Illinois State Junior Horse Show
 By Uphill Climb   •   14th Mar 2014   •   3,036 views   •   0 comments
Illinois State Junior Horse Show

For almost three years I leased a mare named Queenie. Recently, Queenie and I competed at the Illinois State Junior Horse Show in a few different classes. Our first class was Hunter Horse Over Fences and it was not very pretty at all. The course consisted of 2'9 to 3' jumps, but I have previously only jumped at most 2'6... so let's just say it was interesting. I started with my circle and then picked up my canter and headed to jump one, Queenie refused once but continued on over with the second attempt. Then we turned to the second jump and she went over like a pro. The first 3' was next, and after two more refusals I was swiftly excused from the arena.

During our down time between classes we warmed up on a few jumps and waited patiently for our next class. The 15-18 year old Hunter class included the exact same jumps as our previous class, but in a different order. I waited my turn and then entered the arena with a smile on my face and that can-do attitude. My trainer gave me a great pep-talk and I entered the arena will enough confidence to finish the course. We did our circle and then picked up the canter, without a slight hesitation Queenie jumped the first one, and the the second one, third, and fourth! Then on the fifth jump, she quickly refused a 3' jump. I stayed focused and encouraged her on the second attempt - we nailed it! Next we headed to the sixth jump, the one she refused in the previous class. Queenie was setting up nice and at the last second.... she stopped!

I went over the jump without her.

I only had two jumps left to finish the course. Just two jumps and I would have placed. I was so upset that I was so close to finishing and could not stop replaying the mistake in my head.

Our next class was Hunter Hack. I entered the arena with my competitors and we took our turns, one by one we completed the two jump pattern. On our turn we started out very nicely, the first one wasn't too bad. When we approached the second jump she refused! We succeeded on the second attempt, but continued away from the jump on the wrong lead. Another class without placing.

Illinois State Junior Horse Show
2' 9" Jump

I did not expect much in the next class either - Dressage. I learned my pattern and in no time it was my turn. We walked up to the judge stand and gave my number and awaited the whistle. I did my pattern to the best I could, while keeping a smile on my face, although it was truly a challenge on such a rough day. After I finished my dressage test, I put Queenie away for the night and headed to the camper a little disappointed I had not placed all day. However, we wouldn't know the results of the Dressage test until tomorrow.

On day two I quickly did my morning chores and ran to the office to get my Dressage score from the previous day. I scored a fourth place ribbon! There was a total of twenty-six people in my class and I was the fourth highest score. Day two was going to be easier, I had just one class and that was Hunt-Seat Equitation on the Flat. We performed a near perfect pattern as my trainer told me but I got disqualified for performing the pattern on the wrong side of the cones.

The third day I continued to narrowly miss placing due to silly mistakes in Stock-Type Hunter Under Saddle, Pattern Riding and Trail class. The last day had finally arrived and I wanted to close out on an up note with my final class. In the warm-up arena I practiced the pattern until I was sure I would nail it. The hardest part would be to make the left turn on a right lead lope. I waited in line and then I caught a glimpse of the cones.... they were very close. We started good, but then made a left turn doing a right lead lope. We finished and gave a simple nod to the judge and exited the far gate.

It was over.

Illinois State Junior Horse Show

It finally hit me that I would never again show Queenie, the mare I loved so much. I took a few moments to compose myself as it was a very hard thing to comprehend. I had leased this mare for almost three-years and winning well over 70 ribbons and it was all over in a blink of the eye. I dismounted Queenie and walked her back into the barn and began to slowly untack her, savoring what time I did have left with her. I knew I would still see her, but it would not feel the same. With a final kiss on the nose, I packed up and left the Illinois State Fair grounds.
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