Furry McYellowface!

In my recent year end, woe-is-me lament regarding Cisco’s ongoing mystery ailment, I wholly neglected to mention that other than that . . . 2012 HAD BEEN A STELLAR YEAR! Before I put it completely behind us and look ahead to whatever 2013 has in store, I owe it to my Furry McYellowface partner-in-crime to toot his proverbial horn for the successes we achieved together.

At the beginning of the year I’d set a goal to significantly improve my equitation over fences, something I’d allowed to get a bit lax in my ongoing pursuit to refine Cisco’s hunter technique. As such, I’d also set my sights on winning the inaugural Adult Amateur Equitation Over Obstacles class at our Regional Championship show in July.

A friend and I sponsored the championship so I thought it only fitting that one of us should win it! Though ever the vocalist with his grunts and well-timed huffs to signal his annoyance at my often sack-of-potato-esque stirrupless technique, Cisco rose to my equitation challenge and patiently endured many hours of sans stirrup patterns, courses and exercises. Our efforts paid off when we left the ring in July with that championship ribbon around his neck. My friend and class co-sponsor rode to Reserve Champion in the class!

With newly invigorated confidence following our victory, we laid down a solid flat pattern to go on and win the Adult Equitation Not To Jump Championship as well, defending our title from the previous year. This particular win was especially sweet because it followed similar victories by two more of my trainer’s students in their respective age groups earlier in the week. This meant that N Joy Arabians riders completely swept all three age groups of the Regional Huntseat Equitation division. Score one (or 3) for Team N Joy!

In addition to our equitation victories, Cisco demonstrated that my obsession and our hard work toward his hunter technique over the previous year had also paid off. He was on his best behavior, diligent about his work, soft in the bridle, cadenced, and snappy over his fences. Best of all he was HAPPY and enjoying every trip. Together we earned 2 more Regional Championships and a Reserve Championship in the Working Hunter divisions. Two months later we went on to earn a National Top Ten award, placing 3rd overall, in the Adult Equitation Over Fences at the US Sport Horse National Championships before we had to retire from the remainder of the show.

Our Regional Championship Loot!

The points we’d earned from competitions throughout the year allowed us to earn two USEF Horse of the Year Regional Championship awards and as if none of this were enough, Cisco earned enough Achievement Award points through the Arabian Horse Association (the national governing body for the Arabian horse) to receive his Legion of Supreme Honor.

For those unfamiliar with the Arabian horse world, the Achievement Awards Program is a program based on points earned through excellence in events and competition. When you see a +, a / or a series thereof behind a horses name, it is indicative of that horse having reached a certain level of achievement. Cisco has now reached the second level of achievement and is officially Zip Drive+/ (Yes, I actually paid the $60 to USEF to have his name officially changed to include the +/ :)).

We may not have finished the season exactly the way I’d planned and I may have whined about it . . . a lot, but when I factor in everything else that went right in 2012 and above all, the way it felt to accomplish it with my best friend who has stood beside me and literally carried me from day one, any whining is thoroughly misplaced.

At this time Cisco’s future in competition is uncertain. It is my hope that he’ll have a chance to return to the show ring with me and again to the National arena so that we may finish what we started in 2012. If it turns out he is unable to make that journey I will know that the two of us together have already accomplished more than I’d dreamed possible. In 5 short years of competition, showing in only 1 region, my boy has earned 16 Regional Champion and Reserve Championships, several more Top 5 awards, 12 USEF Regional Horse of The Year Champion and Reserve Champion awards, carried me to 2 National Top Ten Equitation awards and earned both his Legion of Honor and Legion of Supreme Honor. He has done everything I have asked of him and more and through it all has been my most treasured friend and confidant inside and outside the competition arena.

So here’s to you Furry McYellowface! Whatever fate has in store for us we will continue this journey together. I couldn’t be prouder that you chose me to be your mom all those years ago and I will stand by your side until the end with carrots and apples aplenty.

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