Yesterday my student Sarah was awarded the Sportsmanship award by Jackie Turnbull at the Carolina Mule Association show! It was a moment that made me very proud of her and my whole team. Both Sarah and her sister Laura were competing throughout the day and the decision was between the two of them for the award.
Sarah was riding Penny due to her own horse currently being in recovery from a recent injury. Sarah had only ridden Penny once that week and was just looking to have fun and gain more show experience. While Sarah did well in her pattern classes, trail classes and even her riding classes she did not always place. Penny is an older horse who is not the most toned for halter or the best mover, but she was putting her whole heart into taking care of Sarah this past Saturday. Sarah maintained a bright and chipper attitude throughout the day despite not always winning.
Jackie later expressed how proud she was of Sarah and gave both girls great tips. Laura was given tips for her riding level and future shows, while similar advice was given to Sarah she took away riding with confidence as the most important. They were complimented on their riding but encouraged to always bring their "A game" no matter the level of show we attend. As well as told to ride in the arena with the utmost of confidence so they look like they are ready to win and how much it really pays off.
These are all things we constantly discuss on my team - we always try to go in prepared as possible and with our rules in place. Our rules are simple - have fun, stay safe, be cordial, remember your horse is not a robot. I look forward to more opportunities to spread more Sportsmanship in the horse world where it is greatly needed.