|The ring on Saturday.|
|The ring on Sunday.|
I was going to post all about the show, but I got super creepy stalker-esque at the end and figured I'd share that little story with you.
While watching the juniors, most of my friends were rooting for HJ, a girl who I don't even know aside from attending shows and hearing her name. She started riding way back in the day at Heritage (my old barn/host of the finals) as a lead line/short stirrup kid. Since then she's continued riding, mostly with her mother and brother as mentors. From the outside looking in, this kid hasn't had it "made", has worked for everything, and is very deserving. Her brother, who also began riding at Heritage, won the RI final a few years back, so HJ was the obvious crowd favorite.
Going into the test she was sitting in 3rd. The test was straightforward, with a trot fence and hand gallop thrown in, and everyone got to work. I don't claim to know a ton about the big eq, but needless to say people gasped at HJ's test. I have never seen someone make such a ballsy decision, and ride it SO WELL in my life. From the trot fence, riders were to go around a perpendicular fence, and then canter up the next one, essentially making a roll back. HJ unexpectedly sliced the trot fence, made a seemingly impossible inside turn to the canter fence, and literally had two strides between her landing and take off spots. DAMN GIRL. She then proceeded to hand gallop the right way (not some lame ass extended canter) down to her final fence.
I don't think anyone was displeased that she won :)
The best part of the whole thing, and the reason I am a total stalker, is the next part though. I had to leave right after the ribbons were given, and ended up walking to my car right behind HJ and her brother. Listening to them chat was easily the best part of my day. He was SO proud of his little sister it was evident, and she just kept saying, "Can you believe it? We BOTH won it. Can you believe it?!"
Then I fangirled and took a creepy photo, because creep.