Rolex 2014. I doubt anyone was more surprised than I to see my name on that entry list again. It has been almost two years since I turned over the ride on The Alchemyst, first to Canadian team rider, James Atkinson, then to a young rider candidate. At the time, I was retiring more than I was completing. The horse needed a stronger, more competent ride and I wasn’t cutting it. With the new riders in the tack, Al returned to his former glory and the obvious decision was to make a permanent change. Or so I thought.
Last fall, having been unable to find a new situation for Al, I started riding him again. I wanted to see if my time spent watching and studying had taught me anything. My thought was that I had a really nice advanced horse to practice my skills on, so why not? And through the process I discovered that I had changed. My mind was clearer and my ride more positive. I became my horse’s partner and he returned the favor. Competitively, we’ve done well. Well enough to consider Rolex again.
One of the most frequently asked questions of riders of big events is “What are your competition goals?” Topping my list was always “to finish.” Now I believe that finishing is more a result than a goal. A result of many forces coming together with a pinch of luck. That said, my goals for Rolex 2014 are to ride brave and focused. I feel prepared and capable of giving my boy the ride he deserves. It will be what it will be and I am just grateful for another chance to go. But I wouldn’t mind if you all kept your fingers crossed for us that weekend!