What a season! There were a lot of ups and downs for Miles and I this year, but in the end I learned and accomplished a lot. This was the first year I completed an entire show season from May through December with Miles, which was a big goal of mine. So let’s see how things shook out:
By The Numbers
- 7 Shows Attended
- 3 National/A-Rated
- 2 Regional I/B-Rated
- 2 Local/Unrated
- 53 Classes Shown
- 43 Hunter Trips
- 1 Equitation Trips
- 9 Under Saddle Classes
- 42 Ribbons Won
- 2 Division Reserve Champions
- 3 First Places
- 3 Second Places
- 7 Third Places
- 10 Fourth Places
- 3 Fifth Places
- 9 Sixth Places
- 3 Seventh Places
- 2 Eighth Places
This year I averaged one show per month May through October, showing almost exclusively in 2’6″ hunter classes. It felt really good to have a full year of experience in the division I’m currently at. I worked hard to move up to 2’6″, and by the end of the year I finally felt like I could be competitive at that height. I learned a lot about pace, and ended the season beginning to work on finessing my rounds, rather than just getting the correct pace and surviving.
- Reserve Champion 2’6″ Pre-Child/Adult Thoroughbred Hunter
- Reserve Champion 2’6″ Handy Hunter Non-Pro
- 1st in Handy Hunter Non-Pro Under Saddle
- 5th of 19 in 2’6″ Intermediate Adult Hunter
- 1st of 8 in 2’6″ Thoroughbred Hunter
- Showed a full season at 2’6″!
Those are probably the ribbons I’m most proud of from this season. Two Reserves, despite doing the add-stride at that horse show, plus a win Under Saddle!
Placing 5th of 19 in the regular Intermediate Adults was a huge high moment for me — it was a very competitive division in the bigger ring and knowing I could place and be competitive was an awesome moment. And in our last class of the entire season, I pulled out a win in the Thoroughbred Hunters against a few professionals, which meant the world to me! And of course, overall I finally learned how to keep Miles sound and happy enough to complete an entire show season.
- How to ride my horse through the bad moments
- Got comfortable riding the correct pace
- Learned to prep my own horse
- Showed in Ring I at the new facility
This season started off extremely rocky, including me wanting to sell Miles in May. At that first show, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to ride or show by own horse. And in May, June and July I had the working student school Miles the day before and ride him in warm-up classes. But by the end of the season, I was not only NOT selling my horse, I was riding and prepping him exclusively by myself. I gained so much confidence and really learned how to ride through Miles’s bad behavior. Another huge mental victory for me was riding for the first time in the bigger Ring I at the new Willow Way Equestrian Center show facility.
This season was my most emotional, and the toughest in a lot of ways. A big reason that Miles and I ended up so successful was due to our phenomenal support system, composed of a ton of people:
- My Husband, Sam: For all the late nights worrying about tough decisions, for always supporting me and keeping your streak of NEVER missing a class — you’re my rock and absolutely NONE of this would be possible without you.
- Trainer: For never giving up on me, and pushing me to be a better rider… all while always keeping me safe. For taking me to every show despite all that you had going on and for answering my never-ending stream of questions on everything from shoeing to pace to riding on the trails.
- Working Student Nichole: For working your ass off before the season riding my horse, schooling him at shows and riding him in the warm-up so I was able to keep my horse and be successful even when I didn’t think I could.
- #TeamBrookside Claire, Lydia, and Grace: For cheering us on ALWAYS, helping take care of Miles at shows, and for all your moral support day in and day out!
- My Family: Thanks to mom and dad for driving hours to watch me show, even when I’m not sure if I’ll even ride. For bringing food, hanging out in the blistering heat and supporting my horse habit even into adulthood. You guys are the best.
- Barn Manager Dianne: Thanks for dealing with Princess Miles’s numerous requirements to stay sound including special turnout instructions, week after meals and always packing our grain for every show!
It takes a big team to keep an adult amateur riding and showing, and I certainly couldn’t do it without every single person on this list stepping up and helping me out. So thanks guys, I love you <3