The Secret Life of McKenna & Dorito:

At Waradaca Horse Trials last weekend, McKenna Oxenden took some time out of the saddle to cheer for friends and contemplate why we do this crazy sport in the first place.

From McKenna:

It’s a rare occasion that I’m able to sit back and relax at an event. Generally I’m competing and, if not, I’m usually running around like a madman helping others. This past weekend I had the chance to be able to help out and actually sit down and watch more than two rounds of show jumping! It was definitely a nice “break,” and it gave me a chance to think (I know, people tell me not to do that but it’s just SO HARD!)

It was a Waredaca weekend with me helping out my good friend Nicolette Merle-Smith in the Intermediate division. I was the designated photographer, moral support, pep talker and help when needed. She was competing the 14.2 Connemara wonder pony, Ganymede, or “Zena.” Saturday also had Jackson Schrickel and Sky competing in their first ever recognized event together.

14.2 Connemara meets the last fence on her first intermediate!

Sunday was Carolyn Oehrig and Lionheart, Sydney Solomon and Lilly, and Camryn Long and Cap. Jackson was contesting her second beginner novice, third event ever, and first ever recongized event. Sydney and Camryn have just recently moved up to training level, and this was Carolyn’s first event since last summer and her return from college.

As you can see, it was a bit of a pattern this weekend, dealing with “first times” and “new” times.

For the most part, everyone crossed the cross country finish line with a huge smile on thier face, especially Jackson and Nikki. It was definitely one of those “This is why I do it moments.”

Jackson just kept saying to me, “I don’t think you understand how happy I am, I can’t believe I just did that, that was the most amazing feeling in the world.” I just smiled and replied, “Oh, trust me, I know the feeling, and it is the best feeling in the world.”

You just can’t beat that feeling when you cross the finish line and accomplish the impossible.

We all know “the smile.” Jackson right after her clear cross-country ride.

I just wanted to take a minute to thank those who have helped make this feeling possible.

To Kate Vosbury, my first ever trainer–thank you Kate for having the patience to put up with this “aerobic rider”… I honestly have no idea how you did because I was awful for a very long time! Another thanks to every trainer in between: Beth Ann Morison, Barb, India and others. Probably the biggest thank-you needed is to Alice Pierce and Vannessa Armstrong. Without Alice beginning to put the bug in her mom’s ear, I might not have Dorito today. And Vannessa, of course, for letting me ride the most amazing pony. When we think he reaches his limit, he just keeps proving us wrong and I can’t imagine where I would be if I didn’t have him. Thanks to Ashley Beheler for getting me into the sport I breathe and love: eventing. I can’t picture myself doing anything else. And thanks for believing and teaching Dorito and I the way, especially when no one else believed we could do it but you. To my mom, who supports me emotionally and finanically. To all my closest friends who keep me going when I’m down and cheer for me. Thanks to all the people I have clinic-ed with; they were all such amazing experiences. Thank you, Horse Nation readers, for being a part of my voyage to the top, listening to my ranting and raving, and excitment, and for commenting and viewing my articles. I think Wylie has also earned herself her own thanks–after all, she did give me my own column! And last but certainly not least, thank you to Emily Beshear for an oppurtunity of a lifetime.

I could go on and on about saying thanks, but it would be an encyclopedia because of how much I would have to say! So thank you. Thank you for helping me in my life-long journey–I’ll never be able to say thank you enough. And if you weren’t mentioned, please don’t feel disheartened, I have had so many impactful people in my life it would be hard to list them all!

Horse Nation, there is no looking back. Dorito and I move on Sunday and then we will be face first into a summer of hard work and education, lots of intense rides, and hopefully a succesful second training level attempt.

One thing is for sure, I’m ready to feel that amazing feeling again.

Horse Nation, it’s going to be one crazy ride and you’ll be here every step of the way, so strap your seatbelts in and prepare to launch.

It’s go time.

Jackson gives Sky a well deserved pat and “Good boy!” after their ninth place finish in a division of 18!

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