Sunday, March 25, 2007


I walk up to the front of the room ready with my well thought out, practiced speech running through my head. When I turn around to greet the team I realize this was the first time I have ever stood in front of a group of one hundred people with intent to speak. My mind went blank and my mouth went dry, so as you can imagine my words didn't come out quite as well as I had planned. So I did as I would on a wild horse, I took a deep breath and gathered my thoughts. I don't remember much about my speech, but it must have been pretty convincing because I was voted as CO-CAPTAIN!! :-) That means next year I will be working closely with the Captain, Caitlin, and Coach Cory to run home shows, organize lessons and run meetings. For the rest of this year I will be working with Cory and the current Captain, Emily, to learn as much I can about the organization and my future responsibilities.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Officer Nominations

Here's my chance! I can run for Captain, how cool would that be?! Today's meeting seemed to last all day because nominations are run very professionally so the procedure takes awhile. You know the deal, "I motion to open nominations" "I second it" " Nominations open" so on and so forth. I was nominated for Captain and Co-Captain. Both positions are held by seniors this year so I am not running against this years officers. Only one other student is running for Captain, she is a Junior and is well known for her success in the IHSA show ring so my guess is that she will get the position of Captain but I will try anyway! So now all I have to do is write a brilliant speech to win the heart of my fellow team mates. O jeez... wish me luck! I will let you know as soon as I find out! Ahh this is soooo exciting! :-)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

My First Western Show

My first Western show is important for two big reasons- it is my first IHSA Western competition and it is the first show that Del Val is hosting this season. So not only do I have to worry about showing, I want to make sure I am doing my part to ensure that the show is running smoothly and as efficiently as possible.

Since Del Val doesn't really have any Western trained horses, we shipped in horses from a barn down the street. It is a lot of fun to have a bunch of new faces!The best part of Western showing BY FAR is the clothes! I appreciate the simple tradition of English Equitation attire but it sure is fun to be all dressed up in Western garb-everything from the hat to the fancy patterned shirt, the fun fringed chaps and the stylish Western boots. I can't help but smile when I am ready to show! Just one problem though- it is really hard to get used to riding in those tight leather chaps. They really restrict the movement of your leg...but I guess that is the point. :-)Other than the discipline itself, the biggest difference in the way that Hunt Seat and Western shows are run is that there are two Western shows in the same day. Western shows run much faster than the Hunt Seat shows. There are a lot less members on the team therefore not so many classes. Both shows are held at the same facility, the same horses and the same riders- but a different judge is used for each show.I am really excited when it is my turn to ride. I took a lesson on a Western horse the week before and I had a very hard time adjusting to the movement of the horse. The little Quarter Horses sure are different from those long strided Warmbloods in the Hunter ring! I decide to just do my best-“Take a deep breath and stay with the horse” is my motto for the day. In the first show I anticipated a big movement from my lttle guy and I sure didn’t get what I expected! A Western judge is looking for quiet, seamless transitions-but what she probably saw was me throwing myself around- it is not a pretty picture! Oh well, live and learn- ride and learn more. Needless to say I don’t place in that class of about ten riders. I still have one more ride so I concentrate on finding the confidence to do better in the next class.
The second show goes much smoother. I ride a horse named Lux (which if you remember is the horse Ithat I rode for my placement test so I lucked out- Yeah!!) I got lucky ‘cause he is definitely the horse everyone wanted. Lux is a Pro at Western Pleasure. All I have to do is let him do his job. And I have a blast! I don't think I have ever felt a jog that slow, it is an amazing thing! And I end up in Fifth Place which I am very happy about. I think it was a success, a HUGE improvement from the first class. I have a lot to learn about Western equitation but I am willing to work really hard. I can't wait until next time!