Let me take a step back and say that not everyone was a negative nelly about the Stallion’s potential to be a super jumper. The Dane and I are extremely lucky to have a core group of rider friends who have been in our corner from day 1. They are what I would define as “real horse people.” The people who understand the time, dedication, and patience that it takes to make a horse from nothing. The people who understand that this sport is extremely difficult to conquer when you don’t have a large disposable bank account. The people who appreciate the additional challenge when you only have one horse, which means only one shot to get on that course and gun for a ribbon. The people who recognize a horse with talent, but with a ride ability issue, and a rider who makes it all look effortless.
Of course many of you have seen me in my little outfits at the show, trudging through the muddy footing to set fences, to hold or walk the Stallion, or handle other grooming needs. And as much as I love the Dane and the Stallion, this was not really my favorite part. Being bullied off of fences, ruining all of my shoes, being bullied by the Stallion, running back and forth between the warm up and my trailer to help customers, being bullied by the Dane. You get the point. If there was a support group for riders’ girlfriends, I would have definitely been an active member!
But over time our rider peeps stepped up to help the Dane where I fell short. From helping the duo school at home to assisting them in the warm-up before a big class, and cheering from the sidelines, I am forever grateful for all of those who have shared their time to be a part of this journey.
2017 was a year of ups and downs for the Dane and Colicchio. When these two were on fire they were a sight to be seen, like at their first Grand Prix win at the opening week of the Blenheim Spring Classic. They edged out a fierce amateur competitor by just a hair of a second, a huge milestone considering that quickness had so far been their Achilles heel.
And then again, after a string of 4ths, they finally earned another blue ribbon at their final Grand Prix of the year at the Fall Paso Robles show. I told him just before the class I did not want to see another white ribbon. You couldn’t miss me behind the audience, jumping up and down like a crazy soccer fan when the last rider finished the jump off with a rail down securing our win. BLUUUUUUUEEEEEEE!!!! Finally, I get my way!
But if nothing else, this sport teaches you to not get too comfortable on your high because your lowest low is probably just around that bended line. Or in the case of the Dane and Colicchio, at the wall in Paso Robles, or the water in Sonoma, or the audience in Flintridge. As one person at the show said, “It’s always entertaining to watch this pair, you never know what’s going to happen!” Thrills and spills baby, it’s what gets us always coming back for more…