On Sunday, I spent the day at Lane’s End Horse Trials here in Ontario. Not only do they have beautiful cross country courses, they put on an excellent event as a whole. And they have some of the best food going. The volunteers rock – THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS!!! – they have music playing over the loud speakers all day – which I personally like – and the atmosphere at that event is second to none.
Since I am not competing this summer, I find my role at Horse Trials to be anything and everything from groom to horse holder, to xc course walker, to telling people to remember to breathe, to running around getting riders’ numbers and information packages, to chef – and by chef I mean sandwiches, apples and granola bars…oh oh oh and Ritz Bitz Cheese sandwiches…I mean, is there anything better??!!… – to overall supporter. And I love it!
I found myself with a little bit of downtime in between my riders on Sunday and decided to park myself by the water complex. The Training riders were going through when I first got there and I was also able to catch the Prelim riders. The Training question consisted of a jump over a big log, 4 strides on a slight bend to the right, over another log and into the water, through the water and then 4 strides out to a big brush corner. It was a very challenging, but appropriate, Training level question for the time of year.
Anyways, a rider went through the water beautifully, but took out the left flag on the corner. A woman who was standing beside me leans over and went ‘Do you know the rules?” My response to her was “Enough to get by” and her question had to do with whether or not taking out the flag resulted in a penalty. Thankfully, I knew the answer to that question in this specific instance: Because the horse jumped in-between the flags, the answer was no. (Our TD to Be, Cheryl is probably cringing at my lack of detail in my response…sorry Cheryl.)
Anyways, as it turns out, the woman (and I didn’t catch her name!!) and her husband just purchased a horse from Jessica Phoenix. Said horse goes by the name of Ex-Boyfriend. They were so excited to be watching at Lane’s End and learning more about Eventing that their enthusiasm was contagious. Turns out I was right about the water being challenging as a lot of the riders were having difficulty getting through on the first attempt. With each failed attempt, the 20 or 30 or so people watching at the water would all collectively hold their breaths. Then with each successful re-negotiation, all 20 or 30ish of us would let out a huge cheer. The looks on the riders faces was fantastic when they heard that cheer.
They were beaming!!!
Then, something awesome happened.
Ex-Boyfriend’s mother turned to me at one point after a rider got her horse over the second log (after 2 prior refusals) and said “Don’t you just feel it right along with them?”
Yes, Ex-Boyfriend’s mom, yes I do.
THAT is what makes eventing awesome. The fact that spectators, regardless of if they have the first clue about eventing or not, feel and ride each and every stride along with the riders galloping by in front of them.
If anyone out there knows the people who bought Ex-Boyfriend from Jessica, can you please tell them I think they are both lovely individuals, I wished there were more people like them out there and I hope to see them again!?
So, HJU, let me ask you this: what other stories of support awesomeness can you share?