Eventing is addictive, and I have resigned myself to the fact that I can’t kick the habit. The reason for my addiction is my horse. Her name is Rosie Red, and as her classy name may depict, she is an off-track Thoroughbred. I bought her as a four-year-old from Suffolk Downs in Boston. A risky choice, but I guess we eventers like risk. Rosie is eleven now and we are still learning the art of eventing together.
In 2009 we had moved up to Preliminary and had a pretty successful time, but unfortunately at our last event of the season I crashed and burned—doom and gloom. I had never fallen in competition before and it was a long drive home. It left me wondering if it was all worth it: the time, the effort, not to mention the money! One day I was listening to the equine radio station,
and they were talking about the Worth The Trust Scholarship. I couldn’t help but think how much that $2,000 could help. In my efforts to reduce costs, I had hardly taken any lessons, and I certainly had not participated in any clinics. After I crashed, I realized that if I wanted to continue competing, help was what I needed.
Applying for the Worth The Trust Scholarship seemed like a fabulous opportunity and could potentially solve all my problems. You cannot imagine my jubilation when I received a call from Nancy Knight telling me I had won. I actually cried, mainly because I felt like someone was supporting and encouraging me in my riding. That meant I was doing the right thing and I could feel totally justified in continuing. It was just the boost I needed.
I received a check for $2,000 dollars by the end of the year, and no sooner had I cashed the check when my first great clinic opportunity presented itself. Holly Payne was organizing a clinic with the great Olympians Lucinda and Clayton Fredericks at Paradise Farm in Aiken, South Carolina in the beginning of February—I had to go! I trailered down the week before and attempted to get Rosie spruced up a little.
It turned out to be a great three-day clinic. I rode in a group with Clayton. Day one was flatwork for jumping, day two was jumping in the ring with really cool, progressive exercises to get your horse sharp, listening, and really prepared for cross-country, and day three was cross-country. It was great schooling with Clayton, and he definitely wanted to see more forward riding. I guess I was riding pretty steadily as we had not done anything for a while, but it was “come on, this is cross-country!” Picking in front of the fences was definitely not allowed.
While I was in Aiken I had the pleasure of riding in lessons with Boyd Martin at my friend Jennifer Berryman's fabulous Southern Cross Farm. Every lesson with Boyd is great. He set up exercises that mix gymnastics with show jumping with cross-country questions. Just what the doctor ordered! Boyd pushes you and knows what you need to do to get the job done, and his lessons are encouraging and fun.
After getting all this fabulous help under my belt, I got to compete in Aiken at a couple of recognized events at Preliminary before I trucked home feeling that I had had the best possible start to the year, all thanks to the Worth The Trust Scholarship.
To keep things rolling along during the year, I took more regular lessons from Suzie Gornall, one of Area I’s great instructors and one of my favorites! Suzie always seems to be there at that crucial moment at events to remind me of all those things that are drilled during lessons but seem to go out the window at competitions. That helps, a lot. Thank you Suzie! I also took lessons with Molly Kenney, who is a fabulous show jumping instructor in my area. She has a great eye and always manages to have a great solution to correct my problems like straightness and using too much inside rein. If only I could put a recording into a headset and keep it under my helmet at all times.
In addition, having the Worth The Trust Scholarship money allowed me to ride in a show jumping clinic with Greg Best. I had audited his clinics before and found him interesting and entertaining to watch because of his bag of tricks that he pulls out to fix problems. He worked on my position relentlessly. He did not like my lower leg and spent quite a lot of time working with me on where to grip more with my leg. A lot of the blame apparently lay in the fact that I was an event rider and not a hunter jumper, but I have to say I enjoyed the clinic and came away with some good homework.
The last clinic I got to do in the year before my funds were exhausted was with Eric Smiley. I love Eric, who is all about back to basics. Things really are not as complicated as we make them seem, according to him. Just jump the jump. If your canter is not right, fix it before you jump. You know if it is not right, right? Oh so simple and yet, not as easy as it seems!
All in all I had a very successful and fabulously fun year, which would not have been possible without the Worth The Trust Scholarship. I finished the year as the second placed Master Amateur Rider in the country. My goal in my application essay was to do a CCI*, and I am happy to say I managed to make it happen last year, coming tenth in the CCI* at Virginia Horse Park in Lexington, Virginia. I have to blow Rosie’s trumpet a little, as she was the only horse in our division to go double-clear in show jumping. What a good pony!
Thank you to the Worth The Trust Scholarship panel for giving me these opportunities. I hope I demonstrated that I was a worthy recipient. It certainly gets my vote as an extremely worthy program. Get your applications in folks, you never know, it could be you this year!
Interested in submitting an application for the Worth The Trust Educational or Sports Psychology Scholarships? Applications are due on October 1, 2018. Click here for more information on the Educational Scholarships and click here for information on the Sports Psychology Scholarships. If you have questions, please contact Nancy Knight, (703) 669-9997.
About the Worth the Trust Scholarship
Since 2000, the Worth the Trust Scholarships has provided financial assistance for young adult amateurs and adult amateurs for the purpose of pursuing continued education in eventing. These scholarships is provided by Joan Iversen Goswell in honor of her horse, Worth the Trust, a 15.3 hand Thoroughbred gelding (Wind and Wuthering x Stop Over Station), who competed successfully for many years, including winning the Kentucky Three-Day Event in 1997 with Karen O'Connor. In 2017, to continue to offer a helping hand, Goswell created the Worth the Trust Sports Psychology Scholarships to help amateurs master the ever-challenging mental side of the sport. Click here to read the story of Worth the Trust's 1997 Kentucky Three-Day Event win.
This article first appeared in Volume 43, Issue 6 of Eventing USA.