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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What gets the Blue Ribbons?

Though my career in riding and in life I've won many blue ribbons for different things. I've won them for artwork, for speech competitions, for moot court competitions, for dog training endevors, for poetry writing, and for horse shows of course. To this day I believe I still have giant Nostrums boxes under my childhood bed packed tight with ribbons from every event I've ever done.

Not everyone shows though, or understand how it works and I have been asked how one person gets the blue ribbon over the other horses in the competition, and what are the different components that are looked at, that come into play when being rewarded. And how the HECK, as a rider, do you get yourself to line up with what the judge wants that moment to get that ten cent rosette and three drop ribbon that will be placed with the rest in do time.

Well, there are many different ways that one can come about a blue ribbon while at a dressage show, and those would be (in no particular order)...

By default. Sometimes I have been the one who stayed in the arena. Sometimes not. If you're the lucky one that can keep your "cat in the bag" while the others all lose their minds, you win. Great job!

By having the nicest horse. Shameful feeling, to school the babies and take ribbons from newbies and kids. Note to self: remember to show unjudged next time under those circumstances. This happanes a lot when you have a young really nice mount and want to show a low level to get this horse use to the grounds/getting out/showing and you're up against "the back yard gang" of the local weekend warrior kid's riding club. Whoops. But you still win.... score one for BLUE!

By surprise. Sometimes you don't know your horse is a rockstar until it happens. This is a nice surprise. You look at the line up for the day and think you'll find yourself as a good mid-pack contender... only to see that you've blown them all out of the water. Nice. Savor that one because it's real and it has to do with training.

By determination. That you will beat the woman whom has been running down your home-bred Warmblood, or your Throughbred all season. She has an excuse afterwards but you have a 69% and it's the last show to qualify at. Sorry to say, it felt great. Take that snooty dressage queen!!

By luck. The judge looked down during the airborne canter depart. Or you have Burton as a judge and he most likely fell asleep for a portion and then asked the scribe or gave you the benefit of the doubt.

By accident. Pigeons fly up and your horse gives you an extension he never had before and never will again. As long as you stay on and don't scream out... you're golden. Go pick up your ribbon.

By hard work and consistency. I wish this one seemed to have more to do with it all but looking back, it really does appear to be somewhat random. But without this you're not even getting your horse on the trailer. Have to get at least to point A (and enter collected canter...)

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