With Youth Nationals upon us, I have decided to take the time to step back and remember why it is that I got involved with the Arabian Horse. Lately, I have noticed that I have been so focused on winning every time I go into the show ring that I have forgotten that the real reason I ride is the joy it brings to me. Riding and showing is about so much more than the roses and ribbons we win, it is about the bond we share with our Arabians and the people we become along the way.
Every rider started their journey in a different way, but one thing we all had in common was the smile that lit up our faces whenever someone would say the word ‘horse”. That raw joy and excitement can be hard to find when we focus all of our energy on winning (something I am guilty of). This year and this Youth Nationals I challenge you to remember why it is you fell in love with the Arabian and why it is you began riding. Remember the best ride you have ever had or the first horse you truly shared a bond with or the biggest mistake you ever made and how that drove you to get better.
The people we have met and the horses we have had have also shaped us into the people we are today. Despite the stereotype that surrounds horse back riding, we do more than just sit on our horse. We have learned the hard work that goes into the day to day maintenance of our horses. We have poured endless hours of training and blood, sweat, and tears into our careers. We have learned that our horse always comes first, even when we are tired and sore and just want a break. When our friends have success and we don’t, we have learned to still always be supportive. And when we are successful and our friends aren’t, we remember to stay humble. Even we have an amazing ride and don’t place how we want, we keep our heads up and when we have the awful ride that makes us want to bury our heads, we resolve to do better next time. Along the way, we have become hardworking, empathetic, and determined people.
This is most likely my last Youth Nationals and I hope I remember everything I just wrote about. I want to win, but thinking about all of the reasons I got started riding and showing, I remember that there is so much more to this sport. So, whether this is your first or last Nationals, take time to remember the first time you saw a horse, your first ride, your best ride, your worst ride, and that feeling you had when you entered the show pen for the first time. These feelings are why we ride.
About the Author Ashley Lounsberry is the Region 11 Youth Vice Director
In the summer, everyone loves popsicles! Why not share one with your horse? There are a lot of fun ways to make horse pops and they’re so easy! With the hot weather coming this is a great way to give your horse a cool, tasty treat!
Here’s what you need: straws, skewers, cups, your horse's favorite treat (such as apples or carrots), and Gatorade or water.
Once you have all your ingredients it’s time to make your horse pop!
Pour your Gatorade or water into the cup.
Add that tasty treat!
Once you have done that place a straw in the cup and put a couple skewers in the straw. The skewers give you something Sturdy to hold the popsicle up with.
Lastly, put it in the freezer overnight and the next day you’ll have a tasty treat for your horse!
About the Author Savanna DeMott is the Region 11 Youth Director
I'm supposed to do WHAT?? Bring a friend to the barn!
By Katie Treadwell
Quite a few people don’t have the option to bring friends with them to the barn to ride their horse, but if you can, it’s some of the best memories you’ll make with your friends. Many of my ‘school’ friends have never been on a horse, let alone brushed one. I have the luxury of having my barn and horses right in my backyard, and I’m always inviting friends over to come ride.
For some people, this is the only experience they’ll ever have around horses. I always start by showing them how to put on the halter and then I let them walk the horse out to the cross ties, where we go through how to brush and pick the feet. At this point they already have huge smiles on their faces. Then they watch as I wrap the legs and put the saddle on, and they come out with me to lunge before we ride.
Normally I’ll get on just to get some of the kinks worked out of my horse before I put my friends on, just because my horse isn’t a lesson horse. Then I’ll get them a helmet and show them how to mount, and once they’re on we’ll figure out their stirrups and go through how to hold the reins and perform basic commands. I’ll walk with them until they get comfortable and then I’ll stand in the middle as they work around me. Often times they’re nervous and my horse can easily pick up on that, so I make sure to always be with them and keep talking so they get comfortable.
Everybody always gets a picture every time they come out to ride, and then they go home and show their parents and everyone else they know. It’s just a really fun time, and it’s pretty cool to see the horse you work with everyday take care of somebody new. It’s even more fun when you can ride at the same time as your friend, and can take pictures together! I love showing new people everything about the horses and they just soak up everything. A few of my friends have even decided they want to get horses now! If you’ve never brought a friend out to the barn with you, I totally recommend inviting them the next time you go!
About the Author Katie Treadwell is the Region 10 Youth Director
5 New Year Resolutions That All Equestrians Need (or at least I do)
By Danika Overstreet
The new year is right around the corner, and while I am spending my last few days of winter break relaxing and desperately trying not to think about finals coming up, I have also had some time to reflect on my horsey endeavors the past year, and there is definitely a few bad habits I could break. I have a feeling I am not the only equestrian out here struggling with these things, so I am writing them down in hopes that you may either learn from me (and my laziness) and add these to your resolutions list, or sigh and say “me” while not changing anything (most likely what I will end up doing).
Resolution #1: CLEAN YOUR DANG TRAILER AFTER SHOWS! I am the absolute worst at cleaning out my trailer after shows. While I love organizing my things at shows and making everything look “cute” and proper, when it’s time to pack it all up your lucky if you can see the floor of my little tack room. It’s just soooooo difficult after a long show to have any motivation beyond getting you and your horse ready for bed. I typically remain blissfully unaware of the true state of my trailer until it is two days before the next show and I am looking at it in dismay wondering how long that salt block in a bag in the corner has been there. While this makes cleaning your trailer a bit of an adventure because you have no idea what your past self is about to throw at you, it’s not practical. Therefore, my first resolution is to clean out my trailer after EVERY show… pray for me.
Resolution #2: Bring veggies, not sweets to the shows! Horse shows for me are one giant excuse to treat myself to whatever unhealthy snacks the vendor might have, and to whatever cookie or doughnuts happen to be laying in front of my barns tack stall. Our barn, like most I have witnessed, bring food or snacks to the shows. Often these include of all the sugary items literally every athlete will tell you to avoid before a competition, but guess what I do? I eat them anyway. While horse shows are lots of fun and can be a time to let loose a bit (after the stress of classes of course), maybe bringing a veggie platter to the next show may be within my and my breeches best interest.
Resolution #3: Are those polo wraps or…? One of the dirtiest and messiest things I own are my polo wraps. As any average equestrian and lover of colorful things, I have about 4-5 pairs of polo wraps. Why? Who knows! But all of them are disgusting. You would think with this many pairs I would be able to keep a few clean but no! All the dirt from the arena has permanently stained some of my wraps I’m pretty sure, and despite my collection I am only capable of using one set at a time for months. This year my goal is to wash my wraps frequently!
Resolution #4: Spend more time just enjoying my horses! My horses are my best friends, and I love them with all my heart, but it can be hard sometimes to remember to just enjoy my time with them. Between the stress of school and showing, it feels like I have no time to just chill with my horses, that every time I am at the barn I need to be training. This year I want to set aside more time to just chill with my horses and relax, I’m sure they would enjoy it and I know I would too.
Resolution #5: Be more confident in myself. While the first 3 resolutions were me just trying to reprimand my lazy self, this is a bit more personal. I think all equestrians could benefit from showing a bit more ferocity and confidence in themselves. Whether it be the show ring, in lessons, or even just in our daily lives, we need to be less afraid of making mistakes. Failing is all a part of learning and if we didn’t fail we wouldn’t have the chance to succeed. Horse back riding is a demanding and emotionally challenging sport, it is no easy task and it is hard to not blame ourselves for every little wrong doing, but if we stick together and remind one another that its okay to not always be on a winning streak, I think we would all be a little happier!
I hope you enjoyed these resolutions and join me this 2018 in adding a bit of organization and positivity into your life!
About the Author Danika Overstreet is the 2017 Youth of the Year