Today was the first half of the 4H Most Improved Horse Show. This one is a little bit different than the other horse shows for a couple of reasons; first, it's a two part show and second, the girls are really only competing against themselves rather than everyone else.
Our day started at 6:00 this morning with everyone racing around to get showered, eat, hair braided, diaper bag packed and horses loaded. We were right on track when we pulled out at 7:30.
4H requires that anyone entering the arena be wearing "show attire". This consists of a cowboy hat, western style button up, long sleeve shirt with collar and cuffs, belt, dark jeans (no holes) and boots. Yesterday, my mom and I took Taylor around town to find her a show shirt, hat and belt. We had a terrible time finding a hat that would fit her, but finally we did and it even had pink trim to match her shirt and pink belt.
They looked so aDorable in their show outfits!
Meghan and Silver
Jeff had the opportunity to go Bass fishing with friends today, so he missed the show--that meant that I needed to pull the horse trailer again. We left a little early in hopes that we would be among the first to arrive and I would have lots of room to maneuver and I could nose in in such a way that no one would be able to park in front of me. Imagine our surprise (and my panic) to find out that there were quite a few trailers already there. To make things worse, Meghan informed me that our group needed to be parked in the same area (I'll not fall for that again) and so I was going to have to park in the row behind the other trailers.
In my now incredibly nervous state, I did not drive forward enough and so when I turned and pulled in behind the front row, I was not only too close to the trailer in front of me, but I was also terribly crooked! For one fleeting moment I thought I was going to have to back the trailer up and try to get it straight with 15 families watching me. Thank goodness one of the guys in our club was there and I happily hopped out and let him back us up and re-park us.
The girls entered both events; Showmanship and Horsemanship. In Showmanship you are on the ground leading your horse in a pattern. For this particular show it was-set up your horse at the first cone, walk to the second cone, trot to the third cone, back your horse three steps, execute a 270 degree turn and the walk to the judge.
Horsemanship is in the saddle, riding a different pattern. Today's was-set up at the first cone, walk to the first cone, trot to the second cone, lope a circle to the left in a left lead at the center cone do a simple lead change and lope a circle to the right (makes a figure 8) in a right lead, trot to the fourth cone and back 5 steps the exit the arena.
Taylor and Sackett doing the 270 during Showmanship
The patterns have to be memorized and you are penalized for not following the pattern exactly (among other things). For most shows, they post the pattern just before the show begins, but this year the kids were given the pattern a few days in advance. The judges make notes all through the routine and then the girls will get a copy of those notes telling them the things they were marked down for and what they need to work on for the next few months. Then in August, shortly before the fair, they will do the exact same patterns again in front of the same judges and they will compare the scores from the two shows. Those from each age group and for each event that have "made the most improvement" will win "Most Improved". For Showmanship you win a show halter and for Horsemanship you win a belt buckle. Needless to say, both girls want very badly to win!
They both did a great job. There is plenty of room for improvement though, so there is a chance that they could be the ones to win! I love watching them work hard and then stand before the judges. I always get a little teary eyed. This year is especially big for me not only because I have two daughters this time, but because Meghan is getting to use my dad's horse for it this year. He would be so incredibly proud of his little cowgirls! I wish he were here to see them.