On Sunday afternoon, I was sitting in the warm and sunny concourse of the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park, charging my phone and killing time while I waited for Fender’s Prix St. Georges awards. This is the one thing I don’t love about the USDF Finals—it seems like no matter what I qualify for, it will be on Sunday afternoon, and a part of the 5 p.m. awards ceremony.

Fortunately, this was our third year here (and our third year in the same boat), so we’re pretty much professionals at it. After my ride, my working student, Daisy, and I ran off to lunch at the movies (we saw The Martian; it was fantastic), where I surreptitiously checked my phone every few rides to see if I stayed in the top 10, and that led me to the sitting, killing time.

I had to keep my eye on that scoreboard because Fender gave me the best 10 minutes of our career together… in the warm-up. It’s a struggle with any young, still-developing horse—how to make them fit without burning them out—but I’ve had another factor to consider over the last few months for Fender. That this is our last show together, before his new owner takes the reins. I wanted Fender to stay fresh and fun to the work, and not be too fit coming into winter.

Read the rest at The Chronicle of The Horse!