Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Horse Showing in Happy Valley: Part Two

Couldn't help thinking of that movie Children of the Corn...
Hello again.  I thought I'd give an update on the rest of our away show adventures at the Lion Country Horse Show.

On the second day of showing Noah was slated to do a derby class, which he'd never done before.  Our trainer knew we were trying to make the most of our show experience, so after Noah did well on the first day she asked if we wanted to give the derby on the following day a try.  What the heck, we figured.  Pfffffftttt.  Had I known what it cost to enter the class, I would have given it a pass.  This is where our lack of show experience came in -- I had no idea the class fee for a derby was waaaaaayyyyyy more than for a normal hunter division.  Ignorance is bliss, I guess.

Because this was his first attempt, we had no expectations whatsoever, which translated to absolutely no nerves.  We got to the show early and took James out for a good graze, then a nice long hack around the grounds and some neighboring fields.  When it got close to class time they did a relaxed warm up and then headed off to the in-gate to memorize their courses.  As it was the Fourth of July and Crazy Hat Day, the girls from our barn had decorated each other's and Noah's helmets, so as he headed up to the ring Noah looked like a bedazzled General Patton.  (I was really surprised he let the girls do that because he's kind of a keep-it-under-the-radar kind of dude, but I could tell he felt very happy to be included.)

The new Captain America model riding helmet...
Noah and James went in to the ring and proceeded to lay down the best round I've ever seen them do. (I'm actually lucky I saw it.  I had every intention of taking pictures but then realized I couldn't see a damn thing so ditched the camera and just took memory pictures with my eyes.) Their rhythm was relaxed, their distances spot on, and they nailed all the high options to score some bonus points.  Noah was light and following with his hands (something he's been working on) and this translated into a very happy, relaxed James.  Noah left the ring absolutely beaming and patting James profusely. His smile got even bigger when their score was announced as an 82, putting them in second place.

We had a moment or two of anxiety over the handy round, as it required them to do a trot fence, which they'd not practiced that much at home.  Their handy round was not quite as smooth as the previous round (dang trot jump!) but they still scored well enough to remain in second.  Holy crap!!  The kid had just completed his first derby (admittedly a baby one - not the height of the national or international derbies) and had gotten a second place!  He actually got to be in a victory lap, which was way cool.  Needless to say there was much rejoicing, and James was given many treats and pats, another long graze and an extra long massage from Mom.  What made the day extra special is that our barn-mate Carly and her wonder-mare Kalifornia Dreamin' won the National Derby later that afternoon - it was an abundance of awesomeness!

So proud of my boys!!
Carly, her mom Kathy, and Kalifornia Dreamin'
The rest of our week was wonderful.  Noah went to the lake with the rest of the kids, we spent a night making s'mores around the hotel's fire pit.  We did dinner with our barn family almost every night.  Noah did a couple classes Saturday and Sunday, and he did well.  He didn't have another round like he did in the derby, but there was a good mix of good moments and teaching moments.  Most importantly, he was spending a ton of bonding time with his horse, and learning all kinds of things about grooming and horse management.

Mom! Please! Put the camera away.
S'mores! (The dog in the pic is actually named S'mores!)
Inspecting the course

I was loving life too.  You know what it's like when you spend most of your day working and running around with the kids and then running to spend what precious free time you can steal with your horse.   It was so wonderful to have my whole entire day be about spending time with our horse, and with people who felt the same way as we do about horses.  It's kinda like wandering around lost and then finally finding your tribe.  OK, maybe that was a bit melodramatic, but you know what I mean.

So there you have it.  Noah's first big away show.  We had a blast, a lot of laughs, and a ton of mother/son bonding time.  Who knows, it may be another 3 years before we can do something like this again.  Heck, we may never get to do another away show again, so I'm glad that both the kids and I have had the experience once. I'm most proud of the fact that we spent each moment of the experience taking it in and enjoying every moment of it, and thanking James profusely for his part in making it happen.


  1. <3 That's a HUGE success for a weekend! Congrats to all of you!

  2. Aw congrats to him! What a great memory and experience :)

  3. Fabulous! I'm very happy for you and your family. I can totally relate to the "finding your tribe" thing. I've made so many very close friends in our horse showing world.