So I have been riding horses for years and years. I am not particularly good at it, but I thoroughly enjoy it at all times. Growing up I never had my own horse, and I was never able to show. In fact, I dropped out of pony club because I couldn’t go anywhere ever and what fun was pony club if you can’t do anything? I have groomed for people countless times. One of my best friends growing up got into horses and her parents bought her a pony, and they the got a truck and a trailer, and eventually a second horse. I was so jealous I can’t even begin to tell you. I would come along every weekend in the summer to groom for her at shows. That meant that every Saturday night I would sleep over and lie in bed dreaming about the ribbons I would never get. And yes I do think this has done some sort of emotional damage on me! I leased a horse one year and was able to go to 2 shows at the local show ground. I was 15 and it was a dream come true! The horse ended up having lots of problems though so for many, many years those 2 shows were it.
When I went away to college I fell in love with dressage. You can read about my first show here and here. When I came for for the summers I would lease My True Heart, and after our first summer together my trainer allowed us to show together. I would get so nervous it was terrible. I put so much pressure on myself that show was just not fun at all. I would freak out before every show and say, “I’m not getting on” or “You can’t make me ride”. It was just not a good scene. When I got Gennyral everything changed. I had to be calm or else he would freak out. And I missed showing by the time that he was mentally put together enough to go anywhere. So with Gennyral I had my head in the right place about showing and have kept it there with X.
As you all know (because I talk about it A LOT) X and I qualified for our GMO championships which are Sept. 21st. As part of this championship if you place in the top 6 you get to be in a victory gallop! Which is one of my life long riding goals! Now competition is tough in this GMO at championships. It is kind of funny actually because this GMO has so many members that this little GMO championship show is actually bigger then some of of the USDF regional championship shows. Which means that there are so many people in each division that the chances of being in the top 6 are not great. But I still dream about it. I want to be in a victory gallop so bad.
Every time I go to a championship show and their is a victory gallop I cry. And I don’t know why I cry. Even watching the Olympic coverage I cried at every victory gallop (except Anky’s posting trot one because that doesn’t count as a lap of honor). There is something so amazing about just getting to run around the ring! The freedom that comes with a nice hand gallop in the ring can only be matched by a real gallop in the fields. I have been to watch many amazing horse shows and while some people pack it up and head out after the last ride I know better. I ALWAYS stay to watch the victory gallop because you never know what might happen.
A few years ago Cesar Parra(sp?) won the Grand Prix division at Devon at Devon. His horse nearly had a cow just getting the trophy and was being very naughty about the whole thing…with his rider on top and a groom holding him. He was so happy though that even though he knew he would get himself or someone else killed if he rode his horse around he ran, on foot, the entire victory gallop. The joy in that moment was palpable. I think that might be part of my love for them. The joy that comes from the run. There are few things in this world that I covet more than being able to have the moment of pure joy and being slightly out of control and tearing around a ring with a ribbon on the horses bridle.
There is a big push in the dressage world to remove victory gallops from competitions. And that scares me. Because for over a decade (since I knew they existed) I have dreamt of that moment. The moment when 5 other horse and rider combos and I fly around the ring. And if things keep going the way they are going and people keep taking them out of competitions I will never get to experience it. Unless of course X and I can place this year, which will be tough since we just got through to championships by the skin of our teeth. There is just something so magical about a victory gallop.
I wanted to explain why I love them so much in this post, but I can’t. I can’t find the right words to explain how I feel when I watch them. How badly I want to be in one. How cool I think they are. It is just something I dream of. If I can be in a victory gallop and win a cooler at some point in my life I will die a happy horse woman. And I have a chance, all be it not a great one, at the victory gallop this year. Have any of you ever been in a victory gallop? What was it like? 20 days till I have a shot to find out for myself.