March is here and 2021 is well underway. This time last year the world took a turn that none of us would have expected. While it brought forth many challenges, it was also a time of opportunity and self-realization. We were able to slow down many areas of our lives and unfortunately horse shows slowed as well. However, the horse industry is one filled with innovators, and within no time the infamous Virtual Horse Show was born.
The Virtual Horse Show was the perfect platform for those who loved horses to come together and rally for each other as we tackled pattern after pattern that was presented. People were performing these patterns wherever they could, whether that was in an arena, a corn field, or in one case, the snow! As people posted their runs, fellow enthusiasts would comment their praises and encouragement. It was so inspiring!
One of the biggest game changers that The Virtual Horse Show offered was feedback from highly accredited judges. This gave exhibitors of all levels the opportunity to learn from their runs and better understand what was expected in the show pen. We had time to dive deep into the meaning of true horsemanship.
In a parallel timeline, Rooster and I had just started sharing our first book with schools and horse clubs. Rooster was able to come out to meet the kids and be a part of the experience they had while I read the books to them. Then they would come and ask Rooster questions, which was my favorite part of the whole event. Watching the children light up as they pet Rooster reminded me of why I fell in love with these great animals in the first place.
As schools and clubs closed, I had to great creative with ways to share Rooster’s story. I also took this time to perfect our drawing and writing craft. Just as my horsemanship could improve, so could my capabilities as an author. I found new tools that made the publishing process easier and gave a better finished product. I just needed inspiration for Rooster’s next book.
In November 2020, the AQHA World Show pulled off a feat that many feared couldn’t be done. They hosted the largest World Show in AQHA History amid a pandemic. Rooster and I were so thankful to be there, but we had big goals. While we were there we could finally meet up with our virtual coaches. To have them all in one place was a dream come true! It was the ultimate test to see if what they had shared with me during our break made a difference. The show was going to be a long one for us, as we entered 5 events in the Level 3 Amateur All Around.
We were blessed enough to make the finals in our first class: Amateur Showmanship. The time came for results. Up until this point, I had never won a World Show Globe. This was a goal that had been twenty years in the making. Every ride in and out of the show pen had been with this goal in mind. As they called the placings, Rooster and I were down to the final four. We were so close to earning a trophy but looking at the company we were with and knowing Rooster had given me his best, I was completely at peace with whatever the outcome would be. In the end, Rooster and I walked away with a Reserve World Champion trophy and a smile that couldn’t be shaken.
Just when I thought things couldn’t be better, we made the finals for the Amateur Horsemanship. This was another class that had been elusive for us, but it was the best opportunity to put into practice what my trainers had taught me. The pattern was a unique one in the fact that it began with a two track across the arena. While this could be a daunting feat, Rooster and I welcomed the challenge. One of my goals during the shut down was to teach Rooster how to do a lead change, and in the process of that we did two tracks almost daily. We trotted in and two tracked to the center and once again I couldn’t stop smiling. I had never felt so connected to a horse, and while we were only twenty seconds in, I knew Rooster was going to be there for me no matter what.
The rest of the pattern flowed and built with ever growing confidence. Once our ride was over, I felt an overwhelming calm because Rooster had given me the best ride of our life. As the placings were being called down, Rooster and I found ourselves in the same situation as the night before. We were down to the final four, then three, then two. I looked over at a competitor I admired and smiled. This was beyond our wildest dreams. The feeling was different than I expected. I expected so much surprise to be in that situation, so many nerves. It is a spot that you spend decades reliving in your head. As we stood there, I was at peace. Peace! In the middle of one of the craziest times in an All Arounder’s life! But that peace was from kno
wing that we had prepared, grown, and put our trust in a greater being than ourselves.
When Rooster and I were named AQHA World Champions, I knew I needed to share this part of the story with young horse lovers everywhere. When we experience trying times in life, whether it is a pandemic, a tough day at school, or a bad day at the barn, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are so many great people who care about you. People want to see you improve. One step in the right direction is huge, so if you do one thing today, please reach out for help. Or if someone reaches out to you, take the extra five minutes, because it could mean the world to them.
We just published Rooster’s newest book called Rooster the Red Roany Pony Tackles a Triathlon which shares Rooster’s journey on asking for help and tackling a triathlon. See you next month!
Pick up your copy from Amazon here!