Victory Lap

“Life is a dreary continuum made bearable by those moments of excitement. It’s called feeling alive.”  Lee Monroe

The Morgan Grand National & World Championship Horse Show was an adventure this year, that’s for sure.  My flight was super early Saturday morning and we arrived in Oklahoma City by late morning and drove around a little bit before heading to the show grounds to watch the show get started.

My lap of honor with JDS Paladin Pazazz – so exciting!

Upon arriving, I worked as a groom for the entire week.  I took care of the horses and got them “beautified” for their classes.  The only times this became tricky was when I was showing (the other groom – also named Sarah – really helped out during this!) and when we had multiple horses in classes that were close together.  Mostly, it just kept us on our toes.  As the show continued, our classes spread out and the level of business slowed down.

When it comes to showing, I love being in the ring.  It always gives me an adrenaline rush going down the chute and I fill with happiness when I’m in there – especially when I’m having a good drive/ride.

My first class was driving Argento and overall it was a good drive.  We came fourth out of six.  After that, I had a “day off” and then I showed JDS Paladin Pazazz in the Youth Park Saddle class, which was an amazing experience.  Trainers on the sideline – even ones with other horses in the class – were telling my trainer we had the horse to beat.  Unfortunately, horse shows are always subjected to the opinion(s) of the judge(s), so I placed fifth in my class.  (Of course this is frustrating, but after so many years of showing, you tend to get used to it and just vent with your trainers and other barn members about it when it’s all over.)

The next class I had was another driving class with Argento, which was rough.  Due to this and a couple other factors, we opted not to show him in the saddle class.  Again, this sort of thing happens at shows and you take it for what it is.

My final class of the show was the Youth Park Harness class with JDS Paladin Pazazz.  We had a good warm up and my trainer informed me there were four World Champion horses in my class (one of which happened to be my horse) of five participants.  My trainer also enlightened me that my class is the hardest youth class he’s ever seen.  (Thanks.  Let’s just add to the nerves a little.)

Here we are celebrating! L-R: Me, JDS Paladin Pazazz, and Tina Lessnau (his owner).

Before I knew it, the announcer was calling for my class and it was time to go in.  Like every other class, I went down the chute, hit the show ring, and gave it my all – and I’m 99.5% sure my horse did the same.  At the end of the class, in the line-up, my trainer and I were both happy with the way things had gone, so all we could do was wait for the placings to be called. 

As I had assumed, Merriehill Home Stretch took Grand National Champion – he was the Open Park Harness horse last year, so it was no surprised he placed well.  Then, to my surprise, JDS Paladin Pazazz’s number and name was announced for the Reserve Grand National Champion placing.  I started bouncing in the cart and grinning from ear to ear.  This was definitely the highlight of the show!

The rest of the week was pretty good by comparison; our barn faced some tough competition and held our own as best we could.  Four Points Farm took seven horses down to Oklahoma, but my Youth Park Harness class was the highest placing for my barn all week.  Then, on the last day, we tore everything down and packed it all up to come back next year.  Now we spend the winter season working the horses and ourselves to prepare for next year.

As for other things in my life, I now have a bit more time to focus on school and work.  I do have quite a few things I’ve been catching up on since being back, so that’s where most of my focus lies.  All I have now is finishing up my senior year at Albion College.

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