Our first show of the season was a success, especially for me. Everyone had good rides and the new girls did very well for this being there first show. I think they were a little nervous, but they cowgirled up and overcame it.
If I remember correctly almost everyone placed in at least one of the shows. In the IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association) it is considered placing if you come in first through seventh place in your class, seventh place is considered reserved. Unfortunately, ribbons are not presented to the seventh place rider, except for at the Judson show.
A class is the set of riders in the ring competing against one another. In the IHSA there are seven western classes and these are divided by riding level. The minimum size for a class is three riders, and generally the maximum number of riders in the ring at a time is twelve. If a class exceeds twelve riders it is usually split in half and they compete separately. This year, the number of riders competing in the same region as Judson doubled, so instead of having around 36 riders per show we now have close to 60. This means that almost all of the classes had about eleven to twelve riders in the ring. While some of our riders, including me, are used to riding in a class this big, it was new to others who were used to riding in a class of four to five last year.
Despite the ring being more crowded the Judson College Equestrian team placed well; maybe not as well as we would have liked, but still well enough to say that the weekend was a success. We came home with a number of second places ribbons, a couple of thirds, some fourths, fifths, and sixth place ribbons, and a couple of sevenths; as well as my blue first place ribbon! This weekend was the first time I have ever placed first, and winning the class has helped me to feel a little bit more confident in my riding. Now, I still have a lot of room for improvement and I have to remember not to get too confident because that will have a negative effect.
Heather Hodge one of the returning riders on Judson's western team also did very well this weekend. Heather competed for the first time in class 15 and 16 which are the reining class and the open advanced horsemanship class. Though the horsemanship class is just a difference of competing against riders of a higher ability, reining is a whole new concept, and she did very well. Heather placed second in three of the four classes that she competed in. Between the two shows and the fourth class she placed third. So, not only did she do a good job, but she rode very consistently.
It was a fun show(s) and we all enjoyed ourselves, so much so that we were "glowing" when we left. Well, the glowing part may have been because, at times, the dust from the ring was so bad that you could barely see the riders on the other side of the ring. The dust was sparkly though, which made us and all of our stuff shine, or glow, when the sun hit it. It was slightly disappointing though that despite the fact that we now glowed and sparkled, we still didn't make that chiming sound when the sun hit us like Edward made in Twilight when the sun hit him.
The Judson College Equestrian Team enjoys excitement and, heading home after the show, just didn't seem exciting enough for us or at least not for our couch Mrs. Jennifer, so we stopped by the Chambers County Rodeo. This really worked out well for all of us. Mrs. Jennifer got to go help her husband sell tack and boots, and the rest of us got to enjoy a rodeo for free, because the rodeo people "love" us - and Mrs. Jennifer knows who to talk to...
It would have been the perfect end to a good weekend had I not lost my cell phone somewhere on the walk back to the van as we were leaving the rodeo. Instead it was a good night to end a good weekend with a sad girl (me) who has felt disconnected from the world outside the Judson bubble because she has no cell phone...