Long before HN, I authored a blog chronicling the misadventures of a wildly unsuccessful event rider named Leslie Wylie. From time to time, someone requests that I bring the blog back–hopefully this column will suffice.
A little introduction: I’ve been alternately prevailing and failing miserably at the sport of eventing since I was a little kid, and yet I can’t seem to live without it. I’ve dabbled at being a professional over the years but ultimately realized that my real passion lies in developing relationships with my own horses rather than spreading my energy across a spectrum of equines and their human counterparts. I’m content now to maintain a handful of students in whom I can invest myself fully; the rest of my time is devoted to my personal horses and, of course, the online harbinger of equestrian ridiculousness that is Horse Nation.
I’ve always had an affinity for horses with “baggage,” and my current competition mount is no exception. I got Esprit from a woman in Florida who was positively terrified of him–each time she tried to lead him to the dressage ring, he would spook at a flower pot or some such thing and she would take him straight back to the barn. Horse: 1, Human: 0.
When I tried him, he threw the book at me: bucking, rearing, bolting, leaping sideways, running backwards, etc. etc., all the while growing increasingly frustrated that for once he could not rid himself of the person on his back. For me, however, it was love at first ride. A bred-to-the-9s Swedish Warmblood, he was clearly a beautiful mover with potential to jump the moon. I didn’t mind the head-case part. That we could work around.
It’s been a rocky road, but over the past three years Esprit has transformed from an insecure, naughty rogue with little respect for humans to a self-confident team player who loves the sport of eventing as much as I do (except the dressage part, for which we share a mutual disdain). On the job, we’re co-workers; off the job, we’re buddies. We just completed a fun year at prelim and we’re looking forward to a move-up to Intermediate at the beginning of the year. Which means we should have some thoroughly entertaining stories to share in the coming months!