Thursday, October 14, 2010

Parlez-vous français???

So it has happened. My wildest dreams have finally come true. According to the great Stephanie Boyer and Karen O' Connor, Al and I are "living the dream!" That is, we received the grant to represent our country at Pau CCI**** in France, November 4-7, 2010. Now that isn't to say that I would have turned down a spot on the US WEG Team, but let's just be realistic here...before we can earn that coveted Pinque Coat, we need to go out and earn our international stripes first!

Traveling abroad has always been a stressful experience due to language barriers, exchange rates, awkward maps and of course, driving on the wrong side of the road. Traveling abroad with horses, yeah multiply that feeling by ten! Traveling abroad with horses and doing your first international four star? Take that stressed out feeling, multiply it by another ten, then add excitement, anxiety, happiness and funnel vision all in one! Yep, that's precisely where I am... and those bundled up emotions accompanied with my incessant OCD, well folks, rest assured the barn looks nothing short of immaculate!

Upon hearing that I received the grant, I couldn't help but think of all the time that I have spent in the saddle just to even arrive at this point. All the thrills and spills, the happiness and heartache, the endless nights icing or doing a research paper, the sleepless nights...everything suddenly makes sense now. Sure, I have competed abroad a few times before, but nothing to this calibre and on this amazing of a horse! I truly feel that everything happens for a reason and it has been everything (and I mean everything), leading up to this point that has shaped me not only as a rider and a horsewoman, but as a human being and more importantly, as an adult. I have done some serious growing up over these last couple years and feel that this is my horse's and my time to shine, and I don't plan on allowing anything or anyone take that sense of accomplishment away from us.

Of course you know I could not even THINK about going it alone to France. My best friend, ROCK, and groom Bronwyn Watts will be flying with Al and accompanying him for the whole trip (and it's a long one) from JFK to the Pau show grounds. My mom, along with her puppy Delilah will be there to support along with a few other close family and friends who are eagerly are looking forward to the exciting opportunity that lay ahead. I am really happy to hear that both Boyd and Phillip are making the trip overseas as well, so that they can hopefully share their ample experience of competing at the highest level abroad with yours truly! Buck has also been great in giving me my much needed "pep" talks and keeping my eye on the target!

Until we jet set across the pond, Al and I will be busy getting a few more lessons from the DQ herself, Ms. Severson in addition to performing in a jumper class this upcoming weekend. I plan on heading up a few days before our flight to Phillip and Boydy's to gallop and jump a few sticks in hopes of learning a few last minute tips to achieve or most memorable and greatest performance to date! I know we've got big shoes to fill, but rest assured Al and I feel ready and eager to do our best to bring glory to our amazing country! Until then, eyes up, shoulders back, and grab those French translators people! We are taking Pau by storm!!!