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Be In The Arena

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is not effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;  who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. Theodore Roosevelt

I did not grow up showing much, just a little during a couple summers on a friend’s horses that she wasn’t riding.  You could never paint us with any discipline brush because we entered as many classes as we could English or Western, including any sort of Gymkhana classes.  Then a little showing again in college on the equestrian team.  I don’t remember any great successes, but I really enjoy the process of showing, similar to the way I enjoy horses.

I love every part of horses.  Hauling hay, cleaning stalls, their smell, the way they move and talk to each other, grooming, caring and riding them, just being a part of their world.  With showing, I love the show preparation of packing, laundering pads and show clothes, cleaning tack, bathing the horses, getting up super early and spending the entire day/s immersed in horse.

Looking back on the last seven years that I have been showing, I have learned many lessons about myself and my horses.  My horses seem to enjoy getting out and they are different at a show.  More engaged.  Sometimes the engagement comes out in underlying tension and nerves.  You learn your horses.  They may need less time to warm up or more time.  They may need time to just walk around and let it all soak in.  Shows are a great way to bond with your horse and rely on each other.   They learn to be around lots of other horses, cars, people, signs, loudspeakers.  They see new arenas, new scenery, new obstacles.

Although, I learn the most about me.  Being the “doer of deeds” and at most shows my face is definitely “marred by dust, sweat and blood”.  There were times I did it for the color of the ribbon.    But just wait, partnering with a large animal with their own brain will fix your ego.  Then there is the liability of my brain.  Doing the wrong pattern, forgetting the rules, going off course, “because there is not effort without error and shortcoming.” I don’t take much for granted anymore.  The most important lesson I have learned is that it is never the horse’s fault.

Heather & Molly Sept 2018

Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat; it’s understanding the necessity of both; its engaging. It’s being all in.  Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

I want to be “all in” for my horses.  It is really all about them and they are without question a “worthy cause”.  We, horses and people, were created to partner and be a team.  We work with them to do what they were made to do, but in a certain sequence.  We add value to who they are in their life with people by exposing them to new environments and by partnering with them to reach their potential as well as ours.

Now I show partly because it gives me goals and a reason to, “actually strive to do the deeds.”  Life is busy and I have to have something I have invested in coming on the calendar to make me get out, ride and improve myself.  I owe it to the horses to continue to better myself through time riding, lessons and by showing to get evaluated on my progress and goals.  I want to ride at the best of my ability in order to show my horse to the best of their ability.  You will rarely be ready or prepared, but go anyway.  Show day is not a day to fix anything, don’t worry about the judge/s, do your best in that moment.  It’s is just a horse show, whatever happens, happens, I guarantee you will both learn, grow and many times surprise yourself.  Most importantly, HAVE FUN and make it a great experience for your horse.

“Competition does not have to be a horse show or a race against another horse.  Competition can be a set of standards by which we measure ourselves.  Your standards have great influence on your perceived results.  Choose them carefully.  It is not about the blue ribbon.  It is about evaluating the direction of our work and establishing deadlines for reaching goals… I will always compete, as I need to be challenged and held to an honest evaluation of my progress.  I don’t have to win the blue ribbon, but I need to know if I’m as good as I think I am.”  Trainers Aaron Ralston in “Ride Up:  Live your adventure.”  Co-written with Edgall Franklin Pyles.

Set goals, challenge, push and stretch yourself.  Get out of your comfort zone.  Don’t just do what’s necessary, do what’s possible.  Be relentless, because it is not how you start something, but how you continue.  Expect to fail.  Success does not come without failure.  Then accept your failures.  After all, we connect with each other through our flaws.     

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.  Martin Luther King Jr.

As we reach the end of the summer show season, I encourage riders to set some goals for next year, to find a couple shows or trail rides or team events to participate in.  If participating seems too intimidating at first, start by volunteering and see what it’s like.  There is a kind of horse sport, competition or group for everyone with any shape or size of horse that you will enjoy and meet new horse people along the way.  Encourage each other and the strangers you will meet along the way who will become your friends.  You will see new places and know victories “and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly”.

Feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance in helping you find a challenge or to share your horse story.  [email protected]  Heather McWilliams © 2018.

National Western Stock Show & Horse Show

Background: In its 108th year, the National Western Stock Show is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides college and graduate level scholarships in agriculture and medicine for practice in rural areas. It is also our mission to serve producers and consumers throughout the world by being the premier Stock Show, Rodeo, Horse Show and center for year-round events. The 16-day show also serves as an entertainment arena, hosting one of the world’s richest regular season professional rodeos, largest horse show and Colorado’s largest tradeshow.

Attendance: Overall attendance in 2013 was 628,366. The attendance record was set during the Stock Show’s 100th anniversary in 2006 at 726,972.

Exhibits: More than 15,000 head of horses, cattle, sheep, swine, goats, llamas, alpacas, bison, yak, poultry and rabbits step foot on the grounds of the National Western Stock Show each year. The National Western Stock Show is noted for hosting the world’s only carload and pen cattle show, held in the historic Denver Union Stockyards.

Trade Show: More than 350 vendors fill the nearly 100-acre show grounds with a variety of food and shopping opportunities. The National Western Trade Show offer a variety of products including fine art and jewelry, clothing, household items and agricultural products and equipment.

Ticketed Events: National Western hosts close to 50 performances in the Stadium Arena, Denver Coliseum and National Western Events Center. Among these are the Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza, PBR Bull Riding Touring Pro Finale, Pro Rodeos, Martin Luther King, Jr. African-American Heritage Rodeo, the Gambler’s Choice Open Jumping Stake, National Western Wild West Show, RAM Invitational Freestyle Reining, Grand Prix show jumping, Super Dogs shows, An Evening of Dancing Horses® and Draft Horse and Mule Shows.

Summer Event Calendar!

What are you and your horse going to do during our amazing Colorado summers?  Have a horse-crazy kid?  This is the time of year to start making your plans!  Here is a list of horse related activities for our area.  More detailed information can be found under the Event tab or at the website specified.  Also under Event tab – find, add or even sync to your own calendar.   Learn something or go somewhere new!

COLORADO HORSECARE FOODBANK, horsefoodbank.org, 303-670-1474.

Flowers for Food!  Going on now!  Get exceptionally gorgeous flowers, raised in the mountains at competitive prices.  Your pots or ours.

Cattle Drive & Trail Ride – May 16-18, Friday – Sunday at Colorado Cattle Company’s 10,000 acre ranch.  Registration ending soon!

Hay Bales & Horse Tails – October 3.  Incredible annual fundraiser,  Jeffco Fairgrounds.

CAMPS

Anchorage Farm, Pine, centaurrising.org, 303-838-5086.

Basic Horse Camps (ages 8-15 )

June 10-12, June 17-19, June 24-26, July 8-10. July 29-31

Little Kids Camps (ages 5-7)

June 10-12, July 8-10, July 29-31

Intensive Horse Camps (8 & Up)

June 17-19, July 29-31

Dressage Camps (8 & Up)

July 15-17, August 5-7

Family & Kids Horsemanship Camps, Llaves, New Mexico, jubileehorse.com.

Amazing opportunity to enjoy your horses or theirs, thousands of acres of National Forest and learn something         while you are at it with local trainer, Julie Phillips.

 

CLINICS

COLORADO CORRAL RANCH RACE /WESTERN DRESSAGE CLINIC & COMPETITION – Evergreen Rodeo Grounds. See Shows for September 14th. MtnHomes4Horses.com, 303-638-0994.

September 13

COLORADO CORRAL RANCH RACE CLINIC – with Tucker Black.

WESTERN DRESSAGE CLINIC – With Train The Trainers TM Instructor, Kelly Hendricks.

 

HarmonyHorseworks, Conifer, harmonyhorseworks.com.

ESCT or PEAT Clinics and Beginner lessons – Heal the spooky horse and fearful rider.   Flexible schedule.

 

Tucker Black Clinics, Red Hawk Ranch, Conifer, tuckerblackhorsemanship.com.  303-870-8389.

April 26 Horsemanship 1 and Trail Course. One or both.
May 10   Horsemanship 2 and Trail Course. One or both.
June 21  Introduction to Working Cows
July 19   Cow Work

HORSE SHOWS

4-H Open (anyone/all age groups can participate)  – English/Western/Trail/Gymkhanas:

May 11 – Harry Horse Show, Westernaire Arena, Jeffco Fairgrounds.

May 18 – Arvada Hoofprints, Westernaire Arena, Jeffco Fairgrounds.

June 22 – Horse Feathers, Evergreen Rodeo Arena.

July 12 & 13 – Pleasant Park Clinic & Show, Mckeever Arena, Conifer.

July 20 – Jeffco Rangers/Wranglers, Rodeo Arena, Jeffco Fairgrounds.

July 27 – Ranch Race 4-H Clinic 8-10am, 10am-12pm & Open Competition. 1230pm – ~530pm.

August 7 – Jeffco County Fair – English/Western/Trail, Rodeo Arena.

August 8 – Jeffco County Fair – Gymkhana, Rodeo Arena.

September 28 – 4-H Fun Show, Table View Arena, Jeffco Fairgrounds.

Centaur Rising RMDS Dressage Shows:

Anchorage Farm, Pine, centaurrising.org, 303-838-5086.

July 20: #1

August 10: #2

COLORADO CORRAL RANCH RACE/WESTERN DRESSAGE COMPETITION – Evergreen Rodeo Grounds.(past Ranch Race Slide Shows at YouTube channel, MtnHomes4Horses).  See Clinics for September 13th.  MtnHomes4Horses.com, 303-638-0994.

September 14

DRESSAGE Schooling Show – Ride-a-Test Format, USDF Judge.

Open to Ride English, Western or Gaited.

RANCH RACE COMPETITION – All ages & levels.  

MEETINGS – Educational

Buffalo Bill Saddle Club, Jeffco Fairgrounds 7-930pm, bbscgolden.org

2nd Wednesday’s 7-930pm at Jeffco Fairgrounds.

Intermountain Horse Association, Beau Jos Meeting Room 630-8pm, Evergreen.  Intermountainhorse.org.

3rd Tuesdays – April 15, May 20, Summer off, September 16, etc.

TRAIL RIDING

Buffalo Bill Saddle Club – see ride & camping schedule online at bbscgolden.org.  Too many to list!

Colorado Corral Trail Rides – email [email protected] to get on the trail ride email list.  Casual riding with friends at local parks every couple of weeks.

Front Range Backcountry Horsemen, frontrangebackcountryhorsemen.org for information:

May 16 & 17 – Indian Creek Camp & Work Ride

June 6-8 – Girl’s Camping Trip

June 28 – Captain Mountain Work Day, 50th Anniversary

July 18-26 – Colorado Trail Ride

September 6 – Wilderness Walk, Evergreen

Intermountain Horse Association Poker Ride, intermountainhorse.com.

September 6 – Details TBD.

North American Trail Ride Conference, NATRC.org, volunteers and new riders welcome!

May 3-4, 17 – Clinics – Eckert & Larkspur.

May 24 & 25 – Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs.

June 7 & 8 – Colorado Trail, Buffalo Creek.

July 19-20 – Willow Springs, Jefferson.

RANCH SORTING

Evergreen Ranch Sorters:  Saturdays 10am-12pm, June – Late Fall: Reffel’s Arena, Pine, details at evergreenranchsorters.com.  Non-members welcome! 

RODEO

Evergreen Parade & Rodeo Weekend, Evergreen Rodeo Grounds, evergreenrodeo.com.

Saturday 14 – 10am Parade, 2pm Rodeo (with Muttin Bustin)

Sunday 15 – 2pm Rodeo (with Muttin Bustin)

Volunteers Needed for Parade and Rodeo!  Go to Volunteer tab on website.