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November 14, 2011

Season's End: Not On Cloud 9, But Probably Better For It

Jennie Brannigan and her new mount No Objection jumped to the bareback puissance win at the Plantation Field CIC in September. Photo by Don Truesdell.

Well, the season has come to its end, and everyone is writing about the year they’ve had in Eventingland. This time last year I was on Cloud 9 after the season that Cambalda had!

Even though there were more lows thrown into the mix this year, there’s been a lot more growth for me this season. With the addition of Arianna and Jackie to the team, life has become so much less stressful for me, and I know my horses are in tip-top shape. They give me so much more time to focus on the riding and teaching now that I really trust that they know the program and my horses.

I’ve also had some growth in my team of awesome equine partners this year... Ollie’s come on board this season, and I am so thrilled with how he’s going with his latest win on a 25.5 at Rubicon last weekend. I am so thankful to Beth Battel for owning this amazing horse!

No Objection, who’s now owned by the Gardners, has also joined my team, and I cannot wait to get him out competing at the advanced level next spring! My young horse Samson has also come on board as well, and though I’m not sure yet if I want to sell or keep him, he won his first event with me last weekend at Rubicon on a 27. 

The most growth, to be honest, has come from the lows of the year... I think everyone at TPF we will be happy to continue on to 2012. When you do this sport, it’s so easy for it to become all-consuming, and when a horse gets hurt or you miss an event it sometimes seems like the whole world has come crashing down, since we all work so hard to get there.

After being at TPF through the fire and Woodburn’s passing, I’ve gained a lot of perspective. The fire was a tipping point for so much change at the farm... It’s strange to not see the Windurra crew (Boyd Martin’s business) around now—it feels like half of our family is gone! Lillian Heard also moved to Ireland, which has affected my life so much... I have a hard time with her not around, to be honest.

And with the coming and going of another Fair Hill CCI, I’m reminded that Cooper has been gone for almost two years! Hard to believe. My heart also breaks for my good friend Rachel Dwyer, who lost her amazing other half this year...

But with all the bad that has happened, look at all the good. To watch Neville Bardos gallop around Burghley this fall was truly astonishing—how amazing is what he and Boyd accomplished? And I cheered my heart out when Boyd and Thomas (Ying Yang Yo) won Fair Hill.... How deserving is that? And how amazing was it to see Jan Byyny rock around? Seriously, we have some true heroes in our sport.

I think everyone at TPF has had a year that has put things into perspective... Your family and friends are what really matters. And knowing that all my horses are healthy and that Ping will be back next season and ready to go is more than I can ask for. And I look forward to having my spunky Walkabout back for the season as well!

I can’t wait to see what next year brings, and I think I will be able to ride the rollercoaster of life in eventing even better, now more than ever.

Jennie

Brannigan Eventing