Simon left last Monday, Oct. 16, for Kentucky, and while I am sad that I have not seen him for almost two weeks, I am glad he has some extra time to settle in after the long trip. My mom and I fly out on Oct. 30 and I can’t wait to see Simon!
In the meantime, he is being well taken care of and enjoying the Kentucky scenery. I have been riding as many horses as I can at home and taking lessons with a few different trainers.
Fundraising for my trip has gone very well. One of my good friends, an adult amateur rider Katy George, has been the mastermind behind the fundraising efforts. Two weekends ago there was a schooling show at Quiet Rein Riding School, just two hours north of where I live. Jill McGrady, the Quiet Rein trainer/owner, has been very supportive of our fundraising efforts.
Katy and Jill’s support and planning have been instrumental in helping to get me and Simon to Kentucky. At the Quiet Rein show, Jill ran a Mini-Maclay class with fences at 2’ and a costume class. Competitor armbands were available for purchase to get the judge’s feedback. A spooky Halloween carnival, caramel apples, and more were offered to help fundraise. I have been overwhelmed at our equestrian community’s support and generosity.
Over the schooling show weekend we also held a braiding clinic. I have been braiding for about seven years—about as long as I’ve been showing. Nine people attended, mostly kids just starting their show careers and interested in learning some of the basics. There were also a couple of adults hoping to improve their braiding techniques.
Jenni Litten, a professional braider from the Pacific Northwest who I have known for almost my entire show career, kindly offered to help teach the clinic. I am very grateful for Jenni because she has been a mentor to me and given me advice throughout these years. Jenni’s structured guidance and knowledge were hugely beneficial for the attendees and I am beyond thankful for her help.
After the Quiet Rein schooling show ended, we added up our fundraising totals and found that we exceeded our goal. I am still shocked and amazed at the support I have received from both my community, as well as complete strangers, to send me and my horse for this amazing experience. It is comforting to know that my mom won’t have to worry as much about costs while we’re in Kentucky, as she already works so hard to let me show.
As the competition gets closer, I am feeling a bit nervous, although my goal for this class is just to have a good experience and learn as much as I can from my trainers and by experiencing the National Horse Show. I’m very excited to watch some of the big jumper classes, the hunter divisions, and my fellow Maclay competitors.
Sophie Lang, 17, placed second in the ASPCA Maclay Region 7 competition, qualifying the Eugene, Ore., junior for the ASPCA Maclay Final in Lexington, Ky., on Nov. 4-5. Lang, who braids and and works at shows to be able to afford to show, wasn’t sure how she was going to afford getting herself and her horse, Paradigm, to Kentucky. Lang’s community got behind her, fund-raising for the trip. Read more about Sophie and her Maclay dreams.