Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Sudden End to a Bright Future

While I am fully aware that it has been nearly two months since my last post, I needed some time to pass in order to reflect on recent happenings that have seriously had altering effects on my life.

With that in mind, I would like to provide my readers with a casual disclaimer: Yes, I graduated from UVa. Yes, I speak multiple languages. And yes, I am an avid writer that enjoys keeping my friends, fans, students, and fellow horse enthusiasts updated with my eventing life. However, I was never an English major in college, nor do I dare boast about having the perfect grammar in my blog posts. I simply write from the heart, and after all, isn’ t that why you read these blogs in the first place, in order to get a real sense of the lifestyle of being an international event rider? Would you prefer a grammatically perfect blog with zero emotion or one that’s from the heart, that’s honest, and most important, recent? So, if you are truly offended by my rudimentary grammar and idiotic punctuation mistakes, then I kindly ask you to quit reading my blog, and move on with your life. If however, you want a REAL account of someone who is out there striving to achieve a life-long dream, then please proceed with caution.

Now, where was I? Back to recent life altering events.

Probably the most influential and riveting event has been the death of my dear friend and eventing comrade, Colin Davidson. Now I will never lay claim to being BFFs with Colin but shared a laugh (and a tiff) or two, and an overwhelming passion for those four-legged creatures. Colin should and will be remembered for the kind, loving soul he was. He could always be found petting Drake (his four star horse, Draco) after a good effort across country, grazing one of his horses reflecting on the day he just experienced at a horse trials, or walking the course playing with his little rambunctious dog, Badger. I am always drawn to a memory that Colin and I shared this year at the Fork CIC*** in April. Both he and I were hosing our horses off at the communal wash rack and asking how each other's show jumping round went, especially as it was the last effort before the big four star that loomed ahead. After bantering on and on about how I wish I had ridden some random turn better but thank goodness Al was his normal phenom-self and jumped a double clear, I stopped myself in mid-sentence when Colin’s gaze seemed to grow increasingly melancholy. When I asked him how his round panned out, he stopped scrubbing Draco’s legs with soap, looked at me, then began to laugh hysterically. Before I came to the conclusion that he was “off of his rocker” he told me how he had made a wrong turn in the course and ended up jumping the triple combination backwards; in the three star; and CLEANLY! I laughed so hard I spooked both of our horses which ultimately brought both of us both back to reality. We then joked how Drake was ready for Kentucky as he was able to jump a three star level triple combination backwards leaving all the rails in tact, which takes loads of talent, I might add!

I am so thankful that I was able to spend the night with Colin in the hospital. I was able to reassure him that his horses were well looked after and just how much of an impact he has made on so many people’s lives. I reminded him how proud I was to see him canter down the center line at Rolex and own that dressage test. I promised him that he would not be left alone, nor would he ever be forgotten, and that his loving girlfriend Mackenzie Booth was frantically on her way to his bedside from Pennsylvania. I simply was THERE, sitting by his side, holding his hand and rubbing his arm...speechless.

However, after seeing the horrific spectacle that lay in front of me decorated with countless tubes and IVs, I experienced the obvious flashback of a catastrophic accident that happened to me two years back, and was finally able to feel the undulating emotions that my parents had felt back in the UK hospital room. I am saddened for Colin’s mom, Lucy; for no parent should EVER have to bury their child. RIP Colin Baird Davidson. Please tell my boys Jamie, Fro-Fro, and Peewee that I love them indefinitely and keep them in my heart, on my wrists and in my medical armband when I ride.

On a lighter note, Al and I were pleased to make the Winter Training List Squad B. Although it has been overshadowed by my attention lying with the friends and family of Colin, I am very proud and honored to have my name posted in the same realm of legendary riders such as Karen O’Connor, Phillip Dutton, Buck and Boyd. Some up-and-coming riders such as Jennie Brannigan and Alexandria Slusher are stars for the future and I expect these guys and gals to bring forth their “A” game next year, simultaneously encouraging mine to follow suit as well. It has been three years since I was last named to the Winter Training Squad B. I remember pondering, as I was in the final days of my month-long stay at the UK hospital, if I would make it back to where I was before and what would it feel like if I had? Well folks, thanks to my trusty steeds, my relentlessly proud mother, my faithful groom and friend Bronwyn, WE have arrived back and boy does victory taste sweet! Although I can’t promise that I will bring home a gold medal at the first Olympics that I hope to compete, I can avow that my efforts will be ceaseless and glory unrestrained. I have trudged to the depths of hell and I will never ever digress back to that dark, dark state I loomed in before.

Al and I are also fortunate enough to have received a training grant, which we hope to take full advantage of in the winter and spring seasons with some informative jumping and dressage lessons from world-renowned instructors and clinicians. We all know that I am no stranger to criticism so please, if it makes me a better rider in the long run, FIRE AWAY Mrs. Prudant!

Until next time, chin up, shoulders back, and grab some mane! See you in the start box down south! Happy Holidays and have a safe and memorable (or maybe not for some of you) New Year’s! Welcome, 2011!