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HI Spy: Share Your Horse Show Memories

As part of our monthly HI Spy, what???s your special horse show memory?

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What is your favorite horse show memory?

Horse shows are about more than winning ribbons. They challenge our horsemanship skills. They teach us how to deal with adversity when things invariably go wrong.  Through the emotional ups and downs, we develop close bonds with our horses and many of our fellow exhibitors. Whether we spend a lifetime on the show circuit or just compete occasionally, horse shows are responsible for some of our fondest memories.
Betty Jean Bullman recently recounted her favorite horse show memory. It concerned her faithful old horse Turning Point, a fiery chestnut Thoroughbred who maintained his zeal for showing until he was well into his twenties.
“He was a great horse,” Bullman recalls wistfully. “I’ll never forget the year I showed him at the big Del Mar horse show in an amateur jumper class. My horse had spent many years as a showjumper before I got him, and he seemed to recognize that he was about to be ‘on stage.’ He was all pumped up.”
Bullman explains that to enhance the atmosphere of the high-stakes class, the show management played loud, upbeat music as each rider began their opening circle. The musical accompaniment seemed to evoke an extra zing of competitive spirit in her veteran show horse, and he arched his neck and bounded into a sprightly gallop.
“All the spectators — including people from our barn — could see that I could barely contain my horse. They were laughing and cheering me on at the same time. The lights, the crowds, the fancy jumps, the music … it all made my horse act like he was five years old again. I had a great round,” she concludes, “but I don’t think I won a ribbon. What made it all so memorable was just the thrill of riding my horse under those special circumstances. I got a sense of what he must have been like in his prime. I think he had just as much fun that night, too.”
What’s your special horse show memory? Can you recall your first blue ribbon? Was there an instance when you overcame incredible odds to ride to victory? Did something funny happen at a horse show that still makes you laugh? As another installment of our monthly “HI Spy” series, we’d like to hear from you. Just click on Submit a Comment below. Some of the responses may be selected to appear in an upcoming issue of Horse Illustrated magazine!

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Reader Comments

Marie    Brentwood, CA

8/7/2012 3:32:52 PM

My favorite horse show memory was when I took my QH gelding to the trail arena. We got through the gate smoothly and then he sped through every opstacle, took down cones, tripped and refused the bridge. I was so embarrassed! And when they announced the placings I got 4th out of 12 riders who had done a beautiful round!

Emily    Andover, KS

2/8/2012 8:38:12 AM

my favorite horse show memory was when i went to a hunter show. my horse and i usually just do jumpers and eventing, so he knew nothing about hunters, and how you need to have your head down low and that kind of stuff. we went into the hunter ring (i was showing just for fun) and he did AMAZING! we got one 1st place and two 3rd place ribbons. I was so proud of him!

crystal    wallkill, NY

11/23/2011 2:46:26 PM

my favorite horse show memory was when i was either 12 or 13. it was my first time competing against 40+ riders in the barrel racing at the county fair. i had just started to barrel race that year. it was the first big show that i ever competed in. the horse i was riding Navajo was older than most of the other horses at age 24. i never raced at a full out run until that night. we competed in the dash with a time of 7.3 seconds taking 3rd place. as we left the arena everyone came running over because they thought that i was coming off when actually i was leaning forward to give Navajo a big hug after hearing my time. that is my best horse show memory.

Kelsie    Ste.Genevieve, MO

11/5/2011 10:36:59 AM

My favorite horse show memory is that I like to polebend and me and my horse keeped trying and trying to win it for 2 years and finally I did and we both were so happy :)

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