The US Dressage finals was a great experience for both the horses and me! I feel like it is definitely something I would do again, this was my third time qualifying so we decided no excuses were going! It was totally worth it! We learned so much on this trip, like how the horses travel and handle high-pressure situations like this, which I will be keeping in my pocket for use one day when we do CDIs!
The first days were tough, it took us a little to settle in and adjust to the atmosphere. There are a lot of good riders and high quality horses. The judging is tough and the classes are HUGE! I ended up not placing in the 3rd level AA on Addison and getting 7th on Romulus in the 1st level AA. The last day was my freestyles, and Romo was the first to go of the day at 8 AM and it was a cold morning! Despite the cold he felt great in the warm up, I feel like by this ride we were riding as we normally do. We had a few mistakes in our freestyle like an almost break into the medium and a flying change instead of a simple change ha-ha oops!
Over all it was a great, ride though! He was with me, engaged, forward, and with the mistakes we still pulled off a 72.556, held the lead through the rest of the 20 something riders in the class, and ended up champion!! Addison was up next in the HUGE indoor Alltech arena, we decided to switch out of the double and go back to the snaffle and she felt MUCH happier in the warm up that day. Walking into the Alltech it just feels like all eyes are on you, there are cameras and people sitting in the bleachers all around you and shopping overhead and you are the only one I the ring ha-ha! It is crazy! Addis ride I somehow got behind on our canter music but fixed it in the walk, we improved on the things that were not so great the day before and I really worked on my comments from the judges since 2 of them I saw for every ride and it really paid off. She was forward and listening to my aids and really had the best attitude that day, it worked out great for us we got a 70.011 for the champion spot! I am so proud of both horses they really tried their best and it is a lot to take in, and just being able to get there is an accomplishment!
The Kentucky Horse Park is a beautiful facility and it was ran so well! I highly recommend it to anyone who has a chance, to go! I was so lucky to have been able to enjoy this experience with my Mom, dad, boyfriend and sister I feel like I am very lucky to have such a supportive family and none of this would be possible without them! I was also so lucky to not only have my amazing family, but my trainer Greta Vowell and my barn family! It was so cool to have so much support from everyone there; we had team jackets that everyone was commenting on! In addition, I without a doubt had the loudest cheer squad! I also went live for the first time on Facebook and had a ton of people back home watching my rides, which was also amazing to have that support from friends back home and the BVD, RMDS and region 5 crew!! The whole experience was way more than I ever expected and every ribbon you receive you work HARD for, it is no easy task, but I loved every minute of it! I am still in shock from it all, and just very thankful for everyone who helped me along the way. When they say it takes a village it DOES and I have the best village!!!