Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Golightly "Show Team" of 2010

I love when lesson barns talk about their "show team" - I guess I've never understood the word because I can't remember a time when I didn't consider myself a competitor, but I've never been on a "show team." Pony Club teams, Young Rider teams - yep, done those. But never a "show team." When people find out I have a horse, 9 times out of 10 the next question is - "do you compete?" (the 10th question is, "oh, do you get to see him on the weekends?"). Being who I am, I sort of laugh every time I get the "do you compete" question because for me, the conversation feels as ridiculous as:
"oh, you have a basketball! Do you dribble it and shoot hoops?"
"No, I just pet it every few months."

Any number of 100,001 reasons can get in the way of your competitive ambitions - injury, money, weather... but a competitor is always a competitor, even if you're sidelined for a year or more. The thrill of testing your training and your bond with your horse just gets inside you! So, even though they don't have "show team" jackets - this blog is a tribute to 3 special ladies who I'll call "The Golightly Show Team"!

Adrianne, Debi, and Kerry are textbook amateurs. They balance their training and competitive ambitions with full time jobs, homes, husbands, families, pets, budgets, and other life priorities. And in the midst of all that, they have had an incredibly successful 2010 - I've documented many of their victories (and not-so victorious moments!) in this blog over the year, but partially as reflection and partially as inspiration, let me hi-light why I'm so proud to be seen with these ladies at their events! They are developing into solid riders and horsewomen - displaying confidence and skill in and out of the saddle - and when it comes to the scoreboard, these are three names to take notice of!

Adrianne & Tori

I first met Adrianne about 3 years ago. She thought she might like to try competing her horse, Tori - and eventing had caught her eye. I had the good fortune of being recommended to her as a potential instructor/coach and we hit it off immediately. Adrianne broke Tori herself. I'm impressed already. She's broken a lot of horses for anyone who had a spare unbroken horse on hand (really impressed now). Tori was to be her first chance at taking the next step into more advanced training and competing. And this year, things have really started to come together. Adrianne survived her first two "big name" clinics in 2010 - Tori's not sure she survived intact - she's still offended from Boyd Martin calling her a mongrel for trying to stop. Cause and effect, Tori. Cause and effect. We have to remind her of that sometimes! In 2010, they also completed their first 2 USEA horse trials (BN) and ended the season with a move up and win at a Novice unrecognized event!

Debi & Roxanne

About 2 years ago, Debi moved to Maryland from Texas, among other reasons, so she could event without the long distance travel to events. She had already done some eventing in Texas when I started coaching her, but Debi and Roxanne had a routine - Roxanne bolted at the jumps, ducked out in the last stride, and launched Debi at the jump. Over and over again. Watching helpless from across the field at competitions, this was not an ideal training situation. So Debi graciously let some of her immediate competitive goals go so that we could really buckle down at home. And what a difference it has made! I don't think I've seen Roxanne bolt at a single jump in 2010, and Debi's only fall this year came between fences when Roxanne momentarily lost her crackers (too bad it was at their first recognized USEA event - timing is everything). And to end her season, Debi took home the blue ribbon at only her second USEA event - BN at Marlborough HT! With her new boarding facility, Equidistance Horse Center, Debi has a busy 2011 ahead of her - adding business partner to all her other amateur-rider life roles!

Kerry & Atticus

If the Golightly Show Team was giving out year-end awards, Kerry would go home with a bunch. Lets start with the "Most Improved Award." I've been helping Kerry for less than a year. She bought Atticus about 6 months before we met, and she was an eventer at heart living in a hunter world. Kerry is a born athlete; she has the big-time soccer injuries to prove it. When her soccer career ended, she looked back to her childhood love of riding as maybe something that her lingering injuries could survive. Some days are harder than others, but it has been an absolutely wonderful experience to watch her develop and flourish in her riding. Sometimes I think we're dangerous together - we might be a little too focused and motivated! But we laugh too, and we have the funniest horses in the world! So it's all good. I took Kerry and Atticus to jump their first XC fences in April. It was a very crooked, but generally positive experience. Straightness hadn't quite entered Atticus' training pyramid yet - and what's not there in dressage won't miraculously appear on XC! Over the months, forward straightness has been inching its way into their skill set. And in November, they moved up to BN at their 2nd unrecognized event and finished in 2nd! Not too shabby!

Kerry also wins the "Golightly #1 Groom Award." For my own mental sanity (not to mention safety issues, needing potty breaks, etc. etc.), I always take someone with me to groom at my horse trials. I try to make it a learning experience for them, so that they learn how I do things; how recognized events run; what courses at various events look like; how different warm-ups work for different horses; studs; ice boots... In exchange for the mental sanity they provide, I offer a "free service" in exchange - lesson, horse ride, trailering someplace... Kerry embraced the offer and accompanied me to almost every one of my events this year. She's become an expert videographer and follows the groom checklist precisely to keep me on-time and on-task. Almost all my students have taken advantage of the "will groom for lesson" trade program at least once, but it has been a tremendous relief to me to know that I can always count on Kerry to bend over backwards to be there for me and put up with my competition crap (and Katchi's too)!

So, there you have it, the 2010 Golightly Show Team! What we lack in quantity, we certainly make up in quality! Hopefully a few of my other students will be added to the 2011 Show Team roster, but as I said before, any number of 100,001 reasons may damper those plans. Bit by bit, we'll all keep working towards our goals - no matter how big or small!

Next up: Katchi's 2010 - the good, bad, ugly, and ridiculous!

Happy New Year Y'all! See ya in 2011!


  1. Sounds like a great group to be at a horse trial with. I haven't competed in years but I consider myself a competitor. My riding and training is all about the skills to compete well. Otherwise I could just trail ride...or knit.

  2. Oh Barbara - not the knitting! :) You can be an honorary "Golightly Show Team" member any time you want!!!

  3. Adrianne, Debi, and Kerry are lucky girls! It has been fun to follow their success this year; I am sure they love being part of your "show team"! You've got a great thing going here at Golightly :) Here's to a achieving goals in the new year!