Ok, first and foremost big shoutout and massive congratulations to the most spectacular pain in my ass, Bobby. He went to US Dressage Finals this past weekend in Kentucky with his boy Carlson and placed in ALL THREE of his classes, which were all championships… sixth in his 1st level freestyle AA, 5th in his 1st level AA, and 6th in his second level AA. He’s only had this horse since April but their partnership has come along so quickly and it’s been super fun to watch. They’ve still got so much more room for growth too, it’s pretty freaking exciting. Bobby absolutely loves Carlson, it’s freakin adorable, and I’m so proud of my friend and what he’s done (and even more importantly, how he’s done it). Even if he does keep trying to drag me over into DQ land with him, which, like… no. Hard pass. Why are you so obsessed with me.
Anyway, ew, that’s enough nice things about Bobby.
There’s not a whole lot to report on the horse front this weekend for me personally. Henry is trying to blow an abscess out under his shoe which has been a lot of fun, and his drama factor is very high. If you ask him, things are touch and go as to whether or not he’s gonna make it from one day to the next. Really I just need to get the shoe pulled off so it can drain and I can clean it. Working on that.
I also need to clip him again (already, ugh) since it was warm enough yesterday where he came in sweaty from turnout. The shortage of T-10 blades from all my favorite retailers is really cramping my style though. I had to cave and order a 10W since that’s all that was available, and I even went into Dover the other night to see what they had in stock. If you want a T-84 you’re in business but if you prefer a T-10 like I do… good luck. I found a place about half an hour away that can sharpen blades so I think I might try to take a bunch of my old ones up there this week and see if they can help me out. There’s a lot more clipping left to do in the next 4 months, I need blades. I did buy this doormat when I was at Dover though. Couldn’t resist.
For most of the weekend I was pretty glued to the Tryon live feed. It was the first time that any commentator ever actually took me up on my offer to provide breeding and pedigree data and I wanted to hear how it all came across and worked out in the live feed. I really wasn’t sure how much Cyndi would use the data, or if anyone would even care besides me. So like… knock me over with a tiny feather when she read basically everything I gave her, and the response was incredible.
I had people messaging me all weekend saying how much they enjoyed having some extra info and stats. I am DELIGHTED. People say that riders, especially eventers, don’t care about breeding but just don’t believe that’s true. The feedback from even just the little bit of data I was able to provide (only having 24 hours to prepare didn’t allow me to wander down as many rabbit trails as I would have liked) makes me think that a lot of people do indeed care. I think riders and fans in general would be a lot more interested in all this breeding stuff if we had more information readily available all the time and talked about it more often. People just don’t realize how interconnected it all is and how there are definite trends in their horses and where they come from (Sinead even remarked that she was surprised at how many were US-bred, I could have died happy at that comment). Breeding is not as embedded in our horse culture the way it is in other countries, particularly Europe, thus I think it has kind of become a blind spot for us. I’d love to try to help change that.
Also big shoutout to Cyndi Kurth, the main commentator for the weekend… that was her first time doing a live stream and I thought she did a fantastic job, especially on such short notice. More Cyndi, please! It was refreshing to have someone different directing the commentary that didn’t talk over people or interrupt their cohost, and kept focused on what was on the screen rather than rambling tangents.
Also thank you to Libby for connecting Cyndi and I in the first place, none of this would have happened without her facilitating it. Oh, and Hillary came in clutch helping me put the stats together, saving me many hours of work and helping me get all the data in Cyndi’s hands before the start of XC. Team work.
Here’s a few of my favorite blurbs and side-conversations that stemmed from the breeding data, in case you missed the live stream.
It was well-received enough that I’ve already had two other event organizers reach out to ask about getting breeding data for their live streams, and a media outlet has reached out about a future project as well. I was really just hoping someone, anyone would give a shit, so this kind of response has blown me away. Y’all know that this stuff is something I feel really passionate about but also feel deeply discouraged about on the regular, so I’m just ecstatic. This gives me a lot of hope that all indeed is not lost, and that people do really care, and that it really is something worth putting the effort into. You’re giving me hope, America.
I think we’re on to something here. I did come away with some things I’d like to do differently next time, and some stuff I’d like to add in, but… hopefully it’s a start.