Our involvement with the American Saddlebred spans the course of the last 9 1/2 years. My oldest daughter, Morgan, begged me for years to take riding lessons, and one Sunday she found an ad in the paper advertising lessons at a farm close to our home. I called, we went, and the rest is history. Morgan was almost 11 at the time, and she fell in love with the sport. My son Logan was almost 3 and Jordan was just a baby at the time, but they went to every practice with Morgan.
Logan enjoyed riding for a while, but it was Jordan who grew to live, breathe, and sleep horses. She would sit, even at 18 months old, and listen to every word being said to Morgan, and by the time she was 3 1/2, she was asking to learn to ride. I held off letting her show in academy until she was 7, because I guess I'm just a "Nervous Nellie" and she was so small. She showed one season in Academy, and then moved to 10 & under WT with a very special pony named What a Doll. "Dolly" is probably the winningest pleasure pony on the east coast, and spent some time at Smith Lilly's barn before Carolyn bought her back for Karin's children, Justin & Katie. Justin & Katie have graciously shared Dolly with Jordan for the past 3 1/2 years, and Dolly has taught Jordan so much about horses and riding. Despite all appearances, Dolly is NOT a "pushbutton horse" - she has challenged Jordan in many ways, but has helped prepare her for her move to "the big horses".
Along the way, we have been to many great horse shows in Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky. We have helped to organize and hold the Old Dominion Futurity Benefit Horse Show, which is entering its 8th year in 2009. We have witnessed the historical return of the Saddlebred to the Washington International Horse Show for the first time in 36 years on October 24, 2008, and we have been active members and supporters of the American Saddlebred Horse Association of Virginia (ASHAV).
We will continue to support and promote this breed in whatever means we can, because we believe that the American Saddlebred is the perfect horse for families and children. We consider the Saddlebred one of America's "hidden treasures", and hope to help unearth that treasure so that it can be recognized for the true gem that it is.
Friday, January 9, 2009
The second Winter Tournament was held this past Saturday at Hollins College in Roanoke, VA. Jordan was a little nervous because at the last tournament she had a little bit of a rough ride. She showed a horse that she had only ridden twice before, and couldn't get him to canter.
This time, she showed a horse that she had a little more experience with, and had two great rides. Our goal for this tournament was for her to just get in the ring, have a good ride, and get both her canters. She passed with flying colors! The first class she went in and was more relaxed than I've ever seen her. She rode the ring well, and won the Advanced Equitation 11-13 class over two older, more experienced riders who are super equitation riders.
She rode brilliantly in the second class as well - unfortunately, the horse was wrong behind at the first canter. She did manage to get 3rd out of 6 in this class, and was happy with both of her rides. I am glad that UPHA sponsors these winter tournaments - it's a great opportunity for riders to stay "legged up" for show season, and it provides the younger riders the opportunity to enter the ring with different horses and expand on their riding skills.