I did a two for one day at USEA and USDF's conventions.
I made the trek up to Ohio to at least attempt to attend Area 8 awards (missed it due to an overrun meeting) for Reba and Anna, and then jetted back down Lexington to accept my Silver in person.
It's not my first convention I went to, but it was the first time I've accepted an award on the national scene. Reba was also one of the first horses I've had to go out and just dominate, and also the first horse I haven't piloted to those ribbons, but "owned". It was a good way to end a year I'd rather forget.
Despite arriving late, I was lucky that I had friends there to hold a seat and a plate of food. My table had collectively some of the best, most revered classical trainers seated (Charles DeKnuffy, JJ Tate and Mrs. O'Connor) at it. Many of which I met for the first time, and for once in my wee existence felt really awestruck at the living history eating cake and having coffee.
I didn't expect to like many of them, many trainers on the hard-core classical path tend to be eccentric at best. But if you ever have the chance to meet Charles, he's incredibly wonderful to listen to and get to know and Mrs. O' Connor is spot on with much of her commentary.
If the night had a theme, it was education.
It is something that I feel very near and dear to as I regularly host and work alongside people who's greater motivation is to improve riding and it's understanding. To see these people, who have dedicated their lives to furthering the next generation, and being recognized for it, is cool.
It's hard to believe that 40 years ago (I've been a member about a quarter of that time) we were still competing on grass with chain arenas and education and the programs, like the L, the All Breeds, Regionals, Instructor Certification, that in were started when I was 15 or 16 years old. We have made progress.
It was fantastic to see and hear the stories being exchanged. It was good to see old friends, and touch base with those who I do business with. Plus it just started to stoke the competitive fires for 2014.