This page is designed for equine enthusiasts to come together and read about and share experiences they have had. The love of horses is one that is shared by many people so feel free to comment or just read about other peoples experiences and their favorite equine friend.

About Me

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I have been riding horses for 10 years and I am an active member of the United States Pony Club. I own 3 horses and I am an HB in the Pony Club rating system. I enjoy eventing, dressage, and instructing younger club members but love to do anything dealing with horses. Currently, I am studying animal sciences and hope to use this to increase my knowledge of horses.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Close Community

When you pull up at a horse show, the first thing you will see are scurries of people all talking to their friends and catching up with old friends they haven't seen since last season. The experienced equestrian knows though that everyone is there to win whether they are competing against a best friend or not. All they have on their mind is how many people they need to beat to go home with that blue ribbon and possible prize.

Many people who are not involved with the horse community don't understand though that even if you are competing against someone if you ever find yourself in trouble the first person you call is that lady you met at the small show because you know she lives close. There are horse people all over the country and when you are found traveling with a trailer and your tire goes flat, it is nice to have that little black book of friends close by.

One perfect example of this is when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Everyone in the horse community knew that there were still horses down there, so they started sending anything and everything they had. It didn't matter how small it was. Helmets were sent so those little kids could get back on their ponies and start riding, hay was sent by the truck load to replace the thousands of bales that were lost. It was no longer a matter of who was going to win the show, it was only a matter of who was not going to lose the battle.

Michigan and had a very bad accident that landed her in the hospital for about a month. Unfortunately, she still had horses back home that needed to be taken care of and she had a kitten in her truck that needed food and water. Almost immediateAnother example actually involves a really close friend of mine. She was competing up inly after the accident happened people were calling offering to take care of the kitten and her horses back home, offering to cook meals for her family, and offering to just come visit with her. That is not to mention that multitude of cards and gifts that were sent to her to keep her mind busy. After a long recovery she healed fine and didn't have to worry about what she had to take care of when she got home.

The horse community is always there for each other whether it be a bad accident or just a minor crisis. There will always be that open door close by of a family that has a small barn in the back and is willing to give you a meal or even a bed as long as you enlighten them with your many horse stories and experiences. An equestrian will never feel alone as long as they remember the huge horse family that is there to back them up.

NYC... No Not New York City

As I had mentioned earlier, I am a member of the United States Pony Club. Every year they have an annual meeting which is held in a different place every year. This is a time when people from across the country come and learn more about Pony Club and the new things that are going on in the horse world. Something that is held in conjunction with this meeting is known as the National Youth Congress (hence the title).

This Congress is somewhere where people between the ages of 18-21 can be nominated to go and learn about leadership within the organization. It is a huge honor to be able to go because you have to be in the upper levels of Pony Club and you have to be nominated by the leaders in your region of the country. When I was younger, I always wanted to take part in this Congress because I looked up to the other girls who were a part of it.

I never even thought about applying this year because I am one level away from the cut off, so when I got a call asking if I was interested in going I was thrilled. I turned in my paperwork and made sure everything was in order as soon as I could. All of the leaders discussed it and decided that I would be the nominee for our region this year. Now the hard work started. I had to get approvals to miss class from professors and I had to reserve a hotel room and plane ticket.

This year the annual meeting and Congress were held in Greenville, South Carolina which meant I got warmer weather too. After everything was accounted for and I made sure I had everything organized for things I would be missing, I boarded a plane to South Carolina. I honestly didn't know what to expect other than I was going to get a special name tag with a special ribbon on it making me special. When I arrived there though, nothing could have prepared me for the things I would learn in those three days.

We started off with just an ice breaker reception which was very awkward being thrown into a room of girls who think they are better than you when it comes to horses. Throughout the next days though the 40 of us became best friends. Thursday and Friday we were stuck in a room in the back of the hotel for the whole day and we sat through presentation after presentation. No one would want to sit through that and at the time everyone was complaining. It wasn't until the end of the two day when we were asked to look back that everyone realized how much we had grown and learned within 48 hours.

The whole Congress was based on being leaders in not only the organization but in the world and our future careers. We outlined characteristics of good leaders and we talked about decision making and how to analyze and make decisions in split seconds that could affect your future in a career. We also talked a lot about how to make a difference in our community and we were challenged to organize a community service event to benefit the equine community around us.

I look back now and although I did not like sitting in the same room for two days listening to speakers, this opportunity has made me realize what a leader is and how hard it is to be a leader in today's world. I was challenged along with the other girls and now instead of hearing complaints from all of us we are all wishing we could go back and do it all over again.