And just like that, one more Louisville, World's, or World's Championship Horse Show, is in the books! The most thrilling, crazy, stressful, emotional week with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, all in an 8-day span of time.
Despite all of those things, what other horse show can you trot down Stopher’s Walk, the longest straightaway lined with golf carts, to warm up? Then wait in the Crow’s nest, with usually about 20 other horses, every once in a while getting a small breeze of air conditioning from the chute? And finally, that trot down into the green shavings, being surrounded by the cheers from the crowd, into the bright and air-conditioned Freedom Hall?
One horse and experience in particular I would like to mention is the incredible WCC WC IAMNOTACOW. Just last week, Junior added three new world titles (two of those in unanimous fashion) to his name, WC Youth Roadster to Bike Division I, WC Amateur Roadster to Bike, and finally with his second blanket of roses in his career, WCC Amateur Roadster to Bike Championship on Friday night. He gave everything he could in all three classes, even when two of those were on back-to-back days. We love you Junior and thank you for having the biggest heart that sure shows in everything you do.
Completely switching gears from silks to tuxedo, Hello Bombshell gave me what I consider a ride of a lifetime, and on what other night, but Saturday night. Not only did we get to ride in Freedom Hall on the legendary Stake Night but we left the ring with a fourth place ribbon. I know everyone has heard the saying “it’s not about the ribbon; it’s about the ride.” To me in this class, the ribbon was just the icing on the cake at the end of the class, but it was incredible to hear our names called in such a deep group of amazing horses and riders. But the experience of showing this incredible mare on Saturday night, getting to hear, “and saddles off,” and actually getting to be in the ring doing this, just feeling the excitement from the crowd the entire time, was just surreal. As soon as we all hopped off our horses in the lineup, I stood in front of Blondie waiting for the judges to walk by and I couldn’t help but just smile. And I definitely could not have prouder to be standing in front of Blondie when I turned back to David and Jessica to say, “thank you thank you, no matter what happens from here I couldn’t be happier!”
As proud as I am to be able to share some of my own Louisville experiences on this post, I can’t wait to express my excitement about getting to cheer on some of my favorite horse/rider combinations! First, a huge congratulations to Annaliese Donaldson-Pham on an incredible ride in the Five-Gaited Riders 13 & Under Division 1 with RWC Millionheir’s Row! That was one heck of a class with incredible horses, riders, and a very excited crowd. I am so proud of her and Ironman, and love watching and cheering them on! Another one of my favorite moments was cheering on Alexa Dahl on RWC Undulata’s Satchmo in the Show Pleasure Riders 13 & Under for her first ride in Freedom Hall! It was such a thrill to watch her take home the Reserve World's Champion honor in her qualifier.
Now that Louisville has been over for a little over a week, it gives you that time to reflect and really think about everything that goes into making that week even possible. So in this post specifically, I’d like to give a huge shout out to all of the individuals who are constantly working, creating essentially a temporary home (which can mean about four days of setup before the horse show even starts) for a week for not only the horses, but for all of the people, and making sure everything runs smoothly all week. Therefore, I can’t express in this blog post alone all of the appreciation for everyone who is part of the Five Gait Stables Team. Jose, Nico, and Vagner, a thank you in this post isn’t nearly enough for everything you guys do, not just at horse shows, but every day. And of course, David and Jessica; for not only getting us in the ring in all of our classes this past week (and listening to my nerves in the warm-up ring), but all of your work behind the scenes that would take pages to list. Lastly though, I would like to thank all of the amazing horses we were able to show last week for giving 100% every step of the way.