SmartPak Employee Rides Into Nationals Next Week

By Colby, Director of Web Marketing
On the Road to the AECs

seajay1.jpgGoals are good, even if they seem lofty…

Everyone needs something to shoot for…a reason to keep up the hard work when the riding isn’t “fun” or the weather isn’t optimal. I have a 7 year old Irish Draught horse named Blue Seajay that I have trained since she was 4…after a long layoff from a childhood of hunter ponies I wasn’t sure I was up to the task, especially since eventing is now my game…and what a fun game it is. Our goals for this season were to qualify for the American Eventing Championships and move up to Training level. The same goals we had last year.

The ’06 season…one to remember for all the wrong reasons:
Luck was not on our side last season and after a quick start out of the gates, a run of bad luck had us on the sidelines watching others achieve greatness while we spent time icing and walking in circles. After a quick and successful jump from Beginner Novice to Novice, qualifying for the Area I championship in our first event, we were on the bench. Luckily the only cure we needed was time, even if that time on the sidelines was painful to endure. We watched the teams we had trained with all winter long pass us by, we stayed home as everyone loaded up and hit the road…it was hard but the lesson was meaningful.

“Next year” was our rally call…
So far, this is the year it has all come together. Five USEA recognized events and five ribbons…including a blue and a red one. Double-qualified for the AECs and moving up to Training level this weekend. If I drew a line in the sand right now and called it a season I would be very happy, but I can’t resist wanting more. Finishing top ten in the competitive Novice Amateur division at the AECs next week would be the icing on the cake, but 30s in dressage w/ clean jumping rounds would be a successful outing. As long as I give Seajay the ride she deserves, both are strong possibilities. But like most eventers, having a sound horse and a healthy rider at the end of the day makes it a good day. Seajay is a truly awesome animal and I am lucky to have her. We have worked hard and “followed the program” as my trainer Karen Lorenzo says. This is why we spent all of that time doing leg yields and building “impulsion” in a cold New England indoor from November through March. We are eventers… we like to gallop and jump and have fun. Dressage is not our favorite thing, but it is very necessary if you are going to do well in this sport and I have my time in the “black tack” to thank for the well-schooled team we have become.

So, wish us luck as we pack up next week and head off to the AECs in Chicago. I’ll check back in with updates and pics when we return…

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Apparently I've been obsessed with horses since I was born, and I used to beg for pony rides on a regular basis. I started showing in 4-H, progressed to equitation and jumpers in high school and rode on the IHSA team in college where I also discovered the joys...

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