NEHC and Family Weekend

This past weekend was such a jam-packed weekend for SBS Riding that Marilyn and I had to split up for the whole weekend just to get everything done. Marilyn took several of our riders (Tess and Kelly) to Springfield for the NEHC Junior Medal finals while I stayed at school to organize and run the little horse show we hold during family weekend to give parents the opportunity to see their kids ride. It’s Tuesday now, and Marilyn and I have been reunited. After comparing notes, we have decided that both equestrian events were a big success.

Though I was not at NEHC for the entire weekend, I did have the opportunity to go down with Marilyn to drop the horses off on Wednesday and then again on Friday to take Kelly and Tess there for a lesson. I have always loved the atmosphere of NEHC, the hush in the ring as some of the best riders and horses in the area show their stuff and the excitement and friendly atmosphere of the barns, the elaborate displays each barn places by their stalls (often featuring bowls of free candy in acknowledgment of the soon to arrive Halloween festivities 🙂 ). It’s also a great time and place to run into everybody and anybody in the local horse world who you might know. It’s horse world socializing at its best.

With hundreds of riders competing, NEHC is some of the toughest competition around. Kelly and Tess rode their best against these riders, and though they may not have won, they were still able to show what they can do, and most importantly, they were able to have fun and enjoy the NEHC atmosphere.

Back at home, the atmosphere of the Family Weekend show was a lot more relaxed than the tense show ring of NEHC (well, at least for the students and parents – there were times when I was a bit stressed getting things ready!). It was a lot of fun designing the class list, placing students in classes, and designing the flat tests which we decided to include this year. I really liked the idea of the flat tests because it gave our riders an opportunity to demonstrate just what they can do in the ring. In lessons we are always challenging them with half seats and to drop their stirrups, but they rarely get to show off just how well they can do these things in the show ring. I know I make some of my riders ride in a half seat without stirrups all the time (what can I say? I guess I like to torture them!) and I wanted to give them a chance to show just how strong their legs have become.

All the girls took advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned to do, how strong they have become, how softly they’ve learned to guide and manipulate their mounts, how skillful they’ve become at navigating a course, and how happy they are while at the barn and spending time with each another. We have some very talented girls and on Saturday we had the opportunity to see some of that talent. I was very proud of everyone.

I was also proud of myself for the show being a great success! I was thrilled that everyone seemed to have fun, that the snacks I picked out were enjoyed, that the atmosphere was so relaxed and friendly, and that I managed to keep everything within our time frame of three hours!

All in all it was a great weekend for SBS Riding.

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