Are you excited to attend your area’s year-end meeting? Do you look forward to it every January? Are you thrilled to hear about the plans for the year ahead, and reflections of the past year? No? Then you must not belong to USEA‘s Area 1.
Every year I look forward to the year-end meeting. It all started as a junior rider, and carried through to my young rider years, predominately because I was excited to receive awards. Since returning to Area 1 after college, I now attend these meetings for an all together different reason – awareness. It is important to maintain an active membership, and to build your own awareness within the organization for which you are a member. That and, it’s a great social venue. Let’s face it, it was -11 degrees when I woke up this morning. Often during New England winters I can be found holed up on the couch beneath a wool blanket praying for melting snow – I just don’t get out much.
Topics discussed were the Young Riders, Adult Riders, and GMHA’s renovations. The entire community is excited to see the new fences, new courses, and gallop on those beautiful tracks complete with new drainage. The hope is that GMHA will become a destination event for riders within Area 1 and Area 2. Fitch’s Corner will host the Championships for the second year – a weekend of phenomenal competition, Derek di Grazia designed cross country, and wonderful socializing!
This year’s guest speaker was Peter Gray. While presenting a video of cross country, Peter discussed the rider’s position at the gallop, preparation of the fence (4-6 strides out), at take off and landing. He emphasized the importance of a relaxed horse: If the horse is not relaxed, they are not able to focus on their fence as their attention is elsewhere (often wondering what the heck their “animated” rider is doing up there). Balance, rhythm, relaxed attention = success. He has a passion for education and immediately offered a training session for an Area 1 rider – details to be determined – I hope the bidding and/or qualifications are open to adults! He also emphasized the importance of correct, slow and detailed progression of horse and rider: “It is better to upgrade a year or two late, then a day too early.”
Ultimately, Peter reminds me of a perfectly whipped chocolate mousse. Quality ingredients fused with a balance of timing, patience, and a desire for perfection. Presented in a relaxed manner, it is only well-within the discussion as you nod in agreement, similar to an unsuspecting sweet-seeker after a few spoonfuls of the delicacy, that you find yourself yearning for more. His humor his unsuspecting, perfectly timed and animated. We were left feeling giddy, elated, and energized – just like the modest high one gets from great chocolate. Like fine Belgium chocolate, Peter is rich in content.
I hope to organize a clinic with Peter prior to GMHA‘s August eventing extravaganza (N3D, T3D, YEH/NEH/FEH, and horse trials). Details will be posted upon availability on the Area 1 site.
I also was able to catch up with a friend from many years ago – KC DiCostanzo! We competed as juniors and young riders together – it has been nearly 15 years since we last saw one another. Cheers to great horsemen, desserts, and a season of success!
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