“Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show in Oklahoma was amazing – just as it was last year. (I mean, come on, who doesn’t enjoy a weeklong horse show?)
The show started on Saturday afternoon with the mares in-hand classes and ended with the stallions in the evening. Our show got off to a good start with a top ten two-year-old mare and a Reserve Grand National three-year-old stallion.
On Sunday, I had my first class of the show: Grand National Classic Pleasure Driving Jr. Exhibitor 16-17 with JDS Absolut Flaire (a.k.a. Peanut). There were 14 competitors in my class and I was quite nervous going in because this was the biggest driving class I’d ever been in. (My biggest fear was a giant crash happening with all those horses and buggies in the class!) After a pretty good warm-up, we were ready to enter the ring.
During the class, we held our spot both directions and there were no accidents – phew. Unfortunately, Peanut broke to the canter for a couple of strides the second direction so we didn’t place, but I wasn’t disappointed. I was more excited for the riding class anyway.
Tuesday, I showed again in Grand National Classic Pleasure Saddle Jr. Exhibitor 16-17. Peanut and I had a really good warm-up and, as we were waiting for the class to start, my trainer said “You’re a little horse in a big horse class, go out there and ride hard.” I was ready and the class was unbelievable. There were 13 competitors in the class, and I had the best ride I’ve ever had with Peanut. While we finished eighth, my trainers were very pleased with the ride and I was grinning from ear to ear. (See photo for proof!)
After my World Championship saddle classes with Peanut, I had to quickly get myself ready for the Grand National Youth Park Harness Finals class with JDS Paladin Pazazz (a.k.a. Gizmo). Our warm-up was really good and my trainer said we were ready. We had a great drive and, it’s unfortunate to say that the judges didn’t like Gizmo and therefore we came fifth.
Overall, it was an unbelievably fun show. I enjoyed every second of it and had some great classes. It’s well known that horse showing is a subjective sport, but I’m pleased with the improvements I made and some personal bests occurring. I can’t wait till next year and have another year to improve even more. You can never stop growing as a rider and should constantly work on new ways to advance your talent.
Now, it’s time to change my focus again and, while still continuing my saddle seat at home, work on my dressage riding. My first show is the Albion College home show on November 20th. (Sadly, I missed the dressage team’s first show at Michigan State while I was in Oklahoma, but I heard my teammates did well and I can’t wait to rejoin them!)
Riding and showing is never over, so I’ll try to keep everyone updated on my horse-related adventures throughout the year. Emerson was right – I’m never too busy for time at the barn or with my horses.