Tonight was the 2017 Arkansas Hunter Jumper Association (AHJA) Year-End Awards Banquet. Although our show year ends in early November, the club takes the rest of the year off so as not to conflict with any holidays, and then has the banquet the following January.
Because I’m the club secretary, I coordinate with the show secretary a lot, and the two of us work together to keep track of members and points throughout the year. It works out pretty well, especially because Paige is the show secretary, and also basically my best horsey friend.
After winning four championships and one reserve out of five shows for the year, it was pretty easy to figure out where I was in the standings for my division with common sense alone. So it wasn’t any surprise to me that I’d be winning certain awards.
The second AHJA show of the year was scheduled for May 20th at Harmony In Hooves. There are usually two shows at Harmony In Hooves, which is a local therapeutic riding center: one in the spring, which is a regular AHJA show; and one in the fall, which is a benefit show for the organization but still counts as part of the AHJA show calendar and contributes points to year-end totals. I went into preparing for this show feeling more confident about our chances after winning champion at the first show of the year.
The first show of the AHJA show year is in April and this time was hosted at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds in Little Rock, AR on April 15th, 2017. This was my first show with Prada, and I was excited but nervous about how we would do. Last year, the AHJA April show was my first time showing after a seventeen year break, and I was thrilled to leave with two ribbons at the end of the day. After a more successful rest of the 2016 show year, I admit, I had some higher hopes for this year’s April show. I was trying not to get my hopes up too high, but my competitive drive still really wanted me to do well (at least better than last year’s April show!).
The Arkansas Hunter Jumper Association October show is not just one of the six shows in our local show season, but it’s also a benefit show for Harmony In Hooves, the therapeutic riding program that Shana Rawlings runs. In addition to the regular classes offered at all of the other AHJA shows (which also count towards AHJA year end points), there are two leadline classes at the beginning of the day for the therapy riders to show off their skills. Because it’s also at the end of October, there is also a Halloween Costume fun class.
The Arkansas Hunter Jumper Association hosts six one-day schooling/unrated shows a year – three in the spring and three in the fall. The September show is the first fall show after the summer break, supposedly when the weather has started to cool off. The September show this year was hosted at Applewood Farm, the barn where I board Bunny. Although Applewood is my “home barn”, Merlin lives at Harmony In Hooves, so it wasn’t a home show for him.