IHSA Nationals: Day 3

From Elizabeth Kieffer

In a competition like this, losing is just as important as winning. The lessons learned from a loss are immensely greater then those learned from a win. 

Today, I placed seventh in my team beginner walk-trot class. I remind myself how very fortunate I am to have made it to nationals, from my very first horse show ever this year at the University of Minneapolis – Twin Cities, all the way to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in just a single year. This journey, although not over yet, is such a blessing. In life, an individual must make mistakes to learn from them. I humbly take it as my responsibility to learn and better myself, not only for myself as an individual, but for my team.

Elizabeth Kieffer and Jay R.

Every placing earns prizes, further exemplifying how prestigious and extraordinary it is to be one of the individuals to participate in this event. I must further thank IHSA for the wonderful garment bag that I chose to make our new team garment bag, along with SmartPak for the gift card that I will spend doting on my horse, Jackie. In addition, the horse owners of Jay R, Middle Tennessee State University, for allowing me to ride their gorgeous palomino. I am beyond thankful for everyone’s involvement in this event. It truly means the world to every competitor.

My last thought as I exhaustedly find myself nodding to sleep with heavy eyes: If you’re gonna ride, you gotta learn to fall.

To my BAB girls riding tomorrow: I’ll be cheering from the rail, smiling at your grace and beauty in the ring. This is your time now, and I can’t wait to see you rock it.

From Alie Leonhart

Today Elizabeth and I showed, toward the end of the day. The last of the hunt seat classes was today, and they had all of the awards for the hunt classes before we got to show. 

Elizabeth showed in the AQHA Trophy Beginner horsemanship, and drew a horse named Jay R, a palomino gelding. For someone who has never shown before this year, she has been to these big shows like Semi-Finals and now Nationals and shows such confidence, poise, sportsmanship, respect, elegance, and grace and enjoys herself so much, it is so contagious. I really think she is the one that sways the group to be as positive we are, because being around Elizabeth is so poised and confident, and the rest of us just feed off of her. She had one bobble in her pattern and ended up placing sevent, and we are so very proud of her and what she has accomplished this year!

Alie Leonhart and Anjelica.

I showed in AQHA High-Point Rider Horsemanship phase B today, which is an advantage because you get to see how the pattern gets laid out and how you want it to go. I drew a horse named Anjelina. She was such a sweetheart to ride and did everything I asked her to do. The pattern that we had was so fun to show and had so many difficult elements to it. There was an extended lope, a simple lead change through the walk, dropping the stirrups in the pattern and picking them back up. A lot of things to remember for that, but we laid out a really nice pattern and ended up ninth out of 26. Tomorrow will be the Reining portion of the class.

I’ve had a few people ask me what I will take away from IHSA. There is the obvious show experience that you can’t get anywhere else, getting to ride nice horses, the opportunity to advance to high levels that may not come to everyone. Then there are the not so obvious things, like the friendships and just the wonderful feeling about being on a team. Especially since riding your own horses is a very independent thing, you are mostly by yourself. IHSA is the first time since elementary school I have been able to be on a team, especially ones who are as supportive as mine. It may seem like you would think all teams would be supportive of their teammates, which most are, but with our team, we live through every step of the person showing, every stride. We get so much more nervous for their placing’s than we do our own. And That is why I love our team.

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