In this crazy horse-world we live in, there’s always some form of equine entertainment on the weekends. Last weekend, I watched the PRCA rodeo at the Cheyenne Frontier Days, and this weekend, I visited the other end of the spectrum to catch the action at the Rocky Mountain Horse Trials (an eventing show!).
This was certainly my first go at watching cross-country jumping in person, and I was there to watch Horse&Rider’s marketing director, Shara Rutberg, compete on her horse, eloquently named Puppy.
Shara and Puppy, her 7-year-old rescue horse, have been in training for three (yes three) years to get ready for this show. The past two years, Shara and Puppy had been disqualified from the competition for one reason or another. (In eventing, one can become disqualified for in any number of ways, but as I saw this weekend, one of the most frequent reasons for disqualification is because the “horse and rider become separated”. This is the nice, eventing way of saying falling off.) This year, Shara was determined to finish.
And finish she did, in a big way. Puppy completed every one of the 18 jumps on the course as her fan club held their breaths, and Puppy even traversed the water obstacles without any problems. As Shara came over the last jump, which in fact was shaped like an old Western-looking house, we began our cheers.
Shara finished in fourth place out of over a dozen contestants in her first-ever sanctioned-show placing. And now, her goal of competing in one sanctioned show each year might be blown out of the water. After her big weekend, I caught her this morning checking out shows in the area for October. As many of you known, the thrill of working for months and months (and years and years) to achieve a goal can be addicting, and once you’ve tasted victory, you
have to keep going back for more!