I have been going back and forth and talking and talking about what I want to do this summer as far as showing, or horse activities. This winter has not been the super productive one I was hoping to have. A lot of circumstantial things happened and Milo and I are not lightyears ahead where I hoped we would be at going into the show season. But even if we were, I've had some long discussions with the Boyfriend and financially, going to many shows just isnt going to work out - not at the 24 hour work weeks I've been getting all winter (dont EVEN get me started on that!).
So I tentatively had decided on three shows (listed on the blog page), a rookie show in June, a beginner all reining show in August, and the Washington State Horseman Finals show end of September. Sarah encouraged me to go to the rookie show in June, its held at our familiar Tacoma Unit and offers all rookie level classes from Washington State Quarter Horse Association. They have three reining classes; rookie, Novice Amatuer, and Other Breeds. Obviously with Milo as a Paint I would have to go into Other Breeds, and although the show is rookie level, I'm not sure if Id be out of my league at a breed show. I just feel like the prices for the show are really just going to make it an expensive schooling show. I'm not convinced that that is the right show for us right now. I like the idea of the rookie environment, but if its really just going to be another schooling show, the financial aspect just doesnt pan out.
I really want to go to the beginner all reining show in August. Its held by the Northwest Reining Association, a club that is beginner and intermediate oriented who I actually joined a membership with last year in hopes of doing their show schedule. The problem is, their shows are all held in Lynden, 2.5 hours North and a ferry ride meaning expensive shows. The show in August, however, if held in Kirland, only a ferry boat ride and about an hour away (unless we drive around, then its more like 2 hours, but $80 less from ferry cost). This particular show is supposed to be the most fun from the organization, and is only a one day show (the others are all two days). I would love to go to an actual all reining show and there would be multiple classes I could go into. Going to just one show keeps me out of the running for any year end awards, but I figured with my closed schedule this summer, those kinds of things just arent going to be in the cards, which is ok.
The final tentative show is at the end of September, held at the Tacoma Unit and is the big event for the year (it is Finals, after all). This is where all the breed show people and stiff competition come to for the end of the year. They offer two reining classes, one offering a championship and a buckle. Last year I really wanted to go (and years prior) but wasnt able to. This year I really want to go, even if we arent buckle winners, the experience would be great, but it will be a costly show.
I guess what I really want to do is the August and September shows, but what does that leave me with this summer? As far as shows, there isnt anything else that really springs to mind, however, it does open up time for other events: clinics, lessons, things like that. I think this summer would be a good time to really just work on things. Next weekend there is a reining clinic fairly closeby that I wanted to go to but I had a previous event to go to that same day. Sarah really wanted me to go and felt he would really help fine-tune some of the reining maneuvers, and she will be going to audit so I'm hoping if she likes what she sees, the clinician will hold another clinic this summer. There has been a lot of buzz online about the clinic and it sounds like a lot of people are interested, so that hopefully would create another chance for one.
As far as other learning experiences, there is a trainer up north from me (again, at least 2 hours and a ferry ride) that this last year went to the National Reined Cow Horse World Show (the same one I was at in San Angelo, Texas) and she holds a lot of clinics, buffalo and cow nights, and weekend "camps" (as well as lessons). Without being able to just run up there every weekend for regular lessons, I was checking the schedule for what events might work out for me and in May she is holding a Buffalo Day which is pretty much a group lesson on working buffalo. I think this could be a great learning event for Milo and I, not only a great chance to work buffalo, but it will help on reading a cow, and I should be able to get some great general pointers as well that will help in reining. I am really excited about the possibility of that event.
So, what does that mean for this summer then? I think its a good opportunity to take a small break from showing and being competitive. Being able to just work and improve with a couple of various events will help a lot. Although it's hard knowing that this would be my second and last year to go into 1st/2nd year classes, there will always be more novice classes offered and as a friend said to me, there will always be more shows and things to go to, but stepping back and just working on the "basics" with Milo will help in the long run. We cant really be competitive unless we make sure all our bases are covered, and by getting advice and lessons from trainers who are at a national caliber may it be in competition or through judging, will really help us out.