Thursday, May 13, 2010

Daffodil................The Select Rider Champion

Part 1

We were close to where the first wreck had happened and something caught my horse's attention again. Legs tucked his b*tt and jumped forward two strides before rounding back up and slowing down. My heart sank at another class ruined by those imaginary trolls. Still I learned a long time ago you never quit riding because of a mistake, I worked the rest of the ride just like I had worked the first.

Obviously my horse was not frightened like he had been that first spook of the show. His heart was not pounding out of his chest nor was he jumping out of his skin at each new sound. Still this mistake had been a big one in my eyes but the horse seemed to settle back in like it hadn't happened. I was happy for the improvement. Progress in any form is good.

We had to lope through that same area again as we made a complete lap around the arena at the lope. The horse didn't seem to mind. I did keep him off the rail so I could push him off my leg into it to keep him focused. Legs went through like nothing had happened. Still I was relieved when they called for the jog. I was hoping to get by with only one incident in this class instead of several like that first day.

When the announcer asked us to jog and come into the line-p the horse made a pretty transition down while I had a mini debate about which route I would take into the line-up. When given the opportunity I had been taking a reverse into the line instead of travelling all the way down the rail and into line. Mostly I was taking the shorter route trying to avoid more mistakes.

This time the long route won out. I figured I had enough of the horse's attention to get him down that rail and past the judges one more time without him searching for trolls. I knew if something unexpected happened, I'd probably loose him again but I figured at this point the odds should be in my favor with all the times the unexpected had managed to seek us out.

Whether it was the odds and finally some luck, it turned out my choice to take the long route didn't blow up in my face. We made our way down the rail in one final pass before both judges before we jogged into the line up without incident.

I was relieved to have reached the line up without further trouble but I figured my success in the select rider class, at this show anyway, was toast. I stroked my horse's neck while the judge checked bits and curb chains. The photographer took line-up shots while the judges finished their cards. I panned the audience looking for familiar faces still stroking Legs. I think both of us were glad this show was over.

Once the cards were in, I listened to see who had won this class. I hadn't seen enough of the other rides to know who could be in the top slot. I hadn't seen anything that said anyone but me had had a wreck either but then, just like the judges don't see everything that happens in the ring, the exhibitors and the spectators don't as well. I had no clues who this champion might be.

I knew I must have missed something when I heard my number called out as the unanimous champion. I jogged my horse over to the point on the wall pointed out by the photographer's wife. I figured by her expression she had seen what we'd done. I asked her quickly if she had and she nodded commenting, "obviously they didn't and that's what counts."

Graciously accepting awards one doesn't think one has earned is part of horse showing I've also learned. Sometimes you win when you think your shouldn't. Other times you don't when you think you should. Many believe that it balances out in the end. I don't know if that's true but arguing with the judges isn't really an option so Legs and I did the next best thing and posed with our awards.

We had our picture taken with championship ribbons and our "loot" as a friend called it. To be honest I've never had a ribbon hung on me before and that's where the second one went......up on the top of my chaps wherever the award giver could find to hook it. Then she took her position holding up the awards so the pics could be taken.

After that we waited for the other awards to be given so we could make our victory pass down the rail and out the gate. Legs wasn't really sure what to think of being the last one out of this class. He's used to all that hooping and hollering at the end..........just not for him. He jigged a bit right before we hit the gate until I laughingly called him a silly boy. He knows those words mean he's making a fool out of himself..........and he stopped jigging and let lose with a deep sigh.

Later Colleen told me there were several wrecks in that class and mine was minor compared to the others. I'll have to trust her on that I guess because there was nothing I had seen. Either way, Legs was the unanimous western pleasure select rider champion for Daffodil and that was cool..........wreck or not! That's our first unanimous championship and I hope there will be many more.

I had already decided that I wanted to talk with the judges. With all the breaks of gait and troll searching I was feeling insecure. The toll of the last couple of years seems to have shaken my confidence and the happenings at this show hadn't help that much.
The best way I know to tell if my perception is right about my horse is to ask the judges. I've been doing it all of my show career. Input from judges has been an important source of feedback for me. Even with the success in the championship I decided I was going to hang around until the end of the show and talk with the judges. With regionals fast approaching I had decisions to make and all the ups and downs had me confused about whether I wanted to go show or stay at home.

I remembered John Rannenburg last year had encouraged me to show at regionals but I also wondered about loosing my select rider status. One more top five at the regional level and I will be out of that division. Since it doesn't look like I will make nationals of any kind this year, I wasn't sure if I should be doing that.

Both the Canadian and US National Shows have added select rider to their schedule. Since select rider status is determined at the start of each year, it didn't make sense to lose it and not be able to advantage of that division at the national level. I had a lot to think about and the input of both judges would give me valuable input in making that determination.

For those who don't know the protocol for speaking to judges, it's appropriate to speak with the USEF steward to request time to speak with the judges. That can only happen once the show is ended. Then the steward approaches the judge to see if the judge will speak with the exhibitor. Once permission is granted the exhibitor can then approach the judge.

To be continued....................


  1. Congrats ! It ssounds like an excellent ride other than the oops part , I suspect you dodged a bullet in that either the other "wrecks" were worse.Or teh remainder of your ride was that much better . YOu seem to have a very good self awareness that I bet shows well in your performance

  2. Congrats on your win!! All that hard work really paid off for you and Leggs! I am so happy for you!

  3. Congratulation! Thats an awesome win to be unanimous.

  4. HEy! Thanks for the process to speak with the judge - I knew peple did that but I didn't know there was a structured way to do it!!!

    Also, CONGRADS! YAY PONY! Legs is too awesome, even when there ARE trolls.

  5. Awesome!@!!!!! Congratulations, you make a great team.

  6. It's so nice to see Legs getting the recognition he deserves and this is with him not at his best. Well done

  7. Congratulations on a great win! Sometimes you do not need to know the why; you were!

  8. YAYYY! Congratulations!! I think you deserve it, you and Legs work so hard (I know everyone else does too). I love hearing about your accomplishments in the ring. I'm sorry he had that one bobble, but it sounds like it was kind of small and that he recovered very quickly.

  9. WoooHooo! Congratulations on your championship. You and Legs deserve it or all the hard work you do. I'm so happy for you both.

  10. Congratulations. Mistakes or not, I am sure it was a well deserved victory. We all need that win once in a while.

    I'm anxious to hear what the judges had to say.

  11. This is great news! You and Legs are getting the recognition you deserve. Congratulations!

  12. Congratulations on your win! What a beautiful horse and interesting read on showing a horse. How fun! -Tammy

  13. I am so happy for you, even if you don't feel like you really deserved it, from reading your blog I think with all the work you have put in, that you definately deserved the wins!!!

    I hope your talk with the judges went well.

    Karren from Australia