Horse showing is always an exciting opportunity for riders to test their skills and their horse's too. As a hunter/jumper rider, shows were always one of the highlights of my year. This year, my highlight was watching our riders compete at The Battle on the Rockies in Denver, CO on March 1st and 2nd. Not to brag, but our horses and our riders did a great job. They worked hard, put in hours of time they already didn't have between their jobs, school, families, other animals, and the rest of the world, to prove what we all have known already - rescue horses are show horses too.
Colleen Fitzpatrick - Miss Moppet
I learned just how important it is to do right by the horse in the show ring. Since I was aboard a youngster in her first show, I wanted to put a few positive show miles on her. Pushing her to the edge to see if we could win wasn’t the right answer in that situation; instead, we kept it calm and comfortable, knowing that we can try more difficult things with her in the future. She’s got plenty of time ahead of her! I also learned about how to best support people in their early days of showing - anyone who talked to me before going into the ring knows that my advice was to relax, trust their horse, and be as kind to them as possible. Kindness, quiet riding and a calm demeanor will always look best in my book! And I learned that Dani Ross and I can get an absolutely remarkable amount of work done in a very short period of time, and should probably go into business together at some point!
Dani Ross - Uptown
Riding a 5 year old who had (maybe) 50 days of training and who’d I’d only gotten to know two weeks prior, was a pretty incredible endeavor. It’s truly rewarding watching a horse grow from untouched and leery of people, to confidently showing in a coliseum stadium in a short amount of time. Words can’t even describe the feeling of knowing that you’ve played a role in helping this horse become the confident horse he is. It was also inspiring seeing the horse rescue community come together. While we were competing against each other, in the end we were all there sharing our passion for saving horses lives and to show the world what these animals can do when you give them a second chance at life. Each one gave so much heart and trust to all of us during this show even when it was probably sensory overload for all of them. This show was a wonderful cause to bring awareness to the amazing horses at rescue centers here in Colorado.
Kyle Griffin - Reba
The biggest obstacle was the arena with Reba. She didn't like being in the large arena with no other horses, people moving around and the banners. Reba will do anything Kyle asks of her and she was extremely spooked with the new environment. We feel like we need to take her to more shows, get her exposed to being the only one in an arena and working with her on her anxiety the best way we can. Kyle thoroughly enjoyed participating as it was a great experience for him. Reba and Kyle have a strong bond and he has taught her so much that with time, patience and practice, she could be a great competitor!!
Personally, it was a victory to see rescue horses competing at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo. Before I was part of horse rescue, I was part of the horse show world. It always seemed there was an unspoken division between show horses and rescue horses, that the two were oil and water- they never mixed. The Battle On The Rockies was a great step forward in removing barriers to potential adopters. A horse cannot control their past, their future, or their present. Only humans can determine that. We as humans have the responsibility to ensure these, and all horses, have a bright future- whether that is in the show ring, or the backyard.
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