Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jennifer's Rolex Adventure - Goodbye Rolex, Hello Reality

Well, I’ve been putting off writing this because then it means that Rolex really truly is over and I have to return to the real world full time.  Rolex this year was such an amazing time.  Thank you Ecogold for making this year so great.  I got to meet so many people, finally being able to see and talk to Patricia in person after conversing with her for weeks on facebook.  Meeting my fellow ammie bloggers, you guys are great and I’m looking forward to keeping up on your adventures throughout the year.  The people I met randomly out on course or in the grandstands.  I didn’t catch you name, but thank you to the very nice gentleman at the sunken road on cross country who let me sneak into the media only section with him.  I got some great photos of Hannah because of that.  The super nice Nan from, she was so interesting to talk to.  And I can’t wait to try the Flair strips on my horse; I’ll let you know how it works for her.   All the riders who took time out of their very busy weekend for us.  Emma Ford, who was probably busier than anyone keeping Phillip’s horses looking and feeling their best, thank you for taking a few minutes to talk to us.  Every single one of you made this weekend special for me. 

It was also the best learning experience for me.  And not just the obvious things like how to ride that combination or such.  But learning about true horsemanship.  Diana Burnett, making the decision to withdraw Manny when he didn’t feel quite right.  That had to be such a difficult thing to do after working so hard to get there.  But it was the right thing to do for Manny and I applaud her for that.  The poise and confidence of Mary King.  Going into show jumping sitting in both 1st and 2nd place had to have been nerve-wracking for her.  She didn’t let it show though.  She looked cool as could be. 

And Sinead Halpin, she is my new hero after this weekend.  I want to be her!  Something she said during her Q&A Sunday morning has really stuck with me.  She was talking about getting to the horse park and during the first part of the week she was pushing Tate to get to the next level, for everything to be perfect.  And Tate wasn’t too happy with that.  But then on Thursday she had the chance to take him to the ring and she said everyone else was practicing the movements but she was just riding around (in her own words) like a 12 year old girl.  Telling Tate, “Just be happy.  I want you to be happy.”  That’s what I want to strive for.  I find myself doing that so often when I get in the dressage ring.  I focus so much on wanting everything to be perfect, that I forget we have a much better ride when we are just relaxed and happy.  That’s going to be my new mantra when I go to shows: Just be happy. 

As great as it was to see Mary make history at Rolex, I think the highlight of the weekend for me was watching Sinead after her double clear show jumping round.  As she and Tate canter around the ring, Sinead trying not to cry, I found myself wiping tears away.  It was getting a little hard to hold the camera steady.  She has worked so hard to get here and it paid off in a big way.  To finish in 3rd place in her first 4*, that’s just amazing.  It’s the stuff of dreams.  To be standing in the company of Mary King and William Fox-Pitt and knowing that you deserve to be there, it had to have been such an incredible feeling.  I was proud to have been there to witness it.  And feel, just the tiniest bit, a part of it.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Sinead, I’m sure it’s going to be great.

Sinead Halpin wiping off the tears
Once again thank you to Patricia and Ecogold.  It was an unforgettable experience for me.  And I hope we can do something like this again next year.  Only I’ll make sure I get a hotel with better internet access.  Tracy, we’ll have to work on that together.  Congratulations to everyone who competed.  You all are an inspiration to me.  Now it’s time for my show season to start and I’ve got a lot to live up to.

A victorious Mary King

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