Horse husband extraordinaire and HJU guest blogger Brian Rutledge takes us behind the scenes and gives us an honest look at the life of an upper level rider’s partner.
Brian started out as a normal non-horsey guy, but after meeting Colleen, soon found himself mucking stalls and as they say, the rest is history…
Thanks for sharing your impressions, Brian!
Hi everyone! It’s Brian Rutledge checking in with you. I know I haven’t blogged in a while but it has been a little hectic at my job and haven’t had a lot of free time. So… a lot of stuff has happened since my last blog post.
Firstly, our 11 year old daughter, Cassie, did her first event on her super pony Davey (which I was really excited about). She did really well! She finished on her dressage score, without any jumping faults in show jumping or cross country! She ended up in 6th place, which I thought was awesome, since it was her first event. Cassie, being related to Colleen, wasn’t too happy about that 6th place… she wanted to win! She is very competitive like her mother. She now has officially caught the horse show bug and is bugging mommy about when her next event is.
Does everyone remember from my last blog how I said Colleen’s homebred Covert Rights was my favorite horse in the barn and how I thought he was going to be a star? Well, let me tell you, I could be right, because at seven years-old he went up to Jersey to do his first advanced competition and he won it. I was so excited! I’m not really sure how many horses win their first advanced but I am thinking not too many.
Also about a week ago, a new “training list” came out from the USET and as usual, Colleen wasn’t on it. We are sort of getting used to her being overlooked by now, so she is just continuing on. Maybe one day The Powers That Be will take notice, but who knows. There has been some talk online that Colleen doesn’t play “the game” right. What I mean by that is she doesn’t do the usual Upper Level Rider thing; like socialize with other top riders at events or go out on cross-country “Team” walks. Here is what I think from an outsider looking in at all this discussion.
Many upper level riders do not have kids that they bring to shows or if they do, they have someone to watch them. Colleen brings her children to every show because she wants them there to see what she is doing, which doesn’t really give her much time to “socialize” like people are saying. But what does socializing have anything to do with making a training list? This, I don’t understand. It should be all about your riding and how well you do; nothing else.
Colleen does have other ULR as friends that she talks to but when she is competing at a show, she’s all business. Colleen works her butt off for what she has and has brought most of her horses up through the levels. She hasn’t gone out and bought ready-made horses that are already going at higher levels. What I really wish that someone would do, like the team coach or selectors is call her and explain to her why she is not getting looked at and what she needs to do. But that will probably never happen. Again, I’m just an outsider looking in and not understanding the game.
Colleen has her next advanced run coming up in August so I will blog after that. Oh, one more thing for those that are wondering about Shiraz. Well, he is a dressage horse right now and that’s all he is going to be until next winter. He will start up jumping again in Aiken.