Friday, September 10, 2010

Cross-Country Day!! By Kaylin Medlin

This is a late entry from me, sorry for that. Just got back to the hotel from the competitor's party. It was a lot of fun and it was great seeing everyone there.

Today was cross-country for me. Cross-country is my favorite part of eventing. I sometimes really wish I could just do cross-country and nothing else! Harley was great on course. He spent the morning napping and munching on hay, so when it was time to tack up and head down, he was really ready to go.

Warm-up was great, but today something happened that's never happened to me before. The rider ahead of me had a fall on course, (she and her pony are both OK) so I was held in the start box for a few minutes. I was trying to just concentrate on what I needed to do for my ride, but I could see where she fell and I was a little distracted by that. When it was finally time to go, I put that out of my mind. Once I cleared the fence where she fell, I was no longer thinking about it. I was just concentrating on what was ahead for Harley and I. I made sure to set him up right for each fence and kept a steady pace across the course.

Some people have asked me what it's like to ride a cross-country test. I'm not really sure how to describe it. It's like flying on your horse, but even better than that. Your adrenaline is really going, the scenery is flying past you and all you can hear is breathing from you and your horse. For that five minutes of time, nothing else matters in the world. It's just total freedom to run with your horse like that! I think that's why all eventers really love cross country - they enjoy the freedom.

After cross-country, Harley and I walked back to the barn. Cold hosing, a bucket of water to drink and leg wrapping done, I ran down to watch Rebecca Howard ride Rupie in their test. I thought they looked great! Rupie was a little excited to be coming down centerline and they put in a great showing. I really hope they make the Canadian WEG team! Go Team Canada!!!! (I'm an honorary Canadian for those of you that don't know!!!)

Once Rebecca was done I had a little bit of down time. My family and I went to the Land Rover off road test course and test drove the Land Rovers. It was really cool to ride on that course. Sometimes all you could see was sky! I want to have my own Land Rover someday just so I can drive off road.

A little bit of shopping at some of the vendors and a quick snack, I ran back to the barn to check on Harley and to see if I could help my trainer Susan Beebee with anything. I missed her dressage test on Prowler because I was taking care of Harley. She seemed pleased with their test though. She and Wolf put in a good round of stadium jumping today as well.

The competitor party was a lot of fun. The food was good, but the lines were really long. There was a live band and an auction. We didn't stay too long after we ate, but that's OK. I'm really tired and just want to take a shower and go to bed. Stadium jumping for me tomorrow, but I don't know what time yet. I never look to see where I stand in placings. I think it's more important to set goals for each competition and try to meet those goals. If you do that, then it doesn't matter where you place because you've already won. My only goal for the AECs this year was to complete. So far, so good. I hope to continue having success tomorrow.

All in all this has been a very good experience for me. I'm really enjoying my time here and I'm learning a lot just by watching other people. It's interesting to see how other riders set up their stall fronts, take care of their horses, clean tack, etc. You can really learn a lot by just watching and asking questions. I haven't found an upper level rider who minds answering a question for a kid like me. That makes me happy knowing I can always ask someone who's been where I am now, and get a good answer.

I'm off to bed now. I can't wait to see some of the Advanced riders out on their cross country courses tomorrow. The fences look amazing!!! Someday, Harley and I will be running the Advanced course here. I hope to be able to report to you all then as well.

Goodnight and good luck to all the competitors tomorrow!

~ Kaylin

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