Normal is old and new

A year ago, cancellations of everything from horse shows to weddings crowded our email.

Ten months later, armed with masks and vaccines and like Rip Van Winkle, stepping out into a changing world is a growing possibility.

Our new normal connects the old with the new in the horse world, too.

Last weekend, I struck out to attend the Swing into Spring USDF Level Two Dressage competition sponsored by the New Mexico Dressage Association. I came not to compete but to breathe in the fresh air and watch beginners and advanced riders strut their stuff in the show ring.

I was rusty on many levels. I struggled to remember how to use my camera. I skirted around the show grounds making sure to either keep my mask on or maintain a social distance. But mainly, I relished during the bright sunny day knowing that though I may stumble adjusting to the hybrid of our lives in some form was returning.

I had the pleasure of meeting Stephanie Busley and her striking partner, Ziggy Stardust. Bowie is a twelve-year-old Dutch Warmblood/Thoroughbred cross but is registered as a Canadian Warmblood. Bowie used to be a 1.4 m jumper but is learning dressage so that his owner can get started on the discipline basics.

Stephanie is the owner/operator of Endeavor Equestrian in Eagle, Colorado. Stephanie’s thirty-year career training horses and riders span all aspects of equine wellness. Her vast experience ranges from being a 3* Event competitor to earning her USDF Gold medal. Stephanie has also been a top groom for international and Olympic riders.

Bowie and Stephanie’s visit to Santa Fe proved successful. Ziggy and Stephanie competed at first level and rode in the first level test one open division. For a former jumper, Ziggy’s work ethic proved useful in the ring and earned him multiple blue ribbons.

Bowie and Stephanie do not travel alone. Cesar Galdamez, their go-to groom, has been by Stephanie’s side for nine years. Ziggy looks like he enjoys his right-hand human and knows that when Cesar pulls out the show braids, his commitment in the show ring is done for the day.

The return on in-person horse shows demonstrates how we are all slowly reclaiming our lives and passions. One show at a time.

In the meantime, stay safe and stay horsey!