Someone asked me today how I could continue to Event...it actually made me angry, as if I purposely put myself and my horses at risk. I have a family, 2 kids and a husband who I love more than life. My daughter competes at the one-star level and I would never intentionally risk my life nor my daughters to go out of the start box. Eventing has risk, so does driving to the grocery store at 11:00 at night. Traveling alone, motor sports and even walking across the street.
I know this will be controversial, however, I believe this needs to be addressed and feel like someone should talk about it…so here we go.
This last weekend was a tragedy. Eventing didn't need something like this to happen but it comes with living. Yes....living. We live and therefore we risk our lives. Tragedy is a terrible thing.....we question ourselves and others, "Why compete in a sport that could cause you or your animal harm?"
We as an equestrian community shouldn’t quickly place blame on the sport. We compete in a sport that has risks. It's what makes each of us who competes in Three Day Eventing live our lives to the fullest. Our horses love it as much as we do and if they don't it's our responsibility to put them in a job they do love. We owe it to ourselves and the people we teach to prepare over and above the challenge. When you choose to put your foot in a stirrup of any breed of horse and ride you are risking your life. When we choose to gallop cross country like our ancestors did and jump natural obstacles there are risks for us as well as our horses.
We have to come together and embrace each other. Never forget we are all part of a wonderful community that most sports can’t brag about ....it should be all about camaraderie.
Was there something that could have happened differently to prevent the deaths of these two great men? Possibly......but probably not! Sometimes life isn't fair. It's not ok, we want to find a reason but sometimes things happen. It's ok that some things happen for seemingly no reason at all. It's part of living our lives to the fullest. These tragic deaths don't make me second guess my sport or my profession. I’m very sad that this happened, it is tragic. I do not know how you move on from something so devastating, but I know that the sport of Eventing has never been safer. I believe we all just have to accept that bad things happen sometimes to wonderful people.
Slowing the speed on cross country will not make the sport safer. As a rider at any level you have the ability to go the speed you choose. Yes, to be competitive you have to make time, but I would never risk my horse or myself to make time........if the course is riding well and my horse is rideable I will make the time.
So let's focus on the things that our sport teaches us......work ethic, commitment, partnership, teamwork and the list goes on.There isn't always something or someone to blame. Sometimes we just have to morn, live on, and be strong together.