More than a decade ago my husband and I went to the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event as spectators. We walked through the fabulous vendor fair, bought too much, enjoyed wildly overpriced food, greeted old friends and marveled at the cross country course.
On that beautiful spring morning in April we found ourselves in a crowd behind the spectator ropes right behind the entrance at A, watching Karen O’Connor enter at A on the unforgettable Biko. As we watched mesmerized, up drove a golf cart with a young driver and not-so-young passenger. They pushed through the crowd with the cart until they were right up front. We could all see over the cart, so it was no problem to anyone. It became apparent that the older woman was the owner as she commented on the test, “Oh dear, a little tight there, wasn’t our boy?” “Oooh, good man, Biko, cookies tonight.” “Wasn’t that lovely. Good man.”
It was charming and it reminded us that even Rolex horses are simply somebody’s love. Her endearing comments made all the fabulous horses we saw that weekend more real and accessible. And in some strange way, it raised my own horses to a more Rolex-like status. After all, the Rolex horses were just somebody’s horse. And my horse was somebody’s horse.
So I went home and unpacked and on that Monday I asked myself what Biko and Karen were doing that day. Obviously, good Biko had the day off after his work at Rolex, but imagining that there was someone who cleaned his stall that morning, and would walk him this afternoon for a stretch, reminded me that the daily work of riding, cleaning stalls and loving attention is what makes a horse and rider great. No rider is alone any day as long as she remembers that thousands of people are out riding, making small changes, doing the deal to make small improvements in themselves and their horses everyday. You need only to find one small thing to improve in your riding every day to make a huge cumulative improvement.
“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.” -Jim Rohn