Annabelle was awarded her first buckle this past weekend at the Gem State Stock Horse Association annual awards banquet. Despite having won a few prizes over the course of the summer, and just recently getting her first check, winning your first buckle is something special.
The best part about her winning the buckle was that it was a total surprise to her. I knew that all the kids in her class received a buckle, and because she was the year-end champion that her buckle might even be special, but she had no idea she would get an award at all that evening.
All summer long I have tried to make her horse shows about competing only against herself. I have told her that showing is for having fun, and that her goal should always be to do her very best for that day, and that she should strive to better her performance each time she goes to the pen. She has taken that to heart, mostly, and while she always asks her score after a run, her next question is usually whether that score is better than her score at the last horse show.
When we got ready to go the banquet on Friday, she told me “I won’t get an award because I messed up my circles at the last show, but it will be fun to watch anyway.” I didn’t correct her.
The banquet was long, and my little daughter was almost asleep in my lap by the time they announced awards for her class. She perked right up, though, when they called her name.
Friends Kris and Alayne helped to install the new hardware at our table.
And she posed proudly for a picture so we could email it to Daddy.
I think she had just as much fun watching Grandma Kay get her Champion buckle and posing with her and Sierra for her winning photo.
Annabelle’s new buckle is absolutely beautiful, and she is very proud of it.
The buckle is made even more special by the fact that she won it on her beloved Chic, technically owned by our friend Kris Troxel, but Annabelle’s true soul mate. Chic is currently recovering from a joint infection that in all likelihood will end his show career forever, so the fact that Kris allowed Annabelle to ride him all summer and they won this award together is all the more poignant and special.
I have to once again say a big thank you to the “village” that helped to get my little girl through her first show season. Kris provided the largest piece, literally and figuratively: the horse, and Shane dressed and tacked her up. To all the others who sat in the corners at the shows to help with pattern memory, who encouraged and prompted, were friendly and helped us find our way, a big thank you. It was a great year.