Sunday, October 23, 2011

Halloween Horse Show

The Fall Horse Show earlier this month was a huge success. I worked my tail off, so I'm thrilled that it went off without a hitch. I think everyone had a really good horse show experience and had a lot of fun.

The week before the show is always crunch time. It's long hours at the barn and a ton of prep work at home. This time it was extra time consuming with 4 injured horses to nurse on top of everything else. But, as always, the kids make it so worth it.

The afternoon and evening before the show is the Horse Show Prep time where the students come out and help get the horses ready for the show day by giving baths and braiding manes and tails. My least favorite chore of the day is putting up the dressage arena... loathe. But, it was my third time, so it's easier each time. I topped the dressage letters with yellow and orange fall flowers (that's my favorite part). The whole barn area was decorated with a Halloween theme. We hung up lanterns in the trees, taped Fall and Halloween decorations everywhere and draped Halloween garland around doorways and around railings. I had a bucket for bobbing for apples and carrots. It was wonderful!!

The morning of the show I set out all the Halloween plates, cups, food/drinks and decorated the picnic tables. Of course there were buckets and boxes over flowing with Halloween candy on every table. I made each rider a Show Folder with a program, their show number and copies of the courses for the other events. Each rider got a goodie bag with Halloween Chex Mix when they checked in and received their folder.

The morning started off with dressage. The students had practiced their tests so many times and many had memorized them. We did USDF Intro Test B, USEF Training Level Test 1 and my young determined and totally focused 9 year old student did a USEF First Level Test 1.

We had a "short stirrup" class of two 5 year old and a 6 year old. Totally adorable. All these youngsters came away with blue ribbons since the judge just "couldn't make up her mind." :)

Next was the jumping classes. We had a trot jump class and a trot/canter jump class. The jumps were prettied up with fall flower boxes and pretty fall leaves decorating the standards.

Each participant received a horse show trophy. Ribbons were awarded 1st-6th place for dressage and jumping.

And then came the really fun part. The Obstacle Course. This fun class wasn't judged 1st-6th, but rather each participant got a certificate award for their best aspect of the course. And riders were encouraged to wear Halloween costumes! We had witches, cats, bat girl and bat horse, Mario and Luigi, a hippy, goddess, vampire, fairy, lady bug and other fun outfits. I was a candy corn/arena cone. Madie, the other instructor who's pregnant, was a cat who swallowed a fish bowl. Alexis, the judge, was Rainbow Bright.

The riders were timed and had 10 obstacles to navigate such as getting a treat out of a Halloween bucket and giving it to the horse, going over a wooden bridge, halting in a square, a small jump and "around the world." This was so much fun and such a good way to end the day, with lots of laughs! And one of the horse show moms was sweet enough to give the me, the other instructor and the 2 judges flowers at the end of the day.

So, no one fell off. All the horses were angels. No one was crying or a poor sport. It didn't rain. I think this was the best show yet!

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