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Editor Article- A Different Kind of Autumn
Articles from the may not be republished without permission.
Posted on September 18, 2007    Midwest Stallion Directory

Show Horses Hit the Trail
In most years, Autumn in my horse world has meant a rush to prepare for futurities, hit an extra show to get that much needed point, or running out of work early on Fridays to get to the show grounds before it's dark (finding the electrical hook-ups is much easier with at least a small amount of sunlight).  Autumn meant worrying if the 2-Year-Old would be ready to compete with the "big boys", wondering if that yearling was going to let you clip her ears this year, or if your late halter colt would bloom at just the right time to be the most balanced in his class.  In short, Autumn meant a mountain of added stress.

This year, my plan was to take my 3 year old futurity horse out in Western Pleasure.  She is after all a yearling longe line futurity money earner out of an own daughter of Zippos Mr Goodbar with 47.5 AQHA Points.  However, I determined that her 2 year old should be spent growing-up in the pasture  which placed Taffy a long ways behind her 3 year old competitors.  Even though the trainer that put 90 days on her had accomplished much, we weren't sure she would be ready to compete with the more advanced horses.  We decided to set our sites on AQHA shows next year.  

With the trip to the futurity canceled, what was an experienced exhibitor to do with her almost ready show prospect and a free three-day weekend?  Upon the suggestion of my husband-(I suppose he should have some say in the events seeing that the weekend was also our wedding anniversary), we planned to go trail riding. My husband was ecstatic.  I was petrified.  He had a 5 year old red dun gelding that hadn't spooked once in the 60 days that I had put on him.  I had an in-experienced 3 year old mare that was in heat and thought that trees would surely eat her alive.

With helmet on my head, and wishing that saddles came with seat belts, we began our first trail ride through the Iowa corn field.  I was prepared for anything from my horse.  My husband's horse, Dash, took to the trail like a pro.  Taffy, to my surprise, followed Dash's lead.  We walked on the grassy trail beside the rattling rows of yellow corn.  The farther we went, the calmer Taffy became.  The only big event happened when a deer jumped out of the corn field only a few feet away- and that was only a little jump.  Trail riding with a fairly green show horse wasn't so bad!

The second day on the trail was much more fun.  Being a 14.1 well-bred pleasure horse such as herself, Taffy found her lazy walk and had to nearly lope to keep up with Dash's 16 hand stride.  As my husband and I rode the grassy trail between the corn, we purposely brushed our stirrups on the stalks to create a "scary" noise.  It wasn't long before this was no big deal as well.  By the end of the ride, Taffy was feeling brave enough to investigate objects on her own- such as the small round hay bale that she suddenly attempted to jump over from a stand still.

This Autumn was truly a different kind of Autumn.  The stress of preparing for a show was gone and I remembered what it was like to enjoy a riding just for the sake of riding.  Remembering the joy that would come when I would take Wonder, my first horse, for a brisk ride across a frosted hay field.  Remembering the pride that I felt when I discovered the utility of my horse as we checked the herd of cattle for my grandpa.  Taking in a sunset in the middle of a hay field from the back of a horse is a thing that many people in the world will never do.  And in that moment enjoying the colors that the sun cast across the sky, I found myself to be happier than I would have been had I first place in the futurity.   

About the Editor-  Christy Lovenduski has been involved with horses since the age of 2.  She has been an AQHA Congress Semi-Finalist in Showmanship and competed in the 1999 AQHYA World Show in Western Horsemanship.  She and her husband, Tristan, operate Lovenduski Show Horses ( and compete at APHA and AQHA shows. 


Posted on September 18, 2007     Midwest Stallion Directory
Articles from the may not be republished without permission.








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