That’s A Wrap (on show season)

Savannah had her last show of the year in the second weekend of November. If your young rider participates in shows, you know that there isn’t really much of an off season in horse showing. Technically, the next show year starts December 1st, but our barn typically doesn’t show much (if any) over the winter months. We will enjoy this time off from showing to learn new skills, prep for a change in division next year, and save some money (haha, yeah right).

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I like to take a look back and see just how far we have all come over this past show year. It was Savannah’s second year showing. She has grown so much in the sport and I continue to learn a ton too. She competed in 12 horse shows this year, both local and rated. The goal of the year was to get her in as many different shows as we could at different locations. Her trainer wanted both her and her pony to see different rings and jumps and go up against all types of other kids and ponies. The more exposure she gets, the better prepared she will be in the future.

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Some shows were great and some were tough. Everything was a learning experience for us both. It is awesome to see your kiddo succeed and bring home some great ribbons, and it is so hard to see them struggle. I have never been more proud of her though. She bounced back after tough shows, focused at her lessons, and learned from her mistakes.  I loved to see the passion and determination in her eyes. She is competitive by nature and is always pushing herself to be better.

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I learned so much this year too. It is a lot more enjoyable to watch the shows when you know what is going on and what the judges are looking for. I can tell if she is in the correct position in her under saddle classes and over fences. I know if she has picked up the correct lead and am able to count strides in the lines between jumps. I make sure to listen carefully at her lessons and ask questions if I have them. It has brought Savannah and I closer too, since I can speak her horse language. 

Her trainer has made the decision that Savannah is ready to graduate from short stirrup and go to a new division next year. She is so excited to jump bigger jumps and learn harder courses. I can’t wait to see what next year will bring for all of us.

 - Bobbi Bires, Equestrian Mom

Balancing Act

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If Savannah had it her way, she would be at the barn every day from the time she gets out of school until it is time for bed. Her head and heart are 100% full of all things horse. I admire her passion and commitment to her sport, but I also worry. I can’t help it, I’m her mom.

I worry that she needs to find balance in her life. What if this horse thing is just a phase? Will she have alienated all of her other friends when she is ready to do something else? How much time do I need to make sure she focuses on school work each week? How much time is too much time at the barn?

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If your child sticks with this riding thing, you’ll find that the demand on their time becomes more and more from all angles. Savannah’s in 4th grade this year which is a huge shift in her academic rigor. She’s had a significant increase in homework and the content is more challenging. She’s also reached a point in her riding where it’s very important for her to be consistently riding 2-3 times a week, all year long. I’ve also encouraged her to remain active in things that she started doing before horses took over our lives. She’s still in the same Girl Scout troop that she started with in kindergarten and still takes weekly piano lessons.

I am finding it very hard as a parent to know when and what is best for her when it comes to activities. I’m sure all parents feel this way at some point, whether its horseback riding, hockey, soccer, etc. It seems that in today’s world kids are all in with whatever sport they choose. I strive to try to make sure she is well rounded as much as I can. She still enjoys her other activities, so we make it work.

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Savannah knows that as long as her grades stay acceptable, she can continue at this crazy pace. We maximize her time as best we can. The ride to the barn is about 25 minutes each way. She is often doing homework, reading or studying while we are in the car. She is naturally an early riser, so piano practice is typically done before school. If all of her school stuff is done for the weekend, I have no problem spending extra time at the barn. Right now, that is where her heart is pulling her. I love to see her eyes light up and the smile on her face any time she is around her pony. Eventually all those other things may fall to the wayside, and it will be ok as long as she is happy.

- Bobbi Bires