I showed my first horse when I was 6. It was a lead-line class and I remember it vividly. It was at the State Fair Park in Milwaukee and Barb (my "leader") and I wore similar shirts that she had made (it was white with plaid patches on it). I know she's got a photo of that somewhere and I'm going to have to get my hands on it.
The horse was Ed. (well, his real name was Fifth Edition ++//...the "++//" are kind of designations in the Arabian Horse world). Ed was awesome. More than awesome. Ed taught me so much growing up. He was the bestest friend anyone could have. And as I sit here and type this and I'm thinking about him, I'm crying. I loved Ed more than anything.
I showed horses from that very summer that I was 6 until the summer before I turned 19. Nearly every weekend in the summers we were travelling to horse shows. Many of them were local--not so much the county fair type shows, but what were called "Class A" shows--and by local I mean Milwaukee. A lot were also nationwide (IL, OK, IN just to name a few). When you do good in a Class A show, you qualify for regionals. When you do good at regionals, you qualify for nationals. I did it all. Every summer for 12 years I was home maybe 2-3 weeks out of the year. I lived out of a motorhome with my dad and step-mom (and got other people involved as the years went on...). And I loved every second of it.
Showing horses taught me work ethic. It taught me how to win and how to lose. It was demanding, it was hard work--but I wouldn't take it back for a second. As I look back I now realize how lucky I truly was to experience what I did growing up. My parents sacrificed a lot for me and I will forever be indebted to them for that.
That entire time, Ed and I were a team. We showed nearly every type of class known in the horse world--Western, Hunt, English, Side-Saddle, Dressage. We did it all-Ed was so versatile--he was amazing. Barb also showed Ed in many classes and as the years went on, he was a teacher to many.
Further into my horse "career", it was time to get my own horse--and SFA Silverado (Silver) came into the picture. I basically had to train him from day one. He had never had a saddle on his back or had a handler work with him. He was a little on the "hyper" side, but I still loved him.
|This was a Region 10 (WI & MN) Championship I received for a Western Equitation class--that's where they judge the rider more so than the horse.|
|Our family Christmas Card photo. I think around 1994 ish?? That's my dad (Mark), Barb and me with Ed.|
|And here's Silver--sorry for the cruddy quality on this one. This was actually a Senior picture of mine taken in 1996. He was cute.|
And here's Silver and I at a show. :)