I can’t believe the winter season has already come to an end. It’s been an unbelievable last couple of months!
At the beginning of February, Jos Bravio, Baral Triumph, RR Simple, Bacana, my supergroom, Molly, with her horse Volu, and I made our way to Florida. We were fortunate enough to spend three months there training and competing with Buck Davidson. He has been an incredible mentor for me and my horses and I have learned so much from him. In addition to my horses, my clients Stacy Hougland and Samantha Brown were able to come join me for some fun in the sun with their horses Maria and Z (owned by Jessica
Maranto). They had the opportunity to school cross country, compete, and enjoyed some time out of the frozen tundra of Colorado.
Our first show of the year was Ocala Winter I in mid-February. Jos Bravio, owned by Carol Mavrakis and myself, competed in the Open Intermediate where we placed 2nd. We had one of our best dressage tests to date, a great XC run, and a double clear show jumping round. Baral Triumph, owned by Stacy Hougland and myself, and RR Simple, owned by the RR Simple Syndicate, both competed in the Open Training and were incredible, placing 3rd and 4th respectively. My little mare Bacana, owned by Carol Mavrakis and me, was more than ready to show off her skills and placed 6th in a competitive Novice class. It was a fantastic weekend and such a great start to the season!
Next up was Rocking Horse Winter III where Jos Bravio and I competed in the Open Intermediate. He tapped into a whole new gear and we ended up taking 1st place. We had a lovely dressage test, a double clear show jumping round, and he felt like an absolute pro out on XC. Baral Triumph started with a 25.2 dressage score and stayed in first place throughout the entire weekend, winning his Training division. I am beyond amazed by this horse and how much he has improved over the last year! RR Simple and I had a small error on XC, but otherwise he felt phenomenal and was such a professional in each phase. Bacana was not about to let her brothers outshine her and had lots of fun showing off, running fast, and jumping big.
Later in March, Ocala Winter II had its highs and lows. Jos Bravio felt great in the Advanced; RR Simple had a stellar dressage test and continued on that streak to finish 3rd in Training; and Baral Triumph was incredible once again and stayed in 1st place throughout the weekend. Unfortunately on one of the evenings of this show, Bacana colicked and had to be transported to the equine hospital, where we ended up losing her in the early morning.
It was an incredibly unexpected and difficult loss. This little mare was truly something special and she blew me away every day with her talent and confidence. Our time together was far too short and she is and will continue to be dearly missed.
Although difficult to keep moving forward after the loss of Bacana, I knew Jos Bravio, Baral Triumph, and RR Simple all had lots more to prove during our stay in Florida. At the end of March, we continued on and competed at TerraNova. Jos Bravio and I competed in our first 4*-S of the year there and he felt incredible. We had a couple bobbles here and there, but overall he was great and we were both excited to be back at the 4* level. Baral Triumph and RR Simple had another great weekend competing at the Training level and were so impressive as they handled a new and exciting environment. Baral Triumph and RR Simple ended their stay in Florida after that and went home to enjoy a nice vacation.
After a few weeks of fine tuning in Florida, Jos Bravio and I made our way to Kentucky for the 4* at the Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event. Being at the Kentucky Horse Park, in the company of the best of the best in this sport, and having the privilege of being one of the competitors there was like nothing I have ever experienced before. It was a dream come true to say the least! Jos Bravio had a great dressage test and although not everything went to plan on XC, he still tried his heart out and gave it his all. We can officially say we have completed the LRK3DE XC course! Unfortunately, Jos Bravio did not quite feel 100% on show jump day so we decided to withdraw just to be safe. It was not the decision I was wanting to make, but it was the right decision for my wonderful partner. A HUGE thank you to my vet Chelsea Luedke who made the trip to Kentucky to be there for Jos Bravio and me and to all of my clients, sponsors, owners, friends, and family who came to Kentucky to cheer me on and who rooted for me from afar. I’m so incredibly overwhelmed by all the love and support! I know some day very soon we will be back to complete the whole thing and will make you all proud!!!
While the horses take a well-deserved vacation, I am looking forward to getting back home to teach and take my clients to local shows around Colorado. I’m excited to get back to in-person training with my show jumping coach Mariano Bedoya and my dressage coach Sue Martin, preparing for an exciting rest of the year with my horses. Their guidance and advice throughout my time in Florida and beyond has been invaluable.
I am so thankful and grateful for my husband Jeff and his endless support, always being so wonderful while dealing with my crazy schedule of traveling and competing. Thank you to my owners for their support and letting me ride their most incredible horses – none of this would be possible without them. Thank you to my clients for all of the love, support, and encouragement. Thank you to my team at home for being so amazing and always keeping things running smoothly back at the farm. Thank you to my super-groom Molly who cares with her whole heart and keeps the horses and me safe and looking our best. And finally, thank you to my sponsors who have been so supportive and who let me be a very proud representative of their brands.
I hope you all know how much it means to me that you are a part of the Aspire Eventing Team. I am so lucky!
Cheers to a great summer ahead and lots of amazing moments to come!