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Dreams Do Come True

The last time I had been to Saratoga Springs, NY was in April of 1999, as a horse show groom. It was about this time that I was figuring out that as much as I loved working with horses, I didn’t want to be a horse show groom as my lifetime career. I dreamed about the day when it was me riding one of these amazing creatures into the show ring.

Fast forward to June of 2017. I happen to be lucky enough to have a five-month lease on a very nice, very experienced horse named Dallas. As I told my husband, if there was any time for me to go ride at the larger week-long shows in the area it was now. I have no idea what will happen after October in terms of my riding, but I really wanted to take advantage of having Dallas and him being able to give me a bunch more experience in the show ring.

I packed up all mine and Dallas’s gear, which included (but not limited to) the SmartPak Hunter girth, the Wellfleet show hunter show bridle, special treats for being such a good boy (, the Piper breeches which are so comfortable to school in, and an extra lead rope just in case his other one breaks. Then I loaded Dallas (and the husband) up to make the drive up to the Saratoga Springs Race Course. This trip up was extra special, as I believe that this will be the last time there will be horse shows run at the race track. The show will be moving to a new venue next year.

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We arrived early Wednesday afternoon. I hacked Dallas in the schooling rings a few hours after arriving. What an amazing walk to get to the show grounds. From where the horses are stabled to where the show and schooling rings are, you ride along, hugging the driveway that runs next to the main race track. What a sight to see with all of the grandstands overlooking the track! The great part was the horses were warmed up and ready to work by the time you reached the show grounds. And when you were done working, the walk back was a great cool down.

Thursday one of my trainers, Jen, jumped Dallas around in a low hunter trip. He was such a pro. I then took a lesson on him in the schooling ring with my other trainer, Kathy.

On Friday, there were storms predicted for the afternoon. Because the schedule was adjusted, it meant the first class I would be riding in for the morning was the National Hunter Derby. I had never ridden in a derby but I greatly admire the beauty and consistency of a well ridden derby trip and I’ve always wanted to ride in them. Dallas was great and we put in a respectable round. It was so much fun and I felt truly blessed to be able to ride in my first hunter derby trip.

The predicted Friday afternoon rains came and although we could have ridden in the afternoon adult equitation classes, there were large puddles in the ring and I didn’t feel like trying to be an eventer, galloping through the water obstacles, so we scratched for the rest of the day.

Saturday and Sunday were the adult hunters. With each class I grew more confident and more determined. I made plenty of small mistakes that kept us from being higher up in the ribbons, but I am sure that I will get better with more time. I am so lucky to have Dallas in my life, even if just for a short time. He is helping make my dreams come true! I cannot wait for the next show. Lake Placid – here we come!

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