Saturday, July 14, 2012

Derby Debut

Yikes, its been a while!  There is much to catch up on!

First of all, a big pat on the neck for all of the SCHJA Members who have rallied around Linda Noble Tinkler!  Linda is a popular braider who attends lots of SCHJA shows. She is undergoing treatment for breast cancer and as a result, she's had to take a break from braiding.  Karen Kelley, Brick Church Farm, Equus Events and SCHJA Junior Committee held two "Gently Used Riding Clothing Sales" with the proceeds benefitting Linda.  In case the Brick Church folks hadn't done enough, Laura and Meredith Mateo donated their winnings from the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby (at the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club Horse Show) to the cause.  Their fantastic horse Uncle Luc, jumped out of his skin for Karen Kelley and topped the you think he knew that his job was super important that night?

Also, Progressive Show Jumping held a special Linda Tinkler Benefit Class at their June Highfields Show.  Cathy and Rick Cram were able to send Linda a check for $600 as a result.  Thanks to them for coming up with this great idea and to all of the exhibitors who showed their support by participating!

Lewis Pack and the Harmon Classics team are doing their part to help equestrians in need as well!  The Harmon Classics Summer Challenge played host to the first SCHJA Hunter Derby of the year as well as a fabulous party to benefit the Equestrian Aid Foundation.  I must admit, I didn't know much about the organization before the event--but I chatted with some of the ladies who help run things, and learned a lot!  Check out this awesome saddle pad, made by Success Equestrian, I purchased at the silent auction--you too can have one, and a portion of the proceeds goes to the Equestrian Aid Foundation. Harmon Classics, Equestrian Aid Foundation and Success Equestrian; a pat on the neck for you too!

When exhibitors weren't cutting a rug on the dance floor in Tryon, they were enjoying a truly wonderful horse show.  The SCHJA Hunter Derby was the highlight of the weekend and Lewis set a beautiful, but challenging course.  I was thrilled to present the blue ribbon to my friend Lee Reynolds Heelan!  Lee rides with guts and her horse Pescado epitomizes "Derby Horse!"  He is stylish, handy and BOLD!!  Jeanne Smith rode Peggy Zimmerman's beautiful grey mare Pearl to second place. Boy, that one can jump too!  I ran into Peggy at the show office afterwards--what a nice lady, and a riot too!  I'm pulling for both of these horses to qualify for the Derby Finals in Camden this winter--their people are FUN!

The next class in the SCHJA Hunter Derby Series Sponsored by The Tack Room, is August 4th at the PSJ Back To School Horse Show in Tryon (F.E.N.C.E).  Cathy and Rick are no stranger to building a Derby Course and The Tryonites have lots of Derby Experience--they aren't afraid of an inside turn (or anything else for that matter)--so I expect this to be another class to watch!

The following weekend (August 11th), the Charlotte crowd will finally have an SCHJA Hunter Derby in their back yard care of the Harmon Classics Summer Fun Show at Latta Plantation.  To our neighbors to the North, GET READY!!

Good luck to everyone!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What are your goals?

While I've been involved with the South Carolina Hunter Jumper Association for about four years now, I actually got my first taste serving on a board when I was in high school.  Without really knowing what I was getting into, I took on the role of Junior Representative to the North Carolina Hunter Jumper Association Board of Directors.  I'll admit, I think my main motivation for getting involved was curiosity;  I wanted to know what went on in those board meetings!

It wasn't quite as exciting as I had envisioned, but there were some heated debates and differences of opinion.  As with any board, individual members had different agendas, but there was a common goal: continue to improve the association and provide an enjoyable horse show experience for the members.  Initially, I weighed in when a junior opinion was needed (okay, I probably weighed in a whole lot more than that), but before long I began to form my own opinions as to what challenges faced the association.

As planning for the annual horse show shifted into high gear, I suggested that the NCHJA do something to promote camaraderie between the different barns; it bothered me that the barns seemed clique-ish.  Of course, there were more important issues; budgets, scheduling, etc., but the members took my concerns seriously.  They all encouraged me when I proposed putting riders from different barns on teams to compete for prizes in addition to the regular awards at the annual horse show.  The "Team Challenge" was born!  Several board members helped me solicit prizes from local businesses (who were also happy to help), and organize the teams.  My friends and I made leader boards from poster paper and hung them in the in-gate of the main ring.

Since the teams consisted of a junior, an amateur, a professional and a jumper rider, most of the team members didn't know each other well, and many had never met.  As the week progressed, and people began to notice their names on the leader board, interest in the team challenge grew!

On the final day of showing I spotted an extremely busy professional rider/trainer leaning on the rail watching a children's hunter rider who I knew was not his student.  The girl completed her trip and the trainer clapped enthusiastically then hurried off to another ring.  I shot a glance at the leader board and discovered that the trainer had been supporting his "Team Challenge" teammate.  Even if it were just for one horse show, we had achieved our goal!  Although it was more than 15 years ago, I still remember a few of the people who were on my team, including current NCHJA President Mike Rosser :)

As the SCHJA Junior Committee Members begin to hit their stride, I hope that we as senior members will set the example by taking on more responsibility for helping to improve our horse show community.  Even seemingly small acts can have a large impact on the association!

So, what are your goals?