Again, better late than never! As I look back over the year, it brings a huge smile to my face and a tear to my eye. I am overwhelmed with pride for my farm, my family and my clients, to have accomplished so much in a year. No one can do it alone, it takes a village, and it definitely was all done as a team. (insert photo of Simone and all of us at show prepping)
The highlight of our year was VHSA Associate Finals in mid-November.
It was the first season, that Simone and Sugar campaigned in Short Stirrup Hunter and they rocked! Despite limted showing, they qualified for finals and were in the top 10 going in. Simone didn’t hit 10 shows until the beginning of September, but she and Sugar Bear were Champion or Reserve at almost all of their shows. Simone still battled her nerves, but as the year was coming to an end, she was learning how to use her nervous energy for success. Riding is 90% mental and 10% physical!
Simone and Sugar put on quite a show at Finals, and came home with a fourth in Short Stirrup Eq on the flat and a fourth and eighth in Short Stirrup Hunter. Her section included most of the top ranked ponies, yet she and her "backyard" pony, really held their own. A few bobbles kept them out of the top ribbons, but I couldn’t have been any prouder. As the biggest hurdle all year was her nerves and sticking to the plan, she looked like a
seasoned pony jock in her warm up and showing. You would never have guessed this was her first finals. It was bittersweet though, as this was Sugar’s last big hoorah. We decided a few months earlier that it was time to retire Sugar. Simone has aged out of SS and is ready to move on, and we are not sure Sugar is up for campaigning in pony hunter. She has been a magnificent pony for Simone; really teaching her as much if not more than I have. We will probably take her to a few shows this next year, for leadline or something similar. She does love being fussed over and getting all braided up... whatever this pony wants, this pony gets.
I continued to judge this season with the intention to scale back, but I am not typically one to say no when asked. So, I had quite a few judging dates despite my original plans. I was also lucky enough to score some dates in more states such as PA and SC. In addition, I was able to judge a Medal Finals with an "R" judge, Linda Kanatzar, which was an excellent experience for me.
A big welcome goes out to two new clients, Sarah and Glenda!! Along
with lessons, we spent a lot of time looking for an equine partner for each of them, traveling all over the state to find the "right" one. As hard as it is, the process takea lot of patience but it always pays off in the end. As the year grew to an end, there was light at the end of the tunnel for both of them, stay tuned to see who they picked... or really, who picked them!