Emotionally charged, that is the best way to describe the Shenandoah Valley Spring Classic Show. Let me explain why this was such an incredible show. On December 27,2005 KKoi fractured his right rear coffin bone in two places. He was instantly lame and it was advised that we should strongly consider putting him down as this type of injury could render a horse in serious pain for the rest of its life. We were truly heartbroken. KKoi however was not going to give up. We found a vet who works almost solely in podiatry and we began our long journey into the unknown. Fast-forward three years, and three months to the day and we had a blue ribbon in hand! While we never thought he’d be sound again, then we thought we’d never be able ride him, then we thought he’d never be able to keep his mind clear after 3 years of only breeding mares, he proved us wrong on every count. Our first ride back was Training Level test 3, my least favorite of all the Training Level tests. I went in, under Marian Cunningham an “S” judge, and did the best I could. I asked KKoi for all he had and he gave it to me. Every ounce. My daughter came running up to me just after my next class with my score sheet. I read it over and wow; a 63.5% from this judge was an awesome score. It was a great feeling to be back in the ring and not totally tank. Then she pulled the ribbon out of her pocket. IT WAS BLUE!!!! I actually won the class. It began to rain and I began to cry. I was so overjoyed and full of emotion just to be there, but then to win, oh my gosh, I was beyond words. I am sure that the people standing around me that didn’t know my story were wondering about the middle aged lady sobbing in her horses neck, but those who knew me and my horse cheered with laughing voices for me. We made it back, back from the brink, back to a place where we can all be happy and now look to the future, the very, very bright future.
If that wasn’t enough of an emotional upswing, Rachel had been riding her heart out all weekend long coming to fourths and fifths. I tried to explain that it takes a lot more time to be a great dressage rider when you have already been a great hunter rider, but that she’d make it. Having faith in her pony and being grateful for the ribbons she did earn was important at this juncture. Well when she finally accepted that it would take more work and maybe she wasn’t as prepared as she thought she was, it came, the elusive blue ribbon. She finally had a blue ribbon from an “A” show. She was stoked now. She was ready to move on. It was another moment of sheer joy. Joy in the accomplishments of the younger ones coming down the line. Joy in the innocence of the kids just riding to get the ribbon and not worrying about who is in the ring or who they are competing against, just them and their pony reaching for greatness!
On a different emotional note, this time of pride in a breeding program and the loss of a beloved second generation broodmare for us…EF Llameri a coming 3yo filly by KKoi and out of our recently departed grand old TB/QH mare, Cephie, went to the show as well and was an amazing competitor. She did SHIH and ended up winning her class and then moving on to be the Reserve Champion high score for the HA/AA Mare division. How exciting for Christine her handler. Then she rode in several SHUS classes and behaved far better than any other coming 3yo should or could. She moved on to Dressage over the weekend and had amazing scores: 62%, 62.5%, and a 65%. For any horse those scores are, well qualifying, but for a coming 3yo, they are truly outstanding. Once again kudos to her rider/handler Christine for a job well done. It was a bit emotional as Meri’s dam, Cephie, was my show horse as a teenager and college student and the daughter of my first horse as a child and she had just recently passed away. She too would be proud of her last daughter in the ring.
All in all what a show, it had the feeling of a season wrap up not a season opener! We have a lot to live up to now, a blue ribbon for each of us at all shows, it’s tiring just thinking about it!