This is it, you’ve made it to the end of the Coconino posts! Congratulations, and I’m sorry for all the rambling.
I really had to do this post for me… I feel like Coconino was meant to be a learning experience. I walked away knowing a lot more about myself, good and bad, and with a greater understanding of why I do this. Some of it was a little hard to swallow, but maybe that makes it even more important to remember.
It’s ok to make mistakes. This could also be “it’s supposed to be fun” or “you can’t win ’em all”, and man do I struggle with this when I’m in the heat of the moment. I absolutely hate how it feels to dismount and know that I haven’t done my part. That’s difficult for me to work through mentally, and I tend to stew on it and let it fester. But this is not a sport where perfection is possible, and it’s not supposed to be. There will always be something I could have done better, and because I am but a mere mortal, sometimes I will make completely moronic mistakes. Everyone does, that’s part of it. I have to get better at forgiving myself, letting it go, and remembering that this is FUN, otherwise I’ll burn myself out. And while, no, I didn’t walk away from the N3D with the placing I wanted, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had at a show in my entire life… because it WAS.
My horse is a badass. Ok, I already knew this, but, for real though, have y’all met this creature? Henry continues to impress me at every single show with how brave he is and how much he loves cross country. He just keeps getting better and better, and he’s so incredibly confident in himself. Week 1 was by far the hardest course he’s seen and it was pretty much a piece of cake. He is legitimately knocking on the door of Prelim (uh, with Trainer obviously, not with me) and I’m just awed by him. How did I get this lucky?
Summer camp will never stop being awesome. This trip was like the best adult version of summer camp ever. We basically spent two weeks camping in the woods with our horses… which, now that I think about it, makes it better than any summer camp I ever went to as a kid. The only thing missing was the campfire and s’mores, but we had wine, so fair trade? I made several new friends, had a great time getting away from the real world for a while, and got to play with my pony for 13 days straight. That needs to happen every year because it was therapeutic beyond belief.
The Classic 3 Day format is an art. While I had a good idea of what the long format was all about before we got there, reading about it and actually doing it are totally different things. Spending more time on my horse on XC day, gauging how he felt during Roads and Tracks, and feeling how bold and forward the steeplechase made both of us… it was phenomenal. I do completely understand why the long format went away in the first place, but man, I wish there were more of these Classic events. I would choose them over the regular format in a heartbeat. Steeplechase was a huge lightbulb moment.
I need a new dressage saddle. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to do a difficult job when you don’t have the right tools. I really didn’t realize just how much better Trainer’s saddle was until I rode in it twice and then went back to mine. The right saddle makes everything feel so much easier. Shoulda just bought a Loreak in the first place. But, I do have some news on that front…