It’s not always been smooth sailing for AQHA competitor Maegan Gossett and her horse, Elle. For the time being, though, the rough waters seem to have subsided.
Why are horse shows so exhausting? I only competed in three events over three days this past weekend, and I am still beat! Elle and I just returned to our trainer’s farm in Nashville after having a very successful show. We had great rides, which was the focus, and even managed to get Elle’s first AQHA point (four and a half points to be exact). These points will stay on her record for life, increasing her value and marking her achievements.
I have to say I was a little worried about the show as it seemed some major bad juju was following us around. Literally the day before we hauled out, Elle slipped during our ride and pulls a front shoe. In true Elle style, she didn’t just pull it, but mangled it. Three nails punctured the bottom of her foot, giving me a panic attack when I saw the blood. Luckily it was a quick fix, but to be safe, I soaked her foot twice a day and bandaged it for the remainder of the weekend.
But finally I’ve got some good news to report. Elle has been progressing so quickly in the month we have been working with our trainer that we have decided to change around our show schedule for the year. For the rest this month, Elle and I will be at our trainer’s learning a flying lead change. Then the first of July we will head down to Georgia for the Big A and Stars and Stripes show in Conyers. After that, for the rest of July we will be back at the trainer’s and then another show in east Tennessee. There is just one show in September. And then October will be spent in Ohio for the All American Quarter Horse Congress!
I can’t believe how fast Elle has progressed in the short time we have been working. The fact that we can go to Georgia and be competitive is amazing, and something I never expected this soon. That show is 10 days long and very good at breaking green horses in to the larger atmospheres of these big shows. Golf carts zipping by, dogs running amuck, tents flapping, and horses everywhere are all things Elle needs to get accustomed to if we are to have a good show at Congress, which is one of the largest shows in the United States. Congress and the World show are two shows every competitive AQHA rider plans their year around. For me, we are just aiming for Congress at the end of the year and then the World show in Oklahoma City next year.
It’s all a little overwhelming. I knew from the beginning how special Elle was. Even through the surgeries and setbacks, I believed that she would be a great horse. But she has surprised even me. It’s not just me that believes in her now, which is a great feeling. To get to develop her talents is such a blessing. And to have a trainer that can bring Elle along to her full potential so that we can be competitive at these larger shows is a dream I had never dared to hope for until now.
So tomorrow, Elle gets a well deserved day off. Tuesday we start lead changes. Very soon, Elle and I will be jumping again, which means more $&#*()@ moments for me. I wish I could say that I am a natural at jumping, but I am western to the bone. To leave contact with the ground on purpose seems a little extreme to me. But I’ll suck it up, because I know Elle was meant to jump and I would do anything to make her happy. Even if it gives me heart palpitations.
It’s been a lot of hard work to this point. And there is so much more to come. But I am living my dream, and that more than makes up for all the posting without stirrups, two pointing, two-a-day rides, and humidity of Tennessee summers. I know I will look back on this time in my life and be thankful for the opportunity given to me by my parents, the knowledge I am learning from my trainer, and for Elle who has already made my dream come true that day I first saw her in Ohio.
So until next time, I will be praying daily that Elle keeps all four legs on the ground while she learns lead changes. Lord knows she can be a diva, but I hope she keeps it under wraps and her good girl reputation intact for a while longer. Fingers crossed.