The dreams of little girls can be fuel for passions that grow into something huge. Riding at Rolex seems to be a common dream among horse crazy girls, and as they grow up, some leave the sport all together and some keep digging in to make it happen. It's not a dream for the faint of heart, and many do not make it.
To say that I am still a bit in awe that I am qualified is an understatement. I came into Eventing later in life than many that ride at this level, but I immediately set my sights high. Who would have known that finding that little redhead OTTB on the back side of Charles Town would have led me here? Bug is more athletic than most horses I have met, but his heart is what makes him so special. He loves his job and will do whatever I ask of him. He is a once in a lifetime horse, and I cherish my time with him every day. There is nothing like a Bug hug.
It is hard to believe that we are less than 4 months away from Rolex and all the excitement it brings. Just typing that gives me butterflies. I know that this horse and I have what it takes to make this happen, but I also know there is a lot of hard work ahead in the next few months.
Many people keeping asking me how they can help make this experience successful. The financial burden of competing in this sport and at such a high level is quite large. Rolex, itself, is not that expensive to enter. However, the road to Rolex is paved in gold, it seems.
1. Lessons, lessons, and more lessons are needed to make sure Bug and I are performing at our best.
2. There are many competitions between now and Rolex that Bug and I need to make sure we are fit and prepared. Each event is a test to see how well we are performing and what needs to be worked on to make it even better. This includes entry fees and the travel costs associated with it.
3. Veterinary work, bodywork, and correct shoeing to keep Bug feeling at his best. This is a tough sport, and it asks a lot of the horses. It is imperative that Bug is feeling in tip top shape.
4. Every day tack, feed, etc expenses. There always seems to be something needed!
I am not funded by big owners or family money. Riding and teaching is my job, and those ebb and flow with the weather, economy, etc. Being an underdog doesn't bother me. I've been told plenty of times that I would never make it this far. That just makes me want to dig in and fight harder.
How can you help?
1. The biggest way to get involved is to join the Win the War Syndicate. The syndicate includes Win the War (Bug) and an up and coming Zweibrucker gelding, Bishop de Selah. Bishop definitely has the traits to follow in Bug's footsteps, so it made sense to match these two together in the syndicate. The syndicate owns 49% of each horse, so one share includes 4.9% of Bug and 4.9% of Bishop. The cost per share is $3,000 and it costs $3,000 per year as a maintenance fee. The average cost to maintain an upper level horse alone is $30,000 a year. I am responsible for half of their maintenance myself, and the other half falls to the syndicate.
2. Fundraisers. If you have any ideas for fundraising, please let me know! I have Rolex fundraiser t-shirts that can be ordered as well.
3. Donations through American Horse Trials Foundation. If you are interested in helping but don't want to buy into the syndicate, you can make a tax deductible donation through this organization. If you are interested, please contact me, and I can tell you how to do it.
4. If you live near me, take some lessons or send a horse for training! I would love to make the money on my own. :) I also have a bunch of nice horses for sale.
This dream of mine is no small undertaking, but God has provided thus far.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions.