Day Twenty: Your favorite horse show.
This one is easy, and believe it or not, this show has nothing to do with Gennyral at all. My favorite horse show of all time took place in my senior year of college and was an Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) show. At that time I was not riding for the school in the shows (because I SUCKED), but my teammates liked having me around and I was good at paperwork so I was the team coach. It was the best time. There were like 9 or 10 of us on the team and we were a real team. We worked so hard and had virtually no resources. I had ridden on the team my freshman and sophomore year and had earned exactly two individual ribbons (a 5th and a 6th over a two year period), and not a single team ribbon.
As I already wrote about with Trickey, I did not ride Junior year, but by the time senior year came around my friend Ktlyn615 and I decided that it was time for another go at having a dressage team. We found out that some people had tried to start a team the year before and that there was a NAYRC rider somewhere on campus. Ever hear the saying that where there is a will there is a way? Well, I had a lot of will! I worked with the person who had tried to get a team together the year before at the start of the year and all of the stars seemed to be lining up.
Not only was the NAYRC rider a friend of a friend who wanted to be on the team, but we had enough riders to even hold team tryout. How great is that!!!! At the start of the year we decided as a group that since we could not host a show ourselves we would offer to help out another team when they hosted theirs. We headed up the day before the show to help bathe, braid, clean tack and basically just do whatever we needed. We had so many people heading up that we had to take two cars. Ktlyn615 was unlucky enough to be one of the people driving.
So off we headed up to the other school which was a few hours away on a clear and sunny day. About an hour away from our destination the unthinkable happened. We were going along on the highway when out of no where the car to our right was not paying attention and came in to our lane sideswiping us. Thank God Ktlyn615 was driving because we her quick thinking she avoided a full on hit at 75 mph and was able to steer the car so we wouldn’t flip all the way over. It was the worst accident that I have ever been in. After a trip to the hospital where I got to be team Mom and wait while the other three girls in the car got checked out and treated we thought about just not going to the show. The other half of our team had gone to the barn and then the hotel and we had a team meeting.
Even though Ktlyn615 was hurt and was supposed to be riding the next day the team decided to go ahead and ride at the show. Against my better judgment we showed up at the school at 8am ready to show, bruised and battered. There are few things that can bond people more than going through adversity so we were like a family at that show. With 9 of us there the support for the riders was huge and I think that they could feel that love and they rode awesome. By midway through the day we were having an amazing day as a team. Ktlyn615, hurt and all, had won her class! How could we have ever thought about not showing? I could be wrong, but I feel like that might have been the first time ever that a rider from out school had placed first! I was literally bouncing up and down with excitement when I found out she won…she deserved it!!
We had placed once as a team at the start of the year, and the way things were going we had a chance to do it again. I remember sitting around eating lunch and just feeling like I belonged to something, it was an amazing feeling. Each of our riders was riding amazing. All of the riders would normally get a case of show nerves, but somehow that accident seemed to take away worries and instead replaced them with determination.
The way that the IDA shows would work at that time was that there were four riders for each team (1-1, T-4, T-1, and Intro) and the lowest score would be dropped. You would not know the score of the intro rider until the awards ceremony at the end of the day. All riders had to be dressed for the awards ceremony so there we were helping all of the riders get ready less than 24 hours after spinning out of control on a highway. The pride that we all felt as a team in having Ktlyn615 win her class was amazing. We were hoping that maybe we would squeak by with a team ribbon after an amazing day of riding.
When they announced the intro scores we had our second first place winner of the day from our team. I literally started crying. I am smiling now thinking how amazing it was to have two first place riders from our team. When the time came for the team ribbons to be announced I was still crying and hoping, yet not daring to believe that we might get a team ribbon. When they announced 6th I held my breath…I had not even dared to hope for better than 6th, yet we were not called.
After a little mental math I realized that we still had hope that we would get something as a team. As I sat there crying and bursting with happiness at our day already with my fellow non-riding teammates on the benches they kept going higher in the placements. When they announced third and they still did not announce my team I started to get confused…maybe we were not getting anything at all.
And then they announced Reserve Champion…and we got RESERVE CHAMPION!!! We got a tricolored ribbon! After dreaming and wanting something so badly for such a long time to finally get a tricolored ribbon…it was absolutely the best feeling. My tears went from a proud cry to an absolutely out of control sob. The other team coaches (like real college trainers) all came over to give me hugs and congrats because they knew how much it meant for all of us as a team. We had worked so hard, been through so much and we finally had something to show for it. That is why this is my second favorite ribbon of all time…it brings me back to one of the best days ever!