Capital Challenge Week!

On a completely unrelated topic to the Capital Challenge, I’d like to add to my previous blog on Reed Kessler and her announcement to remain in Germany and train over there. Everyone has an opinion, don’t they? Because she’s young and a public figure of our sport, we all get a say, don’t we? No. No, we don’t. Reed is 19. She has a rare talent that the majority of us can only dream of. And sometimes, in order for our talent and ability to grow, we need to move on to new trainers and new perspective of what we want to achieve. So good for you, Reed. I can only hope that the Prudents are being as cordial as the articles make it seem. And so what if this is a wrong choice? All you can do is learn from it and make it better. So kudos to you for being so brave and I hope it serves you well.

Capital Challenge takes to another phenom of our sport — Victoria Colvin. She won the equitation final on her jumper/eq mount, VIP Z. Congratulations, young one. Again, you are another so many of us can only dream about having a 1/16th of your talent. I did not watch her trips, as I am not a huge fan of the eq finals. I find in an effort to be the “prettiest” rider, a lot of youngsters think you need expensive horses, expensive extras, and big names to do anything of merit. I also can’t stand watch rider after rider sit down on their horse’s backs over the jump even before their front feet touch the ground. I miss quite a few of the older eq riders. I hope things change.

I also feel that with the Capital Challenge, comes a lot of riders and trainers we don’t typically see because of all the future classes. Which leads to not some of the greatest trips for a multitude of reasons, and the only classes worth watching are the indoor classes with the usual names and the horses we’ve seen most of the year. Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m glad the opportunity is there for these up and comers. But if I’ve said it once, I will say it until I am dead on the floor — money can buy a lot of things, including the quietest, most talented horse, the most amazingly talented trainer and pro rides until the end of time. But it cannot buy YOU talent or the ability to see the difference between someone blowing smoke up your ass because they want your money and someone who has an actual clue about horses, training, and how to get the best out of both you and your horse. Just because you can afford to chase points to qualify for the big shows, does not mean you really deserve to be there. And my heart breaks quite often when I see someone with indescribable talent, who doesn’t believe in themselves and doesn’t think they are worth the time to be seen by a big name who can recognize their talent from the first second a foot goes into a stirrup. This is one of my biggest issues with our sport. But, take it or leave it, and no matter how hard I’ve tried, I cannot leave it. So I’m forced to take it.

Victoria Colvin is the phenom on the other end of the spectrum, when compared to Reed Kessler. And I think a lot of people compare the two and so many prefer a rags to riches story over a riches to riches story. Sheer luck and parents who love horses seem to be how Victoria Colvin was found and had so many doors opened for her. I love watching her ride. I love watching her float her reins 5 strides out and how she stays out of her horse’s way unless something needs adjusting. And to an everyday Joe, those adjustments aren’t obvious. She is a beautiful rider, she respects the animals she spends so much of her time with, and she appears ever so grateful for those who give her the chance to shine.

I watched her last year at Devon, on Memorial day when she was showing one of her horses in the pro divisions. And I don’t mean in the ring. I mean, I did watch her in the ring, but we were lucky enough to have a box that day, so I was able to see the schooling ring. Filled with horses, grooms, trainers, assistants, wanna-bes, and fans. When Tori got off her horse after their trip, she not only loosened her own girth, but she helped her groom put on his scrim sheet. She thanked him for his help and talked with him for several minutes afterwards. They laughed, and appeared as if they genuinely knew one another. She didn’t go off with Scott Stewart or any of the other big name people. She stayed with the groom. She then went with her mom somewhere. The only reason I knew it was her mother besides the striking resemblance, was that she had sat in front of us during Tori’s trip. And like any anxious show mom would do, she watched with her fists gripped and on the edge of her seat, and cheered the loudest when their round was done. I have no doubt that Victoria Colvin has friends her age, who come from money, who she shows with and rides with, and gets to be a kid with. But the kindness and refreshing friendliness she had with her groom is what I feel is going to keep her going far in this world, whether it’s horses or something else. She rides the same way, and that is what separates her from the rest. At least that’s what I see when I watch her ride. And I’m sure every time I get to do that, I sit with my mouth wide open with my chin in my hands, in awe of the talent that fills the entire ring. I wish there more people like her in the world, not just in our horse world. Compassion is a lost art, and very few understand how it works.

Oh, and I’m absolutely in love with Way Cool. I have a thing for big chestnut geldings, so while Jersey Boy is #1, Way Cool is high on my list.

So my love of indoors probably won’t start to get obsessive until Harrisburg. I love PNH. It’s ranks closely behind Devon. So good luck to all showing this week!

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