First Show in Years

First Show in Years

My son Dane has ridden horses for years, but only recently decided to start showing and get a little more serious. This past Sunday, we took him to his first show at Gardnertown Farms across the Hudson in Newburgh, NY. I don’t know who was more nervous, him or me!  He looked very dashing in his show coat and tie. I told him it would look better with a sparkle unicorn t-shirt (like the ones you can buy in my store) but he disagreed <wink>. 

Dane has been training for showing with Angelo Danza at Three Phase Equestrian Center / AD Sporthorses, and it’s been amazing to watch him improve and ready himself for this level of intensity. I’ve always been proud of his ability to bond with horses, especially the very forward and sweet thoroughbred Greta (show name “Game Face”), he was riding today. 

The first class out of three, was a crazy course with 14 jumps.  I looked at the map and realized that this event was almost more about memory than equitation. The rain was varying from light to medium and was probably a blessing as it would have been very hot in the afternoon sun. The small crowd of watchers gathered under the trees by the event ring as the riders strenuously repeated the course in their heads, “red, red, outside, diagonal, oxer – no, brown!”  

The first rider rode and cleared, though her horse was an unwilling participant, shying and fighting the whole way. I hoped Dane was paying close attention but I’m sure the first event butterflies were not helping him concentrate. After a couple more riders, it was his turn. 

The whistle blew and he was off.  One jump and then another went smoothly but Greta was excited and running super fast. Angelo was calling out instructions from ringside, mostly to “slow down!” but Dane was struggling to steady the pace.

Agh! SLOW DOWN!!!

Eventually around the twelfth jump he made a wrong turn and the beep-beep of the “rider off course” ended his first run. But for a first run it was great – fast (too fast!) and he had almost finished. To add to the excitement he knocked over a standard on the way out (still going fast) and Angelo went to pick it up for him. 

Dane was clearly frustrated but we told him it was an amazing first run. The rain drizzled on and the riders cycled through the second round until it was Dane’s turn again. They had changed the jump order and he nearly got it except for a wrong turn right at the end. Beep-beep!  So close, but Greta was feeling more confident, as was Dane. 

As the last round got going my husband worked with Dane to memorize the jump order as they watched the other riders. Then it was time to run again. Dane made one jump after another . I heard Greta hit a pole in the middle but I didn’t see if it fell. A tight turn into the final jump (“let her see it!” called Angelo) and he had finished his first successful run! Great Father’s Day Gift!

Great jump, but squinting from the pouring rain….

The riders went to put the horses back in the trailer while we waited for the results. We knew he wouldn’t be placing in the first two incomplete rounds but then I heard them announce the third, “First Place, Dane Beels and Gameface”. A blue ribbon on his first competition!  The other kids cleaned up as well! He makes me one proud horse Mom!

The blue ribbon round 🙂
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Not Very Horsey? Don’t Worry! You’ll Fit in at the Hampton Classic

Not Very Horsey? Don’t Worry! You’ll Fit in at the Hampton Classic

My son (who is taking riding lessons) and I attended the opening day of the Hampton Classic this past Sunday. We were rewarded with a beautiful day, good food, lots of fun fashion and amazing riding. There was so much to feature, I wasn’t sure where to begin, but my son inspired me to feature the family-friendliness and diverse activities of the Classic. If anyone thinks that this show is just for the extremely horsey set, or that it would be too boring for kids, is simply wrong.

There was just so much to do. After a long drive, my son was hungry, so we grabbed a pizza at Pizza Luca by Stable Row. I’ll get into more detailed food reviews later, but we gobbled it up! Any kid can easily find something to eat, but I truly recommend the pizza (side note to Pizza  Luca: please add more of your delicious mozzarella and basil to the margherita!!!).

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Pizza Luca – Margherita (Napolitano)

Off to the practice/warm up rings for an up close and personal with the competitors. The mounts were absolutely gorgeous, as were the riders; I was so jealous that I wasn’t competing or at least simply sitting on a horse. We also caught some of the short stirrup classes (soooo cute).

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She did so well!

We then toured the swanky VIP tent, but my son was anxious to get to the kid’s area, so I was only allowed to pretend to be a VIP for 5 minutes. Long enough, however, for a quick glass of Wolffer Estate’s white – yum!

Dane - Too Cool for Schooling (VIP)
Dane – Too Cool for Schooling (VIP)

 

The kids area was (is) fabulous! There is a full size play ground, petting zoo (with very CLEAN and friendly animals), a cookie decorating station (thanks Citarella!), and an art station. The little kids can also join in the horse action with an adorable pony ride. We loved the gallery of children’s art – some was truly amazing. We can’t be there on Optimum Kids’ Day, but no matter, we had plenty to do anyway.

 

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This takes me to the short walk over to the boutique gallery. Even if you don’t want to tack up and jump an oxer, you can find some amazing fashions, fun crafts, quality bags and farmer’s market specialties (I’ll get into the farmer’s market in my food review yet to come).

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We then watched the main event of the day, the $50,000 Clear Channel Hunter Derby. I love watching the hunters – I know many people love the thrill of the jumpers, but the smoothness and grace of the hunter horses really is something to see. Congrats to Patricia Griffith, on Black Label, who won the Derby!

Patricia Griffith on Black Label – Photo Courtesy of Chornicle of the Horse

Enjoy my pictures – fashion and food reviews to come!

xo

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