Sunday, August 17, 2008

Good Friends never let you down

Hello all!
Thought it may be a good time to write since I have had a hiatus from writing these blogs. In comparison to most of the world I have been actively watching the Olympics, staying awake until the wee hours of the morning, as well as desperately falling in love with the great Michael Phelps! In contrast to most of the world, I have felt extremely disappointed, saddened to have been to close to attaining a life-long goal at the age of 24, only to fall short and worst of all, lose my life-long partner, Frodo Baggins. My mom recently told me(she read this in an email) that, "you should never look at life through your rear view mirror; rather, life should be viewed through the huge front windshield." This, held a lot of merit as I thought about it more and more. As I watched our team take on the xc at Beas River I began coaching them (which didn't seem to work, probably because of the time change) and reminiscing over my experience with the course and how many of the same problems the horses and riders were facing, both Buck and I noticed after crossing the finish lines. However, I was mostly glad to hear that the xc day was a positive day for the sport, with no injuries incurred by either horse or rider despite a few harrowing falls. Now as I type I look on to London. I will now center my focuses on my now two top mounts, Anthony Patch and Seajack, in hopes to find in them what I have had the honor of experiencing by riding horses like Eight Saint James Place, Frodo Baggins, and Mazetto. I cannot feign my disappointment in not having the chance to compete for my country, however I can rest assured knowing that I was given the chance to compete at the exquisite Hong Kong Olympic venue and know that because of my youth and determination, more Olympics are in store for, the hard part of filtering through the horses (figuring out who has the heart, talent, soundness, and mental stability) to achieve that level is the next phase. However, this is my FAVORITE part as I really haven't once been let down by any of my ponies; and if I find they do not want to partake in the rigors eventing has to offer, I will happily move them on to a barn that will fulfill their needs and how my mother always puts it," where they can be a star in someone else's barn." I just don't see that happening...
The next topic of focus is my fall eventing schedule. After speaking with my coach we both came to the conclusion (honestly it was Buck more than I that was persistent) that I would start at Seneca Valley, at the training level. I originally entered Alex, but after some thought, switched horses and now Seajack will start off the season at Training. At the end of September I plan to take both of my boys to Middleburg horse trials at the preliminary level. That is as far as I have planned. It has been very hard for me to NOT have a goal to strive for in each season...sometimes I feel as if I am being left behind...however, I know that taking this extra time to come back to the sport will only help rather than hinder.
Finally, I must express my gratitude to a few very special people. Last night, my top student (who happens to support the sport of eventing but only compete in straight dressage) Celia Rafalko had a "Welcome back to the Saddle" dinner party in my honor. My adoring mother, Lynn Cruser, Anne Mary Bettenson of my supportive sponsor County Saddlery, Celia, and her husband Rick were in attendance. My dear friend Jessica Bowen was supposed to come but sadly had to cancel last minute as she fell ill. Not only was the dinner extremely appetizing but the company really made me feel supported and loved. I can't express the gratitude I felt as all of these people drove out of their way to show their support for me, my horses, and our dreams. Then the surprise came...Apparently, unbeknowenst to me, my sponsors, County Saddlery had a portrait made of my beloved Frodo. As Celia unveiled the portrait, I could no longer hold in my emotions. Never in my life have I seen a more beautiful and lifelike portrait of my Frody. God blessed Frankie Pardoe's hands as she spent days and hours trying to capture the magnificence of the great and gentle Frodo Baggins. As soon as I saw the artwork, Anne Mary dialed Frankie's number (mind you, this was all extremely well-planned and executed) as I told her how much I appreciated her taking on such a difficult task of capturing something that epitomized perfection and Frodo Baggins. I just couldn't get over the fact that all of these people were here for me, to support me, to assure me that they want me to carry on and continue to succeed, and most importantly, all of these people BELIEVE in me. I was clearly overcome with emotion. I am now trying to find the perfect place to mount my Frodo...somewhere where he can watch over me at all times and keep me safe from harm as he always has. This will be a difficult task...
So now it's time for me to head back to my daily viewing of the Olympics. One day I too strive to be the like Michael Phelps and attain greatness in my sport. There really is no definition of greatness but if you had to capture it's essence in a few words, his name would be on the tips of most everyone's tongues...he is certainly added to my list of inspirations. Thank you all for being so supportive of me through this time. Come Sept, Crow's Ear Farm will be back in action...until then, heels down, elbows in, and push forward.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Support From A Friend

Dear Laine:

I just wanted to let you know not that everyone in the horse world is placing blame on you for the misfortune at Rolex nor the push for increased safety of eventing competitions.

Although I have never competed anywhere near the level that you do, nor have the guts to do so, many of the things I have read regarding the accident I do not feel are very factual of the event. I was standing a few yards away on the far side of that jump and witnessed the terrible fall and it was gut wrenching to be there and to be so useless to be able to help either you or Frodo. It is not something that I would ever wish on anyone nor want to be a witness to again. I did not see any rider errors nor an approach that was different than anyone else's while watching that jump that day. I do not feel that you were competing prematurely at the 4 star level. You competed clean and successfully in cross country for over 2 years at the 3 star level with him. You obviously knew what you were doing and were well prepared or you would not have gone clean on your earlier ride that day.

I'm sorry that they are making you the scape goat for this issue, especially as you were not the only one to lose a partner at Rolex, nor the first rider to lose a horse in the eventing competition or be injured even this year alone. If this terrible incident increases the safety of eventing for all future riders and horses, you will have saved many lives and many injuries in years to come. If that means redesigning the cross-country courses, requiring safety pins for all jumps on course, etc., so be it. In no sport should a single error of a competitor have the potential to cost them their life.

I am very sorry for your loss of Frodo. I lost my horse 2 years ago May in a freak, non-riding accident. After spending a week at Haygards, I had to make the very difficult decision to let him go when his odds of recovery were reduced to less than 10%. To suddenly lose your riding partner is so very difficult and something those outside the horse world didn't seem to grasp for me. Your strength and determination to be back riding again already is inspiring.

Good luck in your future endeavors. I look forward to seeing you ride in the 2012 Olympics.