All Play, Some Work - Horse&Rider

All Play, Some Work

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The National Reined Cowhorse Hackamore Classic is one of the first major horse events of the year and its close proximity makes it the first show we’re often able to attend in the calendar year. The event kicked off yesterday, which means that horse-show season is officially underway.

The Colorado skies finally cleared up in time for competitors to enjoy two days of sunshine at the 2015 event in Pueblo, Colorado. I couldn’t help but feel eager at the prospect of taking the two-hour drive south to spectate. The Denver-metro area has enjoyed its fair share of stormy weather recently and we at the office were unsure if we’d be able to make it this year. Horse shows are a nice way for we editors to step out of the office and interact with our fans, both professional and amateur (and watch cool horses). So when I saw the sunny forecast, I felt the itch to get on the road and out to an event. Last year editor Jennifer Paulson and I took the trip together, but this year I headed out solo.

Competition at the Classic is fierce, as the horses are all as talented as the riders who pilot them. Yet, it’s not uncommon to see fellow competitors shake hands, fist bump, and nod their heads in approval as a rider exits. This is one reason I enjoy this particular event. The sport is well-known for camaraderie in and out of the arena. Today’s performance of open competitor Wade Meador and Truly Screyumptious is an example that comes quickly to mind. In the cow work, the pair managed a fast cow to mark a 151 and earn the applause and cheers of the crowd, and the ‘atta boys’ of the horsemen waiting in the out-gate aisle way.

Though it sounds a lot like a day of “play,” and it certainly was, there was also work to be done, especially behind the camera. The unpredictable Colorado weather meant that the events would take place underneath the cover of the warm-up arena, which makes the light tricky to get a nice shot. I enjoyed taking photos of each run, fine tuning camera settings in order to get the perfect shot. Learning how to operate the camera has been a fun, and sometimes trying, experience over the past year. Thankfully I’ve had helpful mentors by my side through the process to help me improve behind the lens. Taking on photography this year was a bit of a confidence booster because there’s definitely been improvement. This means I’ll be better able to serve our readers with better imagery in print features and online content.

The trip also wouldn’t be complete without a Frappuccino from Starbucks (there’s my shameless plug). We stopped last year for half-price frappe happy hour and for nostalgia’s sake I dropped in again.

I look forward to more events to come this summer and want to hear about everyone’s first-show-back experiences. The first outing of the year is always an exciting, nerve wracking adventure and I wish you all best of luck this season!