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July 6, 2010

Jump, Jump, Jump Around

Who needs the new iPhone? These 12-year-olds are happy to go to horse shows. Photo by Elizabeth Howell.

Our trip to Northampton, Mass., is over, and we’re back from the 24th Annual Northeast Benefit Horse Show. The girls (Samantha and Rachel) started off their show week by competing in the “Hopeful Jumper” division. What a great name. These two 12-year-old girls couldn’t have been more thrilled to compete in the jumper ring. Many riders were feeling hopeful—there were 29 entries in each class.

The second class was power and speed. Samantha successfully remembered her course and jump-off without missing a beat. The girls both agreed that riding in polo shirts rather than show shirts and coats was awesome, especially since it was close to 90 degrees.

The next day was hunters, and both girls earned blue ribbons—Rachel in the pony hunter division and Samantha in the pre-children’s hunter. It’s always fun to see Rachel’s Misty, a rescued Mustang pony, win against pony brethren blessed by far cushier upbringings. Rachel’s mom cried when I called to tell her the news.

There were ribbons in the equitation divisions as well and many attempts to qualify for the Massachusetts Mini Medal. A few points were earned, but if we want to make it to the Massachusetts Medal Finals in October, we’ll need to schedule a few more trips to Massachusetts, which is just fine with Samantha and Rachel. Who knew there was a 2’6” mini-medal equitation final for the under 15 set? Unfortunately for my wallet, my kid now knows and has it on her radar.

I managed to survive the week without any additional poop incidents. Jenna Leigh Teti was the photographer on site. Her work is simply beautiful. Her trio of helpers was very entertaining. By the fourth day they were a bit punchy, wondering why horse show people seem to want the horse show day to drag on and on and on. Our days were blessedly short. Most nights we were back at the hotel by 7 p.m. and the girls were in the pool by 7:07 p.m.

Today, it’s back to work. Thankfully, it’s a good day to be in an air conditioned office. But I’d trade it for another day at a horse show in a heartbeat.

Elizabeth Howell grew up riding on the hunter/jumper circuit in Massachusetts. Now she is a horse show mom. She holds a day job at The Emily Post Institute and slings horse manure on the weekends. Her website is www.sheridesIpay.com.

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