If dressage shows are like little horse villages, than BLMs is the capital city. Everywhere we went at the Championships, you saw horse people - Hilda Gurney waiting in the lobby, Canaan Ranch at the Happy Apple for dinner and TeamworkDressage's trailer at the toll booth. Short of Florida and Devon, there is also no place I have been to that allows you to see such good riding/training around every corner.
Within feet of each other, I saw Heather Mason put in a gorgeous ride - that won her class - and Chris Hickey warming up Michael on his FEI mount. On the adjoining hill, L program participants were learning with Lois Yukins and I had the extraordinary chance to ride all of my non-FEI classes for Anne Gribbons, Hilda Gurney, Lisa Schmidt and Angela Littlefield... which taught me to be thankful for a master judge's eye, even if it is intimidating!
Being around so many skilled dressage competitors, judges, trainers and other professionals made every big (and small) success this past weekend even sweeter. There are only so many people to give you feedback at home and besides your trainer(s), it is sometimes hard to believe that your friends/family aren't just giving flattering you. However, when an Olympic judge tells you it was good, you believe it - and suddenly you believe your friends at home a little bit more.