouldn’t have made it to the Makeover, however did, and of the expertise of horses who made thousands and thousands on the monitor, and people who didn’t, that go on to show that their expertise doesn’t finish there.
Now, as I shut out my remaining submit for this Horse Nation collection, I totally perceive the feelings I heard in the beginning of my inclusion into the Makeover neighborhood: THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING. Not only for these unbelievable horses, however for the friendships made, and the long run achievements that now appear that a lot nearer.
So it was with these ideas that we rolled out shortly after Autumn’s victory gallop — our horses having blown away any expectations we may have had — to get Autumn dwelling in time for opening hunt a brief 24 hours later.
After some well-deserved trip, Kittie and I shall be making a run for our USDF Bronze Medal, and finally hope to compete in higher degree eventing. For those who’d wish to observe alongside on our journey on the each day, observe our Fb web page.
Britany has been obsessive about horses from her earliest reminiscence. She’s ridden many disciplines through the years, together with western pleasure, barrel racing, 4H, and finally discovered her option to 3 Day Eventing. She was 17 years previous when she moved to a brand new barn the place Eventing was the first sport and thought her fellow barn mates have been loopy. 4 months later she was making an attempt it herself, and by no means regarded again.
She is an newbie rider in USEA’s Space IX, and is at present coaching her personal small-but-mighty four-year-old OTTB mare, Kittie (JC: Itybityquikasakity) who she plans to level in the direction of higher degree eventing.
Britany works as an Occasion Producer for Collaborative Acquire, a digital management community. In her spare time, she makes pure grooming merchandise for horses and pets, via her small enterprise, Elemental Grooming. She additionally snowboards, hikes, and customarily spends each doable second outdoors.
She lives in Denver along with her husband, Kyle, and their two canine, Kingston and Laird.