Monday, August 3, 2009

Johnny and the Brecksville Horse Show

Yesterday Johnny and I competed in the Brecksville Horse Show along side my best friend C and her Quarter Horse mare "Abbie." The morning started off with quite a few mishaps. First of all, I woke up a tad late to misting rain outside my window. Since this show is held on grass, my first thought was "oh great...the ground is going to be muddy and slippery." Second, as I was driving to the barn C called me to say that her alarm hadn't gone off this morning, and that she was running close to an hour late. So much for making our warm up 2ft class....but it was still misting and so I decided that it was no big deal, better to just take our time and not rush. Since we didn't have to pre-enter for this show, missing classes wasnt a huge deal. Johnny was waiting in the barn along side a very impaient Emmy who has been chosen to stay in with Johnny to keep him company (the horses go out at night when its cooler, so Johnny had to stay in to keep clean.) Braiding him was another fiasco...he hates it. He will stand for hours in the crossties for anything other than braiding, and its not that he just jigs...he WALKs back and forth or if you tie him up he just bounches his head up and down in protest. Poor John. I try my hardest not to get mad at him, because I know that this is all new to him, but after the 5th time of him shaking the same braid out of my hand, my patience begins to run a little low. I manage to only really yell at him once, which I have to say he deserved, and I think he got the point, because he stood very well after that.

We arrived at the show ten minutes before the start at 9am (my first class was supposed to be at 9) Since we had decided to scratch the first class, there was no rush for anything, so we opened up the trailer and went to register. Johnny was entered in the 18" schooling over fences in the hunter ring and open walk/trot english pleasure and english equitation in the main ring. I gave him a nice hack around the show ground early, and he was very quiet. E and his mom showed up just as I was getting ready for my pleasure class in the main ring. It was nice of them to come and watch :) I told them not to expect any ribbons today...the classes were large and filled with nice Quarter Horses and Arabians. My class was called to the ring with 16 horses in it...Quarter Horses and Paints and Arabians all filed in before us...nice pleasure horses too. At the in gate, I gathered my reins and asked John to trot.

We trotted into the arena, flanked by box seats, booths, tents and tarps. There were flowers around the announcers stand in the middle of the ring, music playing and people everywhere, but for the first time ever Johnny held his composure. He stretched his neck down, flung his legs out and trotted around the arena at an even pace, bending into his corners and keeping his lips quiet around the bit (he likes to flap his lower lip when he's's actually quite humerous...) We walk and trotted both directions of the ring and were called to the line up where the judge came down and one by one, asked us to please back up our horses. "Great" I thought. "Johnny's favorite thing to do...NOT" but when she came up to us, I put my leg on, wiggled the reins and to my surprise he dropped his nose and backed right up! I was so pleased with him that I broke my own composure and gave him a big pat and a scratch right there in the show ring. So what if the judge had just seem me drop my reins to congradulate him? We weren't going to place against these horses anyway. The show was COSCA rated and they were all here getting points for the year end championships. John and I had our own personal best ride...last place (6th in the ribbons) out of 16 horses would be a HUGE accomplishment if we could even pull that off. The announcer clicked on over the loud speaker. "Thank you class number 12, open walk/trot english pleasure sponsered by...." she carried on to announce the class sponsers and the presentors of todays ribbons and throphy. "In first place, winner of the rosette and trophy we would like to congratulate number 932..."

No one stepped forward.

"Walk The Line, owned and shown by Kate Hanneman..."

Wait. Oh my god thats US! I hope that the photographer got a picture of my face when I realized that Johnny and I had just beat some of the best walk/trot pleasure horses in the state. I was somewhere between laughing and crying while the ring master presented us with a big blue ribbon and an engraved pewter plate. Even with Emmy I had never even PLACED at this horse show against the trained pleasure horses...let alone WON it. I was so proud of Johnny!! The Standardbred kicked pleasure horse butt!!!

Our jumping warm up went awesome as well. It was not judged, but Johnny and I cantered over almost the entire course. C told me that he looked like a million bucks out there, cantering down the lines like a "real" horse haha. Again I was so proud of him! After that it was back to the main ring for equitation, where Johnny again performed like a super star, winning that class as well!!!

I couldn't have asked for a better day with him! Afterwards I went to the consession stand and bought him a little box full of plain donoughts as a reward. Him and Abbie shared them with joy! I think he slept almost the whole trailer ride back, I kept turning around to look at his silhouette through the back window and the tips of his ears were barely visible.
Being a champion must be hard work.



  1. I was in that class w/ you. We were the bay Quarter Horse w/ a Russian rug braid in our mane if you saw. Anyways once I got in there and one glance at just a couple of the horses around us I knew we were doomed. Apple Jack is almost five, but he's only been under saddle for about a year and 1/2 now, with his only professional training in groundwork, and only me just an experienced rider for a trainer under saddle. Anyways in the ring I was like well its only walk trot I can pull off a ribbon I would think because that's not too hard for him. but of course he was being stubborn and not fully giving me his head for that class, but he was staying on the rail being good w/ a fairly tucked head, just not his best. and then I came to realize that every time I would look at the judge....she was never looking where I was at. Except in the beginning when we entered and that was not our best entry either because I was trying to get him to tuck his head more. between judge not looking at us often and the fact that we were against some really good horses, I was proud of him for being good in the ring and behaving himself, that I was OK w/ not placing. Our next class was class 14 Youth Activities Equitation. We did odd in that one. he did fantastic when going around the ring, except when of course we cantered passed the judge he did break out of it a little, but I guess we picked it up fast enough that she didn't mind. On the pattern I guess I was the only one I think that did exactly what it looked like on the paper, and stayed to the left of the cones. I thought we did really bad because we only got 1-2 strides of each lead in when we were supposed to do a full circle cantering each way cantering I think a figure 8. One person did a flying lead others completed more strides then I did IDK either way when we were lined up I was like, ugh the gray horse will get it so I a little slumped over. I here number 942 called I'm like waiting for them to say that was a mistake and then I realize it wasn't. A smile shoots out of me, my posture went to perfect and we trotted over for our ribbon. of course the lady was four feet away handing it to us and like wouldn't step forward an extra foot to make easier to grab, but what ever I was willing to bend over extra for that ribbon. I was so proud of him between the 2 shows we did these last 2 weeks and I promised him no more intense thinking work until 2 weeks before our next show that's maybe in October. My parents and I very much enjoyed your blog. My Dad couldn't come to the show and Mom said you are a very expressive writer. I'm 16 BTW. Here's my latest vid of AJ if your interested. It's not of our best work, but more for entertainment.

  2. Thank you! I watched your video and left a comment on it there (user: EmmyMoo87) Your horse is very well trained for a 4 year old,great job with him! He looks fantastic! Congrats on winning your class at the horse show as well!! It's very exciting to do well with a horse that you have trained yourself. Johnny is a Standardbred ex-trotter whom I saddle broke and trained this summer, so for him to win a pleasure class against Quarter Horses was a really big accomplishment for him! There were so many nice horses at the show :) Maybe we will run into eachother again sometime? Keep up the good work!!

  3. EXCELLENT work! You deserve those wins! Great work showing the world how fabulous STBs are! :)

  4. Thank you! :) We had lots of fun!