My New Dance Partner, Taldi

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Can I cut in? Enter, Carlingford?s Taldi. With only have two weeks left before the selection trials for the Paralympic Games in London, I have added a second dance partner to my mix.? I was given the opportunity to take over the ride on Taldi last week. ?Taldi is a 15-year-old Irish Sport horse gelding owned by Jessica Ransehousen.? He is a success story in his own right.? Taldi foundered five years ago and wasn?t expected to make a recovery, let alone begin another competitive career.? Today he is working at a higher level than before he had his injury.? Though it is a new partnership, I am excited about working toward the selection trials with him as well as with LoLu.?? There is nothing like jumping in with both feet!?? As a dry run for trials and the competition in NY, I took LoLu and Taldi to a local competition for practice this last Wednesday. We didn't have the most ideal warm-up as the ring was next to a pair of nesting geese, who didn't really appreciate having a horse trotting by their nest.? Mr. Goose proceeded to tell LoLu and me off by chasing us out of ?his half? of the warm-up ring.? To LoLu?s credit, he kept all four feet on the ground and just made some hasty sidesteps to avoid the (rather annoyed) hissing and flapping soon-to-be papa goose.??? LoLu went into the competition arena a little preoccupied after our warm-up.? He lacked his normal powerhouse personality; I think his head was still in the clouds or, in this case, in the arena with the birds.? Despite this, he still had a respectable test, putting down a 70%.?? I danced the next number with Taldi.? Since Taldi and I are new to each other, I opted to do a modified warm-up to avoid Papa-Goose.? I warmed him up in the grass arena away from the nesting geese.? It produced a happier result for everybody.? Taldi was all business, and without the added stimulus of our feathered friend, stayed nicely relaxed.? Taldi also put in a good test and actually won the day with a 71%. I have one event left in Saratoga, NY, as final preparation for trials, and I am definitely beginning to feel the pressure.? The world around me is fading, as the arena and my partners take center stage.? I feel a little like Cinderella must have felt as she paused before entering those ballroom doors.? At the same time, I love the anticipation and the intensity of working for hours to prepare for one moment.? It gives you a ?no holds barred? mind set--that now or never feeling.? I have doubled the horsepower; now let the fun begin.??? The Cinderella?s Ball that seemed a lifetime away four years ago after the end of the Beijing games is now here at my front door.

Becca Hart on Taldi |Courtesy Lindsay McCall

Becca Hart on Taldi |Courtesy Lindsay McCall