The National Academy Championship Horse Show took place Nov. 3-5 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. For academy riders from all across the country it was the highlight of their season, and as always, it was a big success. But, as anyone who has been there knows, the show is very unique. Here are seven things you'll only understand if you've been to National Academy finals.
The nights are getting longer, the temperatures are dropping and the horses are getting fuzzy. The holidays are upon us and it is time to celebrate with our barn family and friends. Since show season is done (for most regions), it means that the horses have probably had their show shoes pulled and are enjoying some playtime. It’s time to throw a wreath on the barn doors and let your students go to town on the lesson horses’ stall doors. But what else could you do to bring some holiday cheer into your barn family? No matter what winter holiday you’re celebrating, there are many ways to enjoy an evening of fun, food and friends.
It’s easy to get down on the show horse world. When you’re dealing with expensive and sensitive animals like Saddlebred horses the stakes are high, and so is the number of things that can – and do – go wrong.
Horses get sick, go lame and pull shoes. Riders get injured before big shows or miss leads or diagonals in the ring. People make thoughtless or hurtful comments in moments of tension that find their way back to your ears. There is always someone better than you and someone who has more money than you. And, of course, the judges’ decisions don’t always match your own.
But, while it’s easy to forget in the difficult times, being a part of the show horse industry also comes with a multitude of blessings, and this holiday season seems like an appropriate time to take a step back and remember why we first fell in love with an industry that may be fast-paced and competitive, but is also supportive, informative, challenging and even life-affirming.