Palisade grad earns U.S. Pony Club “B” rating in eventing
Nadine Janecek is an athlete who understands overcoming adversity.
The 18-year-old Palisade woman recently earned her United States Pony Club “B” rating in the equestrian sport of eventing at a testing July 18-19 in Longmont.
The “B” rating is the second-highest rating awarded by the Pony Club, and for Janecek, it was the culmination of two years of hard work and dedication.
It didn’t come without a few stumbles along the way.
“I’ve been preparing for this test for over two years,” said Janecek, who has competed in eventing for the past seven years. “I’ve traveled pretty much all the way across the country to work with different people to help me get ready for it.”
During the testing, Janecek and her horse, Jewel, had performed well through the first two events, dressage and show jumping. When it came for the final event, cross country, Janecek had to transport her horse to a different location.
This is when things took an interesting turn.
Jewel had strange reaction to being in the horse trailer, and began to buck.
“We put her in the trailer and she went a little nuts,” Janecek said. “She ended up getting her hind leg caught on the divider of the trailer and got a rather large laceration on her belly.”
While Jewel was being transported the equine hospital at Colorado State University, Janecek was forced to switch horses for the cross country course.
Cross country is a difficult challenge for both the rider and horse, with the course sending the pair down hills, across water and over jumps.
“Cross country is solid obstacles, and you are going fast on various terrain, so they like you to be on your own horse,” Janecek said. “But that wasn’t an option for me, and the examiners were really flexible about letting me borrow a horse.”
Riding a borrowed horse, Maui, Janecek overcame her emotions to put together a solid enough ride in cross country to earn her “B” rating.
“When something like that happens, you have to put it in the back of your mind,” Janecek said.
“You say, ‘I have to get this done, and I can’t think about my own horse.’ ”
Learning she earned the rating was an exciting moment for her.
“You put all of that work into it and there is always that chance that the examiner you get that
day won’t like your style, “ Janecek said. “But when they say ‘OK, you got it,’ it’s so gratifying, and you do the happy dance in the parking lot.”
The weekend in Longmont was a satisfying cap to a eventing career of nearly a decade for Janecek.
She recently graduated from Palisade High School with a 4.0 grade point average, and will attend Colorado School of Mines in the fall, majoring in mechanical engineering, with a bio-engineering and life science emphasis.
Janecek was able to accomplish all that academically while spending nearly six months away from school the past two years training in Florida and Nebraska.
Janecek stayed in contact with her teachers through e-mail and phone calls.
“You have to dedicate yourself to these testings, because they don’t just give them away,” Janecek said.
As for pursuing the “A” rating, Janecek said she thinks her days in eventing might be coming to an end. That doesn’t mean she is done riding, though.
While training in eventing, Janecek became enamored of the discipline and precision of dressage.
“This summer I fell in love with dressage,” Janecek said. “There are so many little fine-tuning things you can do with it, so I will transition into dressage.”
As for Jewel, the 18-year-old horse required 14 stitches, but is recovering well at Janecek’s home in Palisade.