Shining Stars

I got a really cool email a few weeks ago. As a team medalist at Zone Jumper Finals back in August, I was eligible to apply for a “wildcard” spot at a Gold Star Clinic as part of the Emerging Jumper Rider program through USHJA. From what I understand, all individual medalists automatically earn an invite, and then they open up the wildcard spots to the team medalists for consideration.

I haven’t worked this hard on an application since college, y’all. It was a long and hefty questionnaire, an essay on my goals for the future, and then I needed a letter of recommendation from a show jumping professional (thank you Trainer!). They also allowed me to include “any other materials I’d like the selectors to consider.”

I immediately started making plans for a professionally shot and cut video, testimonials from everyone I’ve ever met as to my dedication, a music video about me and Frankie. You know. Normal stuff like that. I ended up going with a link to this blog and some of my favorite posts to be like I THINK SO HARD ABOUT RIDING ALL THE TIME and a cute pic of me and Francis.

Because how can you resist these happy faces?!

All materials assembled (and after I dried my tears from seeing the nice things Trainer said about me in her LoR), I sent off my packet for consideration.

I’ll be honest, just being on the list of names invited to apply for a spot was enough to get me shaking and giggly. We’re fairly new to this still and don’t have the same mileage as a lot of the other riders yet, so making that short list is an absolute dream come true.

I just like to smile, smiling’s my favorite

I just heard back: they had an unexpectedly high response of individual medalists, which meant that they weren’t able to accept any wildcard applicants- but I was invited to audit.

I forgot to mention: this clinic is down in Wellington. Florida. 15 hours away. Santa had told me that if I got a spot, my presents wouldn’t be under the tree but would be a commercial shipper for Francis. While I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to go audit and get the chance to pick Richard Spooner’s brain and watch Anne Kursinski ride, I can’t really justify the expense of changing flights/hotel/etc without also getting the chance to ride.

I have a couple feelings about this:

  1. Really glad that there’s so much interest in the program. I think these types of “pipeline” programs that they’re promoting more in recent years are exactly what we need to get good talent to the top levels, and clearly competitors are responding that these are programs they like.
  2. Bummed I didn’t get a spot. I’m only human! Of course I wanted to go ride and learn!
  3. Relieved that if I didn’t get it, it wasn’t for lack of trying. I wasn’t outmatched, they liked my application, they simply did not have room. That’s entirely out of my control.
  4. At the same time, a little annoyed that they didn’t end up taking ANY wildcards. Though at least they’re rewarding the wildcards with the auditing invite plus a Q&A with Richard, so they clearly are trying to still give something to us. This is the first year they’re implementing this program so growing pains are to be expected, and they have already committed to expanding it next year.
  5. Thoughtful about my application. It asked some questions that I hadn’t really taken the time to consider before. I definitely don’t see the time spent on my application as a waste- it was a great exercise in considering where I want my future in this sport to go, and gave me a space to crystallize some thoughts I have on different aspects of the industry.
  6. Wishful that I had more funds so that I could go and audit without affecting my show fund for the rest of the season.
  7. Excited to set aside some money to clinic next year with a big name- not sure who or when yet, but now I’ve got the clinic bug and would definitely like to find one that fits my needs.
  8. Motivated to earn an individual spot on the podium so they have no excuse not to let me in next year.

OK, so that’s more than a couple feelings! I’m a complicated person, clearly.

This guy will be the first to tell you that I’m a dang enigma sometimes

Frankie and I will be working hard to stay on their radar screen in 2018, and we’ll keep participating in as many programs as we can! If positivity and persistence count for anything (and I’m convinced they do), we’re gonna do some real cool stuff.


Regional Championships: The Journey


With our 3rd and 5th from the show back in January, Frankie and I had amassed 14 points in our division. To qualify for the Regional Adult Jumper Championships, you need to apply (which I already did) and get at least 20 points by June 1.

I know there is a consistent system on how points are awarded based on how many people are in the class, the placing, and the moon sign on the previous Tuesday, but I do not know what this system is. It is not the standard 10-6-4-2-1-0.5 that I thought.

Someone communed with the universe to come up with the point system

So going into HITS, we needed to get at least 6 points.

As you saw in our show recap, Frankie and I captured 2nd place in a class on Sunday. Hooray! That means we got the points….right? Probably? The class barely filled (only three people), so I didn’t know how many points 2nd would net me.


I feverishly refreshed my record on over and over and over hoping to see results- no dice. With the deadline looming, I had no idea whether or not I needed to go to another show in May.

Cue the detective work.

Private Eye

The first logical step for me was to call the HITS home office. I asked a very nice lady if she knew whether points from the recent Culpeper show had been sent in to USEF, she looked into it and said they were recently sent/in the process of being sent, and USEF had to take it from there.

finger guns
Thank you nice lady I am hanging up now

And then called USEF and talked to another very nice lady. She did some sleuthing for me, and told me that points weren’t likely to be posted for at least another week or two.

thank you.gif
Thank you other nice lady but also I’m getting nervous

(Someone be proud of me that I called strangers twice in one day, I do not like talking to strangers on the phone)

I had 24 hours to make a decision on an upcoming show, so that wasn’t going to work for me. I was a little stumped! Both the show and USEF were dead ends.

But LOL I am a huge creeper and once I remembered that I started getting creative.

police work.gif
Time for some doughnuts and stalking

I went to the USHJA Zone 3 list of riders in my division, and clicked through name by name until I found someone who had placed 2nd out of 3. I noted their name, their horse’s name, and which show/class they had received that placing in.

Then I took that information over to the Horse Search feature on USEF and found that pair, scrolled down until I found that specific show and class, and looked to see how many Zone points they had earned with that specific class.

10 points.

Meaning we earned 10 points as well, we are currently at a total of 24, and that means we are qualified for finals!


Let’s get psyched for finals, gang. Also lets learn how to ride a 1.15m course before we get there hahahahahahatotallyit’llbeawesome.