Horsecrazy Annabelle had her first NRHA competition this past weekend. She was excited to get to show in the “big pen” at the Idaho Center Horse Park.
We bought a couple of schooling slots on the first day of the show so that she could get in the arena and get the feel of the pen. I thought she might be a little nervous, sharing the little warm-up area with a bunch of trainers who were getting ready to school their horses, but she wasn’t. She loped around with everyone else and stopped in the middle to practice her turn-arounds, just like they were all doing.
Then she sat at the in-gate and watched intently as she waited for her turn. It was hot that day.
She practiced her patterns a couple of times and then we gave Chic a good bath.
The morning of the show the little rider was all smiles as she waited at the gate for her turn. She was wearing a new outfit that Auntie Shane had gotten for her and she was so excited. It’s hard to see in any of the pictures, but the back of the shirt has a rhinestone steer head on it. The saddle pad was a perfect match.
She looked fantastic!
Batman was along for the show, and he entertained himself happily by playing in the dirt next to the warm up pen. I had to keep an eye on him as he would occasionally try to wander into the path of a loping horse as he searched for the largest dirt clod he could find to put in his dump truck, scurrying in and out of the riding area as he played.
It was hard for Annabelle to wait for her turn, but fortunately our friend Kristi from Lucky Run was there to provide some distraction and advice on running her pattern. She walked Annabelle around and around in the warm-up pen while she waited for her turn.
Kristi is really a gem. The kids ADORE her. I haven’t had the heart to tell Zach that she is too old for him.
Finally it was Annabelle’s turn in the pen. She had a blast out there.
Her spins were good.
Chic ran down fast……
and stopped so hard he almost threw her off a couple of times. She had never sat a stop like that before.
He was just awesome.
You can watch the run here.
Annabelle was beyond thrilled when she finished. She was all smiles as she rode out of the arena to the cheers of the people watching. I was astounded by how supportive everyone was of the young riders.
After we put Chic away we stayed around to watch the kids in the next class. Annabelle stood at the in-gate and watched them ride.
Day Two started early. The Short Stirrups Class was the first class of the day. Kris had shown Chic the night before, so she had had a brief night before it was time to get up and come to the horse show again.
Annabelle had several fans in the audience who had come just to watch her, and she loved having all the support. She told me “I don’t get nervous out there until I hear all the people cheering for me. Then I get a little nervous, so I tell myself “Just ride the horse!.”
We got to the arena at about 6:45 am and got ready. Auntie Kris helped get Chic all shined up.
And Annabelle climbed on board.
Chic was his usual awesome self.
He ran down even harder on Sunday.
And Annabelle had the stops all figured out this time.
Seriously, all I can say is Wow!
You can watch her second run here.
Desperate Hubby and Batman arrived in a nick of time to watch Annabelle’s run. Batman insisted on putting on her hat and riding Chic out to the trailer when she was finished.
Thanks to my long-time friend Tami, we even got a picture of Desperate Hubby and me together. That almost never happens.
That we get a picture I mean. We are usually together. DH is sooooooo happy that he is almost off of his crutches!
Thanks for all the great pictures, Tami!
Annabelle gave Chic a big smooch to thank him for all his awesomeness. Those two really do love each other.
Later that day we lounged in the stands, eating breakfast from the concession stand. We had no idea they were planning on an awards ceremony, so we had to rush down the bleachers and run across the arena to get Annabelle’s first plaque. Chic was already unsaddled and in the trailer, so we didn’t get a real award photo.
But the plaque was super cool.
Annabelle was thrilled with it. But not so thrilled that she didn’t almost drop it on the concrete as she flipped it over and over in her hands while we walked back to our seats. I snatched it back from her and put it in a safe place. I know she will treasure her first award someday.
As always, it took a village to get us through the show. A big thank you to all of the people who helped us out. Special thanks to Kris for sharing her wonderful horse, staying late and getting up early; and to Shane, without whom Annabelle would not be nearly so well-dressed, not to mention that she’d be riding bareback.
We are so fortunate to have lots of angels helping us, and we appreciate each and every one of you.