Hi,my name is Corey Finlay and I am the Judson College Equestrian blogger. Although I was born in and spent the first ten years of my life in Ontario,Canada, I now call Oxford, Alabama my home. Atleast when I am not here at Judson. I can't believe that this is my third year at Jusdon College where I am a business major and an Equine Science and Web Design Minor. I love this school and can't see my self any where else.
If you want to know more about me check out my facebook!
Ahh, the regular show season for the Judson Equestrians is over. After a good season of hard work it is time for a break, but not quite. We had one of our riders qualify and place in the Regional show which means she will get to move on toSemis. So the work isn't over yet, because we have to get her ready to win.
Jordyn Blackwell a 3rd year at Judson college pointed out of class 14 during the show season this year. That qualified her for Regionals during which she won FIRST place. Since the top two riders from each regional class move on to Semis, Jordyn will be representing Judson College at this years Semis in Texas. This was Jordyn's second year on Judson's Equestrian Team, but she does have prior showing experience. After pointing out of class 14, Jordyn concluded the regular season competing in class 16 reining and class 15 open horsemanship. These are the two highest classes in western IHSA, and she has done very well placing within the top of her classes several times.
The final Regular season show was saturday of this past weekend at Berry College. It was a very good show for our team, we didn't all necessarily place as well as we may have liked, but we all had very good rides. For many of us, it was our best show of the season. We worked hard to get ready, or should I say, played hard to get ready, and we remembered how to relax and have fun.
My ride during Saturdays show
Regionals was on Sunday at Berry and though we only had one rider showing we were there as a team getting her ready and cheering her on and, as I mentioned earlier, she did not disappoint.
When most people think of showing and competing the last thing that comes to mind is being part of a team. But I am proud to say that I am a member of a close team that is there for each other, encouraging each other and helping each other achieve their goals. We get each other on the horse, cheer from the rail, and when things don't go as hoped for, we are right there to pick each other up and get ready for the next show. I can't talk for any other school, but I know that showing at Judson is definately a team sport and, when you join the Equestrian Team, you have a team that has you back.
this past weekend and everything went really well. The horses all did great and I think the riders had a good time. For the Judson Team, it was nice to have a show at home where we knew the horses and didn't have to travel. I must also add how nice it was to have our new barn located right beside our arena. It made things so much more convenient.
Saturday was also Scholarship Day at Judson, so we even got to have a number of prospective students come up to the arena for a little while. I think it is really neat that they had the opportunity to see what our program has to offer, as well as, what IHSA has to offer.
As good of a time as we all had this weekend, we are also glad that it is over. Getting ready for a horse show is one of the most stressful things to do. There is just so much that has to be done; horses have to be worked, judge packages put together, horses assigned to each class, programs printed, information packets for each team, and so so much more, half of which I probably don't even know about. It is not all about getting ready for all of the people who are coming, though, it is also about making sure that we as riders are ready to compete. Sometimes we get so caught up in getting ready and trying to ride our best so that we can get enough points, that we are too tense to really DO our best.
I realized this week in class that sometimes I am so worried about winning, or at least placing high, that riding becomes a chore, something that is stressful and that I even at times, almost dread. That isn't what riding is suppose to be about...
Yeah, I want to do well in shows, but I show because I love horses and I love to ride. If I forget that, what is the point?
We did an exercise in class Tuesday that was meant to not only improve our riding, but to remind us why it is that we ride in the first place - because we love it and it is FUN. You know what, I remembered... I remembered what it was like to ride because I love it and because it is fun, and because horses are one of Gods most amazing creations.
I am sure that at this point most of you are probably wondering what this amazing exercise was. Well, it is nothing special really... We simply ran polls using cones since we don't actually have polls. It helped us with controlling our horses. We worked on flying lead changes and it was a time where we could just ride and ride fast. :) It was also a great opportunity for us to grow as a team and just encourage each other to get one more lead change than last time or to run it just a little bit faster. When it didn't go as well as we had hoped or we messed up, we could laugh at our mistake and try again, harder.
This is a lesson that I am going to try my hardest to remember, both when I show or when I am just having a hard day in class. I ride because I love to, because it is fun and something I enjoy. As long as I have a good time and try my hardest it doesn't matter if I win or not because if all I am concerned about is winning, there is no point.
So, I mentioned a couple of blogs ago that Judson College's Western Equestrian Team was going to get to go to Auburn to train with Auburn University's Equestrian Team and coaches... We FINALLY got to go.
Alright, so the trip was only delayed one week. We were supposed to go last Tuesday, February 1st, but due to frigid temperatures and torrential down pours we came to the conclusion that it would be best to postpone until the weather decided to be on our side. We were afraid that we were not going to be able to go this week, either, because the original forecast was cold with the possibility of snow. Fortunately, the weather decided to cooperate - it was sunny and only a little bit chilly.
We left Judson at about 10:30 a.m. the morning of February 8th with sack lunches aboard. It was around a two and a half hour drive, but we had plenty to do to occupy the time. Many of us had homework or studying to catch up on, others of us just had to catch up on sleep. We also discussed our upcoming show that we are hosting at Judson ( it is the only Intercollegiate HorseShow Association show in the state of Alabama) on February 19, the same day as Judson's scholarship day.
*You should really attend and support your favorite Equestrian Team,
plus take a tour of our lovely campus, and participate in the testing to
qualify for some scholarship money.*
We arrived at Auburn's barn just in time to help catch horses and get them ready to ride. The members of their team were extremely friendly and assisted us greatly in finding the right horses and tack. By 1:30 p.m., we were all mounted and in the ring beginning to warm up. The couple of hours that we had to ride with them went by so quickly. We had the opportunity to do rail work and pattern exercises, and traded horses 2-3 times. This was really important for us because we ride “strange” horses every time we show. Switching horses during a practice gives us that much more experience quickly adapting to a new horse.
One of the things I learned on this trip is that just because I am riding somewhere new with a different trainer, on a different horse, does not mean that I am going to suddenly be a different rider. I am still going to have the same strengths and weaknesses as I have always had, but I also need to be ready to apply what I already know, remember where I have had problems and work on fixing them while being ready and open for what new advice the trainer has to offer.
The second thing that really stuck out to me was something that one of the Auburn coaches said to our team after we rode and were reviewing our session. He said that one of the biggest problems that equestrians have is that they do not consider themselves athletes, but that they are athletes and they need to train like they are athletes. I guess that stuck out to me because I have never considered myself to be athletic, let alone an athlete, and I don't train like one. My riding would be much better, though, if I did.
I am very grateful to have gotten the opportunity to go on this trip and get to work with another very talented team and their coaches. This is not something that everyone gets to do and it was very insightful seeing how other people train. I would like to say thank you to The Auburn University EquestrianTeam and to their coaches for taking the time from their busy practice schedule to let us come out and work with them, to Mrs.Jennifer, our coach, for making the arrangements and taking us, and to Judson for allowing us to go.
With the semester under way, the Judson College Equestrian Team is getting ready for the up-coming shows.There are only a couple of shows left in this season to qualify for regionals, so everyone is really trying to step it up and get those last few points. As part of getting ready for shows, our coach, Mrs. Jennifer, usually tries to have at least one clinician a year come in to work with us. This gives us the chance to work with someone different and hear another instructors perspective and opinion about our riding. This year, instead of having someone come to Judson to work with us, we are going to go to Auburn University and work with the coach of the Auburn University Equestrian Team and ride with their team members.
This is going to be an amazing experience for us to not only have instruction from a very talented coach and trainer, but also to work with the members of an NCAA equestrian team. And, because we are going to Auburn to ride, we will get to ride their horses. Having the opportunity to ride horses that we are not used to is always good, since we are an IHSA team that has to compete on strange horses that we have never ridden before. The more horses we ride outside of the show ring the more experience we have with different types of horse and different personalities of horses.
When Mrs. Jennifer announced that we were going to do this the first day of classes, we were all excited,but nervous at the same time. Some of us are a little worried about being up to “speed” by February 1st. This being said, we are all working our hardest during and outside of class to build our endurance and stamina. This includes riding a little longer during class and adding some additional workouts to our schedule. Today during class we decided that we were going to try to have a class yoga session on Tuesday nights to work on our flexibility and balance. We are also preparing by making the best of our time in class, like this past Tuesday when it was too cold to ride. We did an exercise where one person held a bit in her hands, close to her mouth, and was blindfolded while a second person held the reins attached to the bit the first person was holding and then guided them through a set of cones in the barn hallway, as if the blindfolded person was a horse and the second person was the rider. This exercise made us more aware of the importance of giving our horse clear guidance and cues.