This post is more personal than my usual topics, but I thought it would be really fun for my readers! I hope y’all enjoy.
I first started riding in 2009 at a stable called Hillview. I was super excited because I had been wanting to ride horses for literally as long as I could remember. All I knew was that these horses were Saddlebreds and the discipline was Saddleseat. Looking back now, we probably should have done more research before just hoping on some fancy Saddlebred show horses to learn. I had no idea what Saddleseat even was! So I went to this barn and the first horse I rode was a little Hackney Pony named Rooty. He was this adorable little bay who loved peppermints. So anyways, with time I moved up to a Saddlebred named Calvin (Calloway’s Main Event) [also, he’s retired now and it makes me sad.] He was a huge chestnut and he was an amazing dude.
The fairground was about fifteen minutes from the stable, and once every summer they have a Saddleseat show. After about six months of riding my trainer approached me about riding in a couple of classes at the show. I never really planned on showing, I used to dream of being a competitive show jumper and what-not, but I figured that would be later in life. I decided to give it a shot, I mean I loved Calvin and riding was very fun.
So at the show, my trainer helped me get everything ready and explained to me exactly what was going to happen. When it was my turn, I got a leg-up and set off for the arena. I entered at a trot and just performed like I practiced and hoped for the best. I went around the arena at a walk-trot a couple of laps both directions. Then, every competitor lined up in the center. The judge started with third place, “so and so will take third prize,” then second, “John Doe takes second!” By this point, I just knew that I wasn’t even in the running because there was no way I got first place at my first class at my first show. I kept smiling and clapping, though, because sportsmanship, duh. “And finally, first place goes to Calloway’s Main Event!” That was my horse!!! My trainer looked up at me and was so very proud. I collected my ribbon and posed for pictures with the second and third place winners.
That moment got me hooked on showing! Of any discipline. Now, I ride hunter jumpers, but the feeling is the same, I love the fun in competition, winning or losing it’s all exciting and totally worth it.
Share with me your first show experience in the comments!