Three and half years ago, when I first started blogging for HJU, I heard through the grapevine that someone had said, “Why would HJU want her? She’s not a real equestrian.”

It didn’t really bother me because I had real horse shit on my boots, and real horse hair on my breeches and I was looking at a very real horse. But I wasn’t riding her because she had a bowed tendon in her left front. And then she healed and I mounted up, and I had a real horse under me and I had real reins in my hands. And then I had a real fall one day, and I had progress and set-backs, and the best time ever. I learned and I grew, and I met some really great friends through HJU that pushed when needed, and gave virtual hugs too. And it helped me every step of the way as I went from seasoned show mom to now riding in my first show this weekend.

My Goofy Pippi

My Goofy Pippi

After three years we are heading out to test our skills. Finally facing a judge and getting our first real scores. Did a “Fix-A-Ride” show two years ago, but this time there are no do-overs or feedback from the judge. It’s a schooling show, and we are ready and I could not be more stoked. The plan is to do all the Intro classes, and hope that we can go into the new year as a Training level team. One of my friends said I could probably skip Intro A and B, but I don’t want to skip a thing. Pippi and I are in no rush, and I want to do each and every test as we climb the levels. Plus since this is our first show it is nice to know that we can do this without a doubt. Not that we will be the highest scoring debut ever, but we are ready.

So thank you Horse Junkies, the team and all the readers. Thank you for making me feel like one of you. Thank you for cheering and offering advice, for the friendship, for the team feeling in an individual sport, and for never attempting to make me feel as though I am not a “real equestrian.” Thank you ladies at Rolex 2014 who asked me about Pippi as Boyd Martin stood behind me. Having other riders read my blog never feels like pressure, because I think of it as telling my friends about my progress. As usual I take HJU with me this weekend, and I hope to make you proud. But thank you for the gift of knowing  that if we bomb, you will cheer me and help me come back stronger another day. Horse Junkies are United after all….