An Amateur Re-Rider’s Cross-Country Day at The Fork

Eric Dierks (photo Mary Getsey Bernier)

Eric Dierks (photo Mary Getsey Bernier)

Mary Getsey Bernier (owner, Jump Start Solutions) was at The Fork Horse Trials this weekend, and shares her impressions of XC day.

From The Fork Horse Trials, Norwood, North Carolina, Saturday, April 6th:

The sun reappeared, the mud dried up, the turf soaked up the rain from days prior, and it was a great day at The Fork Horse Trials. Saturday morning started off with the Advanced, CIC 3* and CIC 2* Stadium Jumping, while Intermediate, Preliminary and Training ran cross country.

The Fork is a lovely venue, wide and open. The sunshine and warmer weather brought out more spectators than the previous two rainy days, with folks enjoying today’s competition and the trade fair. The cross country course at The Fork has beautiful wide-open galloping fields, with plenty of venues throughout the course that give the vantage point to enjoy several cross country jumps, from one spot. Once again, huge thanks to all of the volunteers, organizers, and sponsors. Without them, these competitions would not be possible!

As an amateur re-rider, I don’t compete at the moment, but I enjoy these events tremendously, for many reasons. During Stadium Jumping, I relish sitting on the rail, listening. The opportunity to watch, listen, and learn is as valuable as a clinic. I study the riders in warm up, as they prepare for their courses, taking every last bit of guidance from their coaches. Even if you’re not riding at the same level, every bit and piece you pick up from the sidelines are useful nuggets of information and training – tools you may take home and apply, with your own horse.

It must be my soft spot, but I can’t help but share the exhilaration when I see a parent, or a coach standing on the rail holding their breath, or counting each stride between fences as their horse and rider tackles the course. When they finish, there is either clapping with joy, or supportive reassurances for rails that dropped. Even with the upper-level riders, I can’t help but think back to the fact that at some point they all learned to post the trot for the first time, hold that two-point, ride that cross country course. And there they are, now. It inspires me. Call me sentimental, but it makes me happy to see them, happy to finish the ride, and see their supporters, cheering them on. And equally, when I see an amateur rider, finishing that Beginner Novice, Novice, or Training level competition for the first time, I share their joy. I can’t wait to do the same, some day soon.

Below are video and photo clips I took throughout the day: two CIC 2* Stadium Jumping rides by Lauren Kieffer; as well as video, and a photo montage of Training Cross Country. I caught a sweet moment from a young rider, ambitious and confident. Watch for her, in years to come!

~ Mary B.

 

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