May 3, 2014—Wow! What an incredible day at IHSA Nationals! Today, the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg was buzzing with riders of both disciplines preparing for another day of competitive horse showing. Once again as I walked through the aisle ways in the stadium I could sense the competition in the air, but I was truly amazed by the amount of team work presented by the colleges. I caught a glimpse of English riders helping Western riders put on full chaps and the same thing with the Western girls helping their English teammates zip up their tall boots. I loved that team members from both disciplines were helping each other out and being supportive of each other. It was especially funny listening to the girls from Texas A&M whistle and yell in support of the English Equitation riders.
The day was full of tears of joy and happiness as riders were presented with their awards and then piled on by all their teammates full of excitement.
After all of enthusiasm of the day I was full of positive vibes and couldn’t wait for what was to come. Today my teammate, Courtney Newby, was showing in Alumni Hunter Seat Equitation on the Flat. I believe I had asked Courtney about 15 times if she drew her horse yet before it was time for her to show.
Before the draw Courtney had mentioned that there were 15 other competitors in her class and that she was worried about blending in and not being noticed by the judge. Before Courtney went to the draw she said, “I hope I get a grey horse.”
Although, Courtney’s wish didn’t come true, she managed to draw a lovely bay gelding by the name of Tyler from Skidmore College. Throughout her ride Courtney was able to utilize the quarter line and make herself presentable to the judge.
After what seemed like an eternity, all 16 riders lined up and waited for their placings.
On the sideline I was pressed up against the rail with my teammate, Chelsie Stair, and coach, Mary Pardee. The three of us were as giddy as a bunch of puppies waiting for their owner to return home as we waited for the placings. After every place was announced I found myself clapping with excitement that Courtney’s number had yet to be announced.
Finally, the announcer came down to the final two with Courtney still standing in the middle of the area. At this point we were too excited to care what place she had received because we knew Courtney had placed in the top two! As Courtney waited with anticipation in the arena I could see the excitement in Mary’s eyes. The girl that she had coached as a freshman was announced as Reserve Champion of Alumni Hunter Seat Equitation!
From the start of the day I had a positive feeling for Courtney! I couldn’t be more excited to have been a part of the IHSA National experience. The amount of teamwork and positivity put on display today was amazing. Congratulations to Courtney as well as all the of the IHSA National competitors!