Saturday, October 21, 2017

Memories of Harrisburg

The Pennsylvania National Horse Show or "Harrisburg" as it's commonly known in equestrian circles wraps up this weekend.  I have fond and not so fond memories of my trips to Harrisburg back in the day with Sega or "Zelda" as she was known in the horse show world.

My very first trip there was by far one of my best memories of my chestnut mare. She is a 3'0 foot horse and we showed in the National Adult League Finals for which you have to qualify.  The first time we went, it was difficult to qualify. The top 30 horses in the country qualified and your jump order (where you went in the order when you competed) was determined by your points.  Lucky for us that year we had a lot of points.  I was very nervous and Sega was young, maybe 7 or 8 years old at the time.  I remember sitting by the rail with my trainer Patty watching all of the horses go and there was a jump with purple flowers that none of the horses liked.  Many were stopping at it. I am not sure what the issue was as horses are supposedly color blind.  But it was a problem for many horses that day.  When it was my turn to go, we went in and I don't remember the course but I remember when I got to that purple jump I could feel Sega also hesitating and I think she would have stopped had I not known, so I closed my leg as much as I could and she swapped off (changed her lead) in the front of the jump but we made it.  We finished up fifth out of 30 and it was a memory I'll have forever.  I was so proud of Sega but her best horse show trait was that she seemed to know when it mattered most and she always jumped a little higher and a little better at the big venues.  She loved Hunter Classics.

In the photo below, note we wore top hats with our shadbelly coats back then.  It adds a regal touch for sure.  

 (Sega at Harrisburg)

My second visit to Harrisburg was memorable but not in a good way. It was by far our worst horse show ever.  I don't know what was wrong with Sega that day.  She threw my trainer off in the schooling ring.  She has never done that since.  When we walked into the ring, I knew immediately that I was in big trouble. Her head went up, she was so tense, I knew something was terribly wrong. She was not the relaxed, happy, floppy-eared mare that she always was.  I counted the jumps as I knew we would not make it around the course at some point about half-way through the course, she threw me off too.  We never knew what it was but the next week we went to Maryland Horse and Pony where we earned the Grand Adult Hunter Championship and have our name etched on a trophy for eternity, so she made it up to me.

We made one last trip to Harrisburg late in Sega's illustrious career and finished 10th or 11th, not stellar but in the ribbons.  So nothing ever topped our maiden trip to Harrisburg.  Alfie is not a Hunter Classic Horse but I think Madison might be so maybe we'll try it again in a few years.  I love my memories of Sega and the fun we had.  It's always nice to "be in there" if you know what I mean.  She loved the limelight and she was "all business" at horse shows, except for that one day in Harrisburg.

Cherish all of your memories.  And if you don't have them then make them! 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...