National Academy Championship Horse Show, Murfreesboro, TN, November 1 – 3, 2013.
This is my standard apres-show post giving me time to recover – perhaps even more heartfelt than after previous shows. I will be tired. That’s what they tell me. Usually, my Academy shows are two or three classes in one day. Then I go home. This time I get to ride in two classes. Then, instead of sleeping it off the next day, I turn around and do it all again the next day (with luck) and then again the next (ditto).
The National Academy show allows people to nominate for Horse of the Year. I wanted to nominate Sam but missed the deadline. Not one to waste an idea, I wrote it up for you. I present Sam:
Sam is patient. I had been away from riding for several years. The first time I put my foot in Sam’s stirrup, I was sick with nerves. Sam stood. On our way to the ring, I grabbed his mane in anticipation of a bucking, spinning free-for-all. Sam walked. The same with trot and canter. By the end of the ride, Sam had me relaxed and laughing. [Sam I Am]
Sam is humorous. If he feels the rider is advanced enough, he will throw in a spook when he gets annoyed at the barn dogs. He will even bolt if sufficiently annoyed with a sufficiently advanced rider.
Sam is fancy. If the rider is truly advanced and asks nicely, Sam can turn it on. He will transform from an average-looking, chestnut, lesson horse to a sparklin’, high-steppin’, saddleseat show mount.
Sam is dependable. Lola done showing for the day? Maggie under the weather? Put Sam back in the rotation.
Sam is proud. When Academy days run long, Sam gets offended. One needs to tell Sam that he is wonderful, that he is a fancy show horse, that we appreciate the sacrifice he is making … and then stand between him and the trailer/stalls. On more than one occasion, he has turned around and headed home, much to the consternation of his wee rider. However, no matter how obstreperous in warm-up, once in the ring, he is always a gentleman who carefully carries his human cargo.
Sam is Horse of the Year. For this or any year.