First Horse Show in Years



This may not look like much. But it took two-and-a-half years, several vet bills, sleepless nights, and lots of tears to get here. Prior to this moment, the last time we rode a centerline to a judge was November 2011.

I haven’t been taking lessons, but I felt it was time for an independent third party without reason to either see or to ignore signs of lameness in my mare to evaluate our progress. Owners of horses with traumatic or prolonged injuries know that the mind is a powerful thing and it can deceive. Some days I feel a shortened stride when she is moving beautifully.

In the DC area, there are several options for spring horse shows. For our first outing, I wanted a relaxed atmosphere close to the barn. Frederick Area Dressage Shows fit the bill.

I packed everything the night before. Freezing rain and high winds greeted us as we hitched up on show-day.

My mare has always hopped right on the trailer. But the last two trips have been to the vet hospital. Ever the honest horse, she walked up the ramp obediently, but trembling visibly. While she had no interest in her breakfast, she was at least calm enough to take a carrot.

Our schedule got derailed by the weather. We arrived at Pleasant Ridge Farm just a little too late to warm up under saddle. And we managed to get the truck and trailer stuck in the mud. I unloaded my mare and began tacking her up in the warmth of a pristine barn aisle, safe from the elements, and tried to shut out my nerves.

My veterinarian and friend was up first. She had a lovely ride on her young thoroughbred and eased my worries with good advice as I entered the ring, “Ride her forward.” Off we went.

After the final halt-salute, I approached the judge. She promptly did the one thing that’s sure to make me like a person: she complimented my horse. And then she mentioned that I seemed tense, which made the mare tense. She recommended trying to relax my back and allow the horse to stretch into the contact.

For the next ride, I did just that. The judge noticed that I had taken her advice to heart.


We placed Third and Second respectively, just behind the vet who managed the very rehabilitation program that got us to this point. I am tickled. We’ve come from complete stall rest to a decent horse show appearance in a year’s time. And in one day’s time, my horse went from trembling on the trailer to calmly finishing her hay as freezing rain turned to SNOW on the drive home.

I am a very lucky girl. The day absolutely would not have been possible without the tireless support of my husband and my father. These two hitched up the trailer, extracted it from the mud, braved brutal weather conditions, filmed and photographed my ride, and kept me calm by smiling even amidst total chaos.

I see many more horse shows in our very near future.

23 thoughts on “First Horse Show in Years

  1. What a positively uplifting post! I am so glad you had such a lovely experience. Way to listen to the judge and improve. Also, so sweet of your mare to load up, despite fearing the vet. That is precious. I am excited to see more of your show posts. Great job!

  2. Oh how absolutely wonderful! Thank you for sharing. I LOVE reading these kind of stories. There’s HOPE, for all of us! You should be proud! Next time you will be flowing completely relaxed in there, all back into “show mode”. Best of luck to you in the training!

  3. Yay! What a huge accompishment–and not just the getting back in the swing of showing part. Good job conquering the seasonal elements. What a great time to remember with your two special guys and one sweet horse! When’s the next show?

    • Oh boy, it was certainly memorable. That was, hands down, the most difficult horse show weather I have ever experienced coming from Florida. I bet that is comical to you and I can’t imagine what you encountered in Chicago! I had intended to show this weekend, but work and school have gotten in the way. So, time to break out the old calendar again.

  4. Good for you! I thought of you that day. What miserable weather! You are better than me. I would’ve scratched. And thanks for the shout out for the Frederick Area Dressage Shows. They are a lot of fun and maybe I’ll see you at one soon!

    • My veterinarian called early to see if “we” could both scratch. I talked her out of it 🙂

      I’m so glad we persevered. They are wonderful, and I absolutely will enter more of them. I hope to see you! I have told all of my barn-mates about them and I’m trying to recruit one to fill the other slot in my trailer. Why haul one when you can bring a friend?

  5. yayayayay! Congrats on everything. I know it was a very long road but look how far you’ve both come. I’m so happy for you both and pretty ribbons are always nice. Very good job!

  6. GREAT entry. So positive and encouraging. A lot of trials and tribulations (weather and such) to get there, but what a long way to come from stall rest — AND your horse got complimented . That is fantastic. And ribbons, too! Congratulations! 🙂

  7. I am SO very happy for you!!! What a long, long road to get to this moment. I’m bursting with joy for both you and your girl. Congrats on two very awesome ribbons. It’s the best feeling ever when the judge also loves our horse. 🙂 Can’t wait to read about your next adventures! Yay for a terrific comeback!

    • Thank you Saiph, it was a very special moment for me. And I know that you can relate. Rehab is so uncertain. Glad your Lily-bird is better than ever! Our girls are the comeback kids it seems.

  8. I know what you mean! Wiz had a short blip with EPM, and even though we caught it early I still get overly concerned every time I feel a slight catch in his step… but I’m so glad to hear you got back in the ring and did really well!!

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