An Incredible 2016

Photo by Cindy Lawler

Photo by Cindy Lawler

As I sit on the porch over looking the pastures of Zaragoza Acres owned by Hannah and Antonio Salazar, I cannot help but reflect on the past, love the present moment and look ahead to the future. I sit here watching a bay horse graze in his field, that same bay horse I watched kick up his heels and peel around the round pen last January at his owner’s racing facility. From the first time I saw Billy, he had a look in his eye. The same look I’d see in his eye every day I’d tack him up to tackle a new cross country course. The look was brave and proud, it was a look of confidence. It was the look of a best friend.

This past weekend at the 2016 Fair Hill International has been so special to me. Standing in the arena while Unmarked Bills was awarded the 2016 USEF National Young Horse Reserve Champion award, I thought about our first milestones together: sitting on Billy three days after he came to my farm from the racing facility, the first cross rail I trotted him over, his first event, right down to his first CCI** track he stormed around Saturday morning. Billy has given me an unforgettable journey and something to be incredibly proud of. He has always believed in me, the way I believed in him. Thank you for a weekend I’ll never forget, Billy, and an even more unforgettable year. You’re a true champion!

I want to thank everyone who made this event possible: his owners, my family and friends, my trainer Hannah Salazar, his vet Alexis Theiss, and his farrier and my photographer extraordinaire Antonio Salazar who captured so many awesome moments with his camera this week. And a huge thank you to Allison Smith and everyone who helped turn Billy out so beautifully all week. It means the world to me to have such an amazing group of people supporting my development as well as my horses.

I also want to thank my incredible sponsors: Custom Saddlery, Walsh Products, Legends Feed, Southern States of Front Royal, Stone Pony Browband, Eponia Equestrian Sports, Doug Hannum’s Equine Therapy and OceanFeed Equine.

Lastly, I want to thank my Zaragoza Acres family who showed me this year that when one door closes, there is another one opening with a brighter horizon. Antonio, Hannah and Ricardo have made this year very special to me in more ways then I can express. They have all put in so much dedication and so much time to make this all possible. I thank you for your friendship, your never wavering support, the opportunities you have given me. It has been a year to remember and a future to be excited about.

Thank you everyone for making this year possible and thank you Billy!

Chris