Wednesday, September 8, 2010

AEC's OR Bust by Sinead Halpin

So we are on the road!! GPS says we will be arriving at midnight. I hear there have been line-ups at the AEC's venue for up to an hour with trucks and trailers! At midnight, hopefully, there will be less of a crowd. Doug and Holly Payne, Zeppo (my dog), Bacon (Doug’s dog) are all nice and cozy in the truck and with Doug being the driver the most important thing to get our trip started was FOOD! So a slight detour to get bacon, egg and cheese bagels to add to our stash of food that Randy Clover made (Cindy and Randy own Rocket, a lovely horse I have competed a bit this year) we will most likely be a fair bit heavier when we arrive in GA.

I kinda feel like making a sign and putting it in the window that says AEC's, or bust! I'm not sure if it’s because it’s a WEG year, or such a huge display of eventing die-hards at one new fabulous venue, but I have a really excited feeling in my stomach. This is gonna be a "Big Event" on so may levels. As a professional rider, sometimes we get so busy running up and down the countryside eventing every weekend we forget that feeling we maybe had when we went to our first three-day, or when you couldn't sleep because you were excited/nervous about the event the next day. I am kinda getting that feeling now. I'm excited about competing my horse, but I also feel like eventing as a whole is coming together to do some amazing things. The Professional Riders Organization is making huge strides in helping our sport to progress, not only by bringing in money and sponsors, which brings in new people that in turn allows our sport to grow at every level. But PRO is also working on a lot of new ideas. PRO is making a point to have the upper level riders give back by giving free course walks, organizing clinics, and lecture demos that all will really help educate outside spectators and participants in our discipline that might not have access to top professionals. We are having several meetings at AEC’s to continue our progress in these areas. We also want to reach out to some new amateurs and young riders to bring in fresh ideas.

This is also a final selection trial for the US and Canada for WEG, which only adds to the excitement! Just think about the fact that some kids in the BN and Novice divisions will hopefully be inspired by watching the greats this weekend. Those same kids in the future could be here filling the shoes of their idols. Gina Miles got inspired to ride by watching eventing when the Olympic Games was held in Los Angeles! This weekend is also when the selectors will choose which developing riders will get grants to compete in Holland at the Boekelo CCI *** in October. My goal this weekend is to get one of those grants. So all in all a very exciting weekend! Stay tuned !!

P.S. Holly was just snoring in the back with the dogs, but she has just popped up to look at baby (her horse Madeline) in the camera just in time to see her stealing all Tate’s hay!!!


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