The Secret Life of McKenna & Dorito: Chomping at the bit

This week, Horse Nation’s teen sensation McKenna takes a look back to see how far she’s come and gets seriously excited about where she’s going from here.

From McKenna:

In case you are just tuning into my posts, my start to eventing was a bit rocky. Fun fact: It took three years of me eventing before I finally finished my first event of the season. The first three years, I’d go out and either end up crashing or find myself eliminated in one of the phases.

Back in 2009 I took on Redland Hunt as my first horse trial of the year. From what I recall dressage was not bad; for us at the time, my stadium round was quite good; and then off to cross-country we went! Well, unfortunately (but fortunately) for me, I came out of the startbox with a completely different horse than I’d ever had before. Not that before Dorito wasn’t always rarin’ to go, but at this event especially he had an extra fire to him.

I got dragged around the first seven fences of the course. I tried and tried to slow down but it was hardly useful. What I should’ve done was realize that my constant pulling was not helping anything and that in all actuality, it was OK to be going quick in between my fences as long as I was balanced to jump them.

As I headed down a steep hill to fence 8, a pheasant feeder, Dorito shut down. I don’t blame him–he had Raggedy Anne up on top of him pulling and yanking on his face to get him to slow down the whole course! I hadn’t let up at all so at fence 8 he had it. Myself, a piece of the jump, and the flag managed to clear the fence but Dorito stayed on the other side. Long story short the jump judges were convinced he hit me with his hoof so out came the medics in their ambulance… and let’s just say I have become much better at channeling my anger about falling!! I am still sorry to this day to the medics who had to check me out. I was a bit of a diva and wanted nothing to do with people at that point in time!

Onto the “present.” Last Sunday I had a FABULOUS romp around the cross-country course at Morven. And a romp would be the correct word because Dorito skipped around it like it was nothing.

While as you get older and wiser and you put more hours into practicing, naturally you expect that you will become better, which is true for the most part. However, I’m still dumbfounded that every season I have a horse come out bigger and badder than the year before. Of course it makes sense. You know the saying “Another year older, another year wiser.” Again, it makes perfect sense and of course you did your homework over the “winter break” so you have that going for you. But there’s just something about that feeling of when you’re in the startbox and you feel your horse get more and more excited *insert slight rears here* and then they say GO and then you’re off. You’re horse is taking you to the fences, you’re feeling ever so confident, and the pair of you are making quick work of the course. It might be the best feeling in the world.

What I’m trying to say is, it’s just amazing how much difference one year can make. Sure, last year I came out confident but this year I came out roaring. I think I’ve found a schedule that really works with D and I–a lot, LOT of flat work (it could be less if he somehow got his d@mn right side moving off my leg!!) and hacking and minimal jumping, to keep us both on edge! And as it’s been proven, the extra rides I spend on flat are really helping my jumping. I’m starting to feel more and more confident every ride and everything is starting to feel amazing.

Here’s hoping that it keeps going on up. And all eyes are on the first weekend in May, where dare I say the big “T” happens.

And don’t forget to comment, like this post on Facebook, tweet, and share my awesomeness with your friends! After all, I write what you guys like to hear from me so if I don’t have any feedback, next week you might have my marriage fantasy story with Hunter Hayes!

Until next post, I’ll be living up the last bits of spring break and commencing all preparations for some Team Emily gear for Rolex.

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