Gearing Up For Washington International 2017

The weekend before Halloween always gets me excited- and no it’s not because of Halloween parties or pumpkin carving (I actually rather hate both of those). It’s because this time every year, the greatest horses across the United States haul in to compete at the Washington International Horse Show.

I was born and raised in Alexandria, VA- right outside of Washington DC. As much as I adore my hometown and wouldn’t have wanted to grow up anywhere else, I was always upset that there were no horses anywhere near this city that I call home. Horses have always been a huge part of my life and the nearest barn behind around 40 minutes away always broke my 10 year old heart. So naturally when I learned that once a year horses came to the Capitol, I was psyched.

The show lasts about a week, different competitors and disciplines or events every night. When I see the first Instagram post that the trailers have arrived in the city (my city), my heart skips a beat. It’s like Christmas come early!

When I get off the metro and see the streets of DC shut down- make-shift stables in place of the usual cars and busses, I feel like the two things that make me who I am- my home and my sport- have finally come together. The sight is amazing. There are young children who are around the age I was when my love of horses began, looking starry eyed up at the horses and ponies in their stalls. Maybe one day they’ll be the ones in that arena. There are groups of equestrians, all sporting shirts with names and slogans of their own farms, laughing and having a good time together. They always remind me of the amazing friend’s I too have made because of this sport.

Then of course there are the vendors. I won’t even get started on how dangerous for my wallet that is, but needless to say I always come home from Washington International Horse Show with more than just memories. But who am I to complain about getting new gear?

Then you enter the arena and the night begins. The events of the night include Jack Russell Terrier races, the Shetland Pony Steeplechase, and the junior hunters

And of course introduce the (human) stars of the night. Seeing my idols in person never fails to make me squeal

Then the real fun begins. Each horse comes into the arena one by one and the horse and rider teams jump fences bigger than I could ever dream of. Watching these animals in action reminds me of the true grace and elegance of this sport. And of course getting to say “I watched Beezie Madden, Jessica Springsteen, Guy McLean, and Reed Kessler all jump off tonight practically in my backyard” is a pretty fun horse-style brag.

As always, I come armed with my camera ready to snap some photos of horses worth more than some houses.

As the night comes to a close, the final ribbon is handed out and the arena’s occupants spill back out onto the city street. My friends and I always make sure to stop at Shake Shack, new merchandise and cameras in tow- already ready for next year’s show.

#TDC2078

Okay this is incredibly cringey and very long so I’m sorry in advance, but this email was one of, if not the, most defining moment of my life. This was the email I sent to LiftMeUp, the barn I volunteered up from age 11 (yes, I lied in my email! I wanted to seem older!) until my junior year of high school. Here I learned about horses for the first time, made amazing memories, learned so much more than I can imagine, and most importantly- made friendships that I have to this day. I met three girls who are still my best friends at this barn. At the time I wanted to volunteer because my parents wouldn’t allow me to take horseback riding lessons and I was desperate to spend any possible time with horses. LiftMeUp cemented my passion and introduced me to people who became critical in helping me achieve my goals of being an equestrian.
I’m so proud to say that exactly a week ago today, I bought my first horse. I guarantee it wouldn’t have been possible if 11 year old me hadn’t stuck her neck out and sent this email!

My Daily Creates

Through Slack, I have discovered “daily creates,” which I think are my new favorite thing. I had a hard time picking a few to do, because they were all so fun (my friends and I sat around my kitchen table laughing at the prompts.)
These were a few of the prompts I picked on my first time around!

#TCD2054

“This is my favorite photo from my Colorado trip. We spent a ton of time riding, and riding with the mountains in the back felt super authentic.”

#TCD2067

#TDC1876