My first sighting of Christian was at Eric's course walk at Rolex 2012. I didn't know him then. My only focus was to listen as intently as possible to the commentary because I was trying to soak in everything I could learn from Eric through his clinics, videos, and teachings before moving down to North Carolina later that spring.
I remember being annoyed that this tall, gangly, blonde kid kept getting in front of me, easily keeping up with the course walk with his long legs and squeezing into all the good spots to hear Eric talk about each fence. Little did I know we would be living together shortly after.
Some people are just easy to be friends with. Christian's relaxed, humorous nature made it easy to like him. His passion as a horseman and talent as a rider made it easy to admire him. His caring, giving, hardworking attitude made it easy to rely on him.
All those things made it so much harder to lose him.
There was a memorial service tonight at Renovatio Farm where we lived together as working students for Eric and Trayce. It looks like there was a lovely candlelit service to remember and honor Christian's memory. I wish I could have been there and not working, but life keeps moving forward no matter how we feel.
I'm back here at Kentucky talking with lots of horse enthusiasts every day for my work. I wonder how many of them are as amazing and incredible of people as Christian was. I wonder how many of them have a whole army of family and friends rooting them on to succeed with their dreams.
I hope some of the young riders I meet will become the new generation of passionate, hardworking students. I hope they put their heart and soul into everything they do the way Christian did. I hope some of them have that infectious positivity where they light up a room just by being there.
It still hurts that you're gone.
I don't know if it ever won't.
I'll try to be grateful for the time we had, instead of sad about the time we lost. I'll keep trying to find that feeling at full gallop every now and then.
Live like Christian. Love like Christian. Ride for Christian.