Ashley and Smeagol reaped their precious rewards at the Nelson Halloween Ho-Down.

Horses and girls work together to win

Horses and girls go together like peanut butter and jam sandwiches.

Horses and girls go together like peanut butter and jam sandwiches. In this case, Brianna McCoy from New Denver and Ashley Friedenberger from Nakusp got to practice in the show ring some of the skills they have been learning for the past years in the practice ring.

Both Ashley and Brianna have been working hard over the last few years learning not only about riding a horse, but also caring for one, cleaning up after one and handling one from the ground.

Ashley, who has been taking riding lesson at Fox Meadows Equine Center since she was seven years old, successfully competed in her first horse show on Smeagol, a horse she has part leased from FMEC.

Ashley entered four riding classes in total and came home with four first place ribbons at the Halloween Ho-Down show at the Nelson Riding Club Grounds on October 6, 2013. Ashley competed in Pleasure, Equitation, Request and Trail. A Pleasure class is judged on the way the horse goes, obediently and quietly along the rail. Equitation has a rail portion as well as individual tests and is judged on the rider’s ability. Request is when the judge can ask for anything, including sideways (lateral) movement which Ashley and Smeagol did very well and very correctly (awesome as this was a new skill for Ashley).

Trail is an individual test of different obstacles a rider could find while out riding on the trail. Ashley successfully negotiated a rope gate, side passing towards a scary Halloween mask, then placing the mask on a different post and side passing away from it, trot over poles, a very tight 350 degree turn box and walking backwards around an ‘L’ shape. This was a difficult, technical class in which Ashley piloted the horse with skill and patience.

Brianna has been taking lessons at FMEC for three years. She has part leased Rubus, a smooth coat Baskir Curly. This was Brianna’s third show in two years. Her first show was last summer and she thought it was great fun. Brianna came home with a ribbon in every class she entered. In Costume (she dressed her and Rubus up in a clown costume, super cute!) she got a second place (hard to beat the little girl dressed up as a mermaid on her sea horse). For Showmanship Open – this is an in hand class against all ages, including adults, judged on the handler and the way the handler ‘shows’ the horse – she received third place; Pleasure, 3rd. In Horsemanship Open – another class with a memorized pattern to perform as well as a rail portion competing with all ages from child to adult – she earned second, and Horsemanship First Chance (same class as open but competing with riders who haven’t won four first-place ribbons in that class) she won first place.

Command Class (a fun class kind of like musical chairs in the fact that as the judge calls out commands, riders and horses must complete the command asap. Riders are eliminated one at a time if they do not correctly complete the command first, until only one rider is left) Brianna tied for third place. The last class she entered was Pole Bending walk/trot. Pole Bending is a Gaming event where riders race against the clock with the fastest time winning. Brianna was fastest, clean and won.

Both Brianna and Ashley competed on the horses they have been working with exclusively all summer. The girls tried hard, practiced lots and it showed. We left Fox Meadows EC at 6 a.m. and didn’t get home until after 6 p.m. Then there was still another hour of unloading the horses from the trailer, taking off their shipping boots, unloading the tack and equipment and cleaning the trailer. It was a long day, but everyone thought it was well worth it.

Brianna McCoy and Ashley Friedenberger’s dedication and commitment are a joy.You are the future of our sport and I look forward to watching you continue to grow and learn more skills in the Equestrian Industry.


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