Monday, January 16, 2012


You know you need to drop everything and write when there is this image that does not stop intruding...  It wants and needs to be heard.  All that I planned to do and all those things I keep trying to get at can wait just a lil' bit so I can clear the thought that just keeps intruding...

Peter Gray spoke at the USEA Area 1 Annual Meeting.  He was soft-spoken, humble with a surprising and wonderful dry wit.  I was captivated.  My fellow Area 1 Eventer and blogger, Katie Murphy wrote a fabulous summary of his key points about riding Cross Country effectively and safely.  I would encourage you to read it too.
On her way to the top
Photo by Jeff Phaneuf, Eventer Dad

Every little girl has a dream...  remember yours?  Do you remember the beauty of a simple dream?  It is that image, that thought that begs to be heard.

After his presentation, he opened up the floor to questions.  You had the usual and expected - When to move up? (Never, when you're ready, better a year or two later than a day too early.) - Who will win the Olympics? (Well.. not sure... Germany or the US) - Do you miss the Long Format? (Loves it, but no.) and on and on.

Then this young girl raises her hand high - straight and unwavering.  "What advice would you give a Young Rider that wants to go all the way to the top?" Let me emphasize her words, her dream, "all the way to the top."  Her quiet intensity was powerful...  again, "all the way to the top."

Peter answered kindly, with a gentle smile:
  1. Have your dream but, most importantly, love your horse first!
  2. Develop good people skills!  Be nice to everyone - trainers, competitors, organizers, judges, officials - everyone! (Because someone out there could be your sponsor.)
  3. Be nice to everyone!
  4. Get educated!
Her eyes never wavered as she stared listening to the answer.  I wish I had gotten her name because, based on her intensity, one day I will be watching Rolex thinking, "Wow, she did make it to the top!"

And for those of us that are right now, living our dream and whose top may just be Elementary, Novice or Preliminary...  He had the same message:

Most importantly, LOVE YOUR HORSE FIRST!


Miranda said...

That is amazing. I hope that girl gets all the way to the top. He gave great advice. He is totally right about being nice to everyone

KC said...

Perfect. I love it. How funny (and wonderful) that all of us adults can take that piece of advice away for ourselves too.

I remember asking questions like that when I was her age...and it's so great to see young kids that have the fire in the belly and are willing to go out on a limb and ask the question. I wanted to hug her!

Susan said...

My coach, sometimes boss and local event organizer came home with the same take away message from Peter........Love your Horse!!!

Boss Mare Eventing said...

Peter is amazing. He judged a horse trial I was at and when I warming up for stadium he pulled me aside and said I judged you right? I said yes, then he said he could see I was doing the best I could to get the most out of my horse, and that he thought my horse was very lovely and one to watch for in the future.

It made my day and I will never forget his kind words.

Suzanne said...

BeBe... that just brought tears to my eyes... what a fabulous person. And, after listening and watching him... I believe every word.