Show Report, NACHS 2016

Our setup for Nationals. I know I am over the show when my trainer's voice no longer echoes in my head and I no longer see this when I close my eyes. Not there yet. Photo by Courtney Huguley
Our setup for Nationals. I know I am over the show when my trainer’s voice no longer echoes in my head and I no longer see this when I close my eyes. Not there yet.
Photo by Courtney Huguley

National Academy Championship Horse Show
October 28 – 30, 2016
Tennessee Miller Coliseum
Murfreesboro, TN
Academy WTC Adult with Sultan’s Miracle Man (Sam) & Callaway’s Sweet Daddy (Iggy)
Thank you to the Courtney Huguley for the terrific team of horses.

Friday Morning
2A. Adult WTC Equitation with Sam, 4th of 8
7A. WTC Pleasure Adult with Iggy, 2nd of 8
(The class was split, but we all went forward. Had there been more entries, 8 would have moved on.)

Saturday Morning
29. WTC Equitation Adult Championship with Sam, 6th of 16
34. WTC Pleasure Adult with Iggy, 2nd of 16
(Top ten went forward to Sunday.)

Sunday Morning
59. Adult Pleasure WTC National Finals with Iggy, 3th of 10
67. Adult WTC Equitation National Finals with Iggy, 4th of 10
(Ribbons to 3rd place.)

Sandra Hall Photography > Horse Show Proofs > National Academy Championship Horse Show > days & classes as above.

TOUGH. The competition took a quantum leap since last year. Every class was filled with good performances. No sparkling standouts, no bless-your-heart rides. Solid quality across the board, in classes of 15 or 16 riders. Only one of our riders went straight through to Sunday, the rest of us had to qualify at least once: 5 out of 10, 8 out of 16, 10 out of 15. Any ribbons were hard earned.

In my division, I had to qualify on Saturday by being top 10 out of 16. First time I’ve had to do that. Historically, there have been less than 10 old farts, allowing us to skip merrily through the weekend. In the finals, I slid down a few places, from 2nd & 2nd last year to 3rd & 4th this year. I had to ride like a bandit to even do that well.

I would have liked to do better. Short of the gold medal/all the blues/all 10s, one always does. I’m okay with my results and pleased with how I rode. Mostly.

The weekend is quickly receding into a blur. Specifics were posted in the tweet stream, scheduled for Saturday. I mostly remember the last day. Since the judges seemed to prefer me on Iggy, I rode him for both pleasure (showmanship) and equitation.

In the first final on Sunday, I heard a lot of “Sit up. Sit back.” as I went around the ring. In the second final, my rail work was better. Less correction, more “Smile”. Apparently resting zombie face is becoming an issue [Show Report ACCHS]. Six were asked to do the pattern.

The pattern is usually my jam. This one was not. When I am trying to get a lot done in a short amount of time, I can be, um, abrupt. Previous Horse and Sam were/are okay with this. Previous Horse wanted to hear, Stop, Go, Turn, Jump. Anything else was extraneous noise. Rodney, Mathilda, Iggy, most horses require more discussion of upcoming life events. Parts of the pattern were good. I had the best line and I stuck it. Other parts, I could tell I was muscling Iggy about rather than being subtly effective. It wasn’t horrid, but okay was not gonna frost the cupcake.

I suspect that even a good pattern would not have made the critical difference. The judges were in love with the first place rider in my division (she won six times). The only chance the rest of us had at the blue was if she face planted (metaphorically). She didn’t. They were equally happy with the second place rider. The only class where she finished lower than first or second was on Friday when I beat her. So, I was fighting for 3rd, maybe 2nd as a long shot. Absolutely, I would have been thrilled to place higher. Ribbons is ribbons. But after four years of seconds & thirds in the finals (4 of the first, 3 of the latter), I wasn’t going home with the one ribbon that continues to elude me. My white whale.

It would have been nice to finish on a high note. OTOH, I would have found something else on which to perseverate at 4 in the morning.

Will I Go Back Next Year?
Oh. H*ll. No. I am tired of Academy. I am finished with Nationals. If I never see Tennessee Miller Coliseum again, it will be too soon. Over. Done. Not happening. The curtain is down and has been nailed to the floor.

It is possible that I am overreacting. Each year I say never again.

I could lead a rich and fulfilling life if I never rode in another equitation class. [Show Report 2014]

Each year I am sucked back into the whirlpool.

I find it easier to make a big push if I have a sense of a finish line. I persevere by promising myself an end in sight. Once I reach the finish line, the end of a big job, the other side of Nationals, I collapse and swear never again to move, to work, or to show in Murfreesboro. Then recovery sets in and I take an interest in my surroundings once more. The problem inconvenience design choice at the moment is that if I want to show, my option is Academy saddle seat. And I do like to horse show.

Nationals on the ‘Net
Riding Like A Lady Truck Driver: SIX Important Things I Learned This Show Season
Note my comment. Seriously, did not have a moment to chat. This is an unusual situation for me. I never have trouble finding time to talk.

No Sleep in Helena: 2016 National Academy Championship Horse Show

The End Bun & photo by Reagan Upton
The End
Bun & photo by Reagan Upton


Show Reports
2015 Show Report, of a sort, NACHS 2015
2014 Show Report: Important Questions from NACHS 2014, Part 1
Show Report: Important Questions from NACHS 2014, Part 2
2013 Show Report: NACHS, Part I
Show Report: NACHS, Part II
Show Report: NACHS, Part III
List of links 2013, 2014, 2015

National Academy Championship Horse Show website

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

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