Monday, March 7, 2011

What to Do...What to Do

So I've been trying to develop my show schedule for the upcoming season, but am having a difficult time of it. The problem is, I want to do too many things, but also feel that some are more for my skill bracket then others. Its rather confusing to explain, as there are many parts to each, but I have to start somewhere so here goes:

I was recommended by Sarah to join the Washington State Horsemen (WSH) through one of their Zone Clubs, Olympic Penninsula Zone (OPZ), then I found a club beneath that Peninsula Performance Horse Associaion (PPHA). PPHA is a new up and coming club approximately one hour away from me, but I have been told they are offering reining on their roster as well as year end and high point awards. Their classes will count towards OPZ and WSH awards as well. PPHA does not have a class list out yet, but OPZ does. Their shows (first in May) are offering Open Reining (towards their's and WSH's Open Reining Year End Award),  Reining 1st or 2nd year (towards WSH Reining 1st or 2nd year award), Novice Reining Reiner to Ride (no year end awards), and the Dave Reaume Memorial Green Reiner (title as OPZ year end award). Follow me so far?

These classes sound fun with lots of options available, as well as WSH points and awards. However, only one of them offer me the ability to ride two handed - the Dave Reaume Memorial. I feel we are not ready to show one handed yet, so basically feel as if entering any of the other classes would be a waste of effort if we arent even good enough to place. Not to mention, none of their classes offer simple lead changes with no point deduction. While a discussion with Sarah about lead changes for Milo has not been made yet, I dont want to put a deadline on this advanced maneuver for Milo.

The plus sides to showing OPZ, PPHA, and WSH however, are their location. With the farthest travel being only an hour and a half away meaning I would not need to stall overnight (so long as the class times allowed) and it wouldnt be a huge spectacle to show unlike....

The Northwest Reining Association (NWRA). In a moment of excitedness, I already sent in my membership fee of $30. So I am a member of the NWRA and am eligible for their Year End Awards. The great thing about this club is that it is NRHA affiliated, and is beginner and intermediate focused. They offer a plethura of beginning reining classes and options, and even offer their own Year End Awards (not approved for WSH points however). So many in fact, I had to really look at each one and determine which ones would be best since I cant enter in all of them. I decided on Beginner A (modified pattern, two reins, simple lead change not penalized), Beginner B (same stipulations as Beg A), and Beginner Horse/Non Pro Rider (two hands ok, simple lead penalized 1 point). Each class offers its own Year End Award. So on classes alone, I am really pulling for the NWRA shows.

Unfortunetly, these shows are two and a half hours away, plus a half hour ferry ride. The ferry alone is about $50 to cross with horse and trailer. These shows would most certainly require me to stay overnight as not only is the travel time larger than the OPZ shows, but my classes are the beginning ones for the day starting at 8am. They are two day shows, the second day a repeat of the first. So basically they pack two shows into one weekend. Which is a plus because that would kill two birds with one stone and reduce how many times I would need to haul up there.

But that makes for a very expensive show weekend. Plus, for Year End Eligibility, you have to attend at least three (full) shows out of the four (six shows total...make sense since one show is really two?). I already know I cannot commit to the show in June as I have a wedding to attend then. But missing the one would still keep me in the running for awards, so long as I could attend each one to follow.

In all reality, the chances of me really being in the Year End Awards are probably slim. I looked at the show results from last year and the winners for those classes were in the 68-70 range. I know I shouldnt beat myself down because it is obvious that each judge judges differently and being a beginner club they could be more lenient. But I still want to make sure my ducks in row for year end awards in case I were to do well. Id hate to do well but not be eligible.

So theres my problem. Attend shows that are geared towards beginner reiners with modified patterns, with the downfall being the cost to attend the shows. Or, attend shows whose classes are higher then my level (or reduce to only the one class), but are closer and would cost less. Boyfriend already says he would prefer to haul to the OPZ shows, but would take me to NWRA shows if thats what I wanted. Oh, and Sarah will be attending the OPZ shows, thats a plus having my trainer right there.

What is your opinion? I wish the NWRA shows were closer then my decision would be made for me! Im also torn because I already paid my membership fee, so I feel like Im obligated to go to those shows or surrender my membership fee. I suppose if I wanted to could try and get the money back, but Id feel like a real boob being as Ive emailed the president, secretary, and show stewards many times for information on the club.

Ugh. Showing should NOT be this difficult.


SillyPony said...

That's a tough one. Only you can answer it, of course. So I don't really have any answers for you, but I would maybe evaluate your goals with Milo for this year and try to figure out which circuit would help you most with those particular goals. You know, continue to weigh the pros and cons and decide what's most important for you this year. Next year might be a different story.

For example, Junior needs mileage. Each show we go to he gets more and more at ease and able to focus on me and the task at hand...and I chillax a bit more with each one, too, and we feed off eachother so it's taken us a few seasons to get anywhere. I have limited funds for shows but I get a lot more mileage on him by going to 3-4 smaller/closer/cheaper shows than blowing all of that funding on ONE bigger cooler show. If I saved all my $ for one or two big shows we'd have missed out on the mileage and won't be competitive there anyway

Also, have you attended one of either of these shows/venues as an observer? I saved myself a chunk of change by visiting a local APHA show where I found out I was SOOOO not ready to show at that level. If I'd paid all my fees and hauled up there to find that out I'd have been one unhappy camper.

I'm sure whatever you decide will be fun and rewarding!

paint_horse_milo said...

THanks for all the advice SillyPony. Thats a great way to look at it. Im still rooting for the NWRA shows, I suppose if I didnt do anything else for the rest of the summer (aside from lessons) it would work. I guess Id love to go to the closer ones mainly cause I know a lot of people going. But, the NWRA shows will be much more at my level, giving me the opportunity to work slowly and make sure we are progressing at a proper level. Ill see Sarah again Thursday, maybe she can help me evaluate where we are too.

Story said...

I'm in a similar spot. Although being in the middle-of-nowhere Montana means no matter what I pick it's pretty far. I'm actually struggling to find a circuit with enough entry level stuff to make it worth the effort at all. Really I'd like to be able to go "show against my own kind" ie get out on the Arabian circuit, but aside from one show, that means driving 6 1/2 hours away. And with the way they're talking about gas prices....ugh!

Definitely a tough question. I think SillyPony has great advice and I think the most important thing at our level is to find the place where you can have fun.

Ah, memories of just showing a couple of classes and then lounging around in the sun drinking beer all afternoon. Gee, maybe having a light schedule isn't so bad? Now that's showing! lol

in2paints said...

I find the "easy" shows are great for building confidence. These are the shows Lilly and I attend... they're smaller and there's a lot less competition. I feel the bigger shows are a waste of my money but I also try to attend one of the big Paint shows once per year just because it's so much fun.

It's too bad the NWRA shows are the ones farther away. They'll end up being the ones that cost more money, so I can see how you're kind of torn.

I agree with SillyPony, though, in regards to setting goals. I'm in a similar place with Lilly and am showing mostly just to get her out and get some practice. If we end up with year end rewards, cool... if not, that's okay too.

I'm excited for you and Milo and can't wait to read about the shows you attend. The way you two are going, you'll be able to go anywhere you want and be competitive!

kel said...

Wow you are I having some of the same dilemmas. Last year I paid my membership in the NRHA and in the local affiliate group WCRHA. I wanted to show but it is hard to navigate and know which ones to go to and which ones would be a waste of money for my skill level. Unfortunately last year my health issues made decisions for me. I showed the first affiliate show and did well. But was too sick to show the second and third. Like your clubs up there you have to show 3 out of the 4 to get anywhere. Showing at our affiliate shows can cost upwards to $1000 for a weekend. That includes entries, stall fees, feed, hotels, gas, etc. The only class you can show two handed here is the Green as Grass class. And you can only show it for one year.

This year I made the decision to just do the ones that I thought would be FUN. Not worry about year end awards or winning. Just focus on making us a better team. If I have to school him through a class that is what I am going to do. Hopefully by next year we will be ready to be a little more serious but for now we are working out the bugs.

If I were you I would go to the shows that offered the classes you feel comfortable in. The more confident you are the better you are going to do and the points and year end awards will fall into place. Just my opinion.

And something that caught me off guard... was the competitive license for NRHA shows. If they are NRHA sanctioned and you want to show, your horse has to have a competitive license. You may already be aware just don't want you to be caught unprepared like I was. :) Good luck and let us know what you decide.