Now that we are moving into a retirement facility, serious down-sizing is in order. One of the collections that will not make the move is my stash of horse show ribbons. I had earlier made a "quilt" of a number of the ribbons, but there were still many more that had been hanging on a lattice screen in one of the spare bedrooms. I gathered them together and took these pictures to remember them by. If I can find anyone who can use them, I'll donate them.

Youth ribbons

When my mother sold her house after moving into a retirement facility, I was astonished to discover that she had saved my horse show ribbons from the time I was a teenager.

This display includes ribbons from:

  • Claiborne-Warren Subdistrict 4-H Horse Show, 1964.
  • Miss-Lou Exposition 4-H Light Horse Show, 1963 & 1964.
  • Mississippi Quarter Horse Association All-Youth Show, probably 1964 or 1965.
  • Vicksburg All-Western Horse Show, 1965

The above ribbons were all won by my horse Sis Arrow, better known as 'Blue.'

I don't seem to have any ribbons won by my first horse Becky although we did go to a few shows. In those days they were probably just little slips of colored ribbon that didn't get saved.

Bonus displays are a second place ribbon that our little dog Hoppy won at the SPCA rescue dog competition at the county fair, and a participation ribbon for the "world's largest trail ride" hosted by the American Competitive Trail Horse Association. Somehow I neglected to add the blue ACTHA ribbon Cookie and I won for the oldest horse/rider combination. We never placed at an ACTHA ride although we were consistently in the top 10.

Schooling show ribbons

Fast forward many years.

I was established enough by 1984 to purchase another horse: the Arabian mare Kimber Khyvale. I never showed Kimber much, but her daughter MAJ Sunrise took me to many schooling shows. Subsequent mounts AM Captain Goodie ('Cookie') and Bey Moon Rising App ('Bella') took me to many more.

Shows represented here include:

In addition to the schooling shows, the USEF rated shows represented here are:

And then there is Bella's 2018 USEF Regional "Horse of the Year" award for Arabian Dressage, Amateur to Ride - 6th place.

One of these ribbons is a "participation" prize from the 2017 Sport Horse Nationals Show held in Raleigh. I have Bella's two Top Ten ribbons and plaques on display elsewhere. They will make the move to our new home.

VAHA Ribbons

Our most numerous ribbons come from the Virginia Arabian Horse Association annual shows and year-end awards. These ribbons span many years and range from sixth place to Grand Champion. Sunrise and Cookie won many of these, but Bella owns the lion's share. The disciplines include Western Pleasure, English and Western Trail, Hunter Pleasure, Dressage, Sport Horse in Hand, Sport Horse Under Saddle, and Native Costume.

Year-end awards include Adult Amateur Achievement, Arabian Trail, Arabian Versatility, and Arabian Dressage.

Class A Shows

Other USEF Class A shows where we have competed at the Virginia Horse Center (VHC) are:

  • Blue Ridge Arabian Classic
  • Heritage Arabian Classic
  • Shenandoah Arabian Classic

Many of these shows were "concurrent" shows with two judges for each class. That meant that one ride might garner two ribbons. It is always amusing when one judge places you first and the other judge places you last! That's why they have the horse show.

I wish I could brag about getting all these ribbons in classes of 10 or 15 horses, but often there were only 3-4 horses in a class.

Region 15 Ribbons

In addition to the Class A Shows, we qualified a number of years for the Region 15 Arabian Horse Association Championship show. Numerous Top Five awards were the result, including two Reserve Championships and one Grand Champion. I even won first place in the regional Hippology contest on my own.

I have three favorites among these ribbons.

When Cookie and I first started studying dressage in order to improve our trail scores, she did well enough that we qualified for the regional show in dressage. I was thrilled that she earned a Top Five, which qualified us in turn to compete in the Sport Horse National Show to be held at the VHC that fall. Except that I had already agreed to work at the show. My dear friend Gary Hooghkirk on the show commission was unmoved by my pleas and reminded me that I had signed a contract. Oh well, at least we had the Top Five.

One of the Reserve Championship ribbons is a testament to the power of showing up. For various reasons, I had not been able to compete during the spring and early summer of that year, so Bella and I qualified for the R15 show by the skin of our teeth. I was sick on the last possible day to qualify, but I dragged myself onto the horse for an unimpressive Training Level Dressage test that just made the cut-off score. When the Big Day came, Bella was far from cooperative. She even went so far as to kick over part of the ring during one transition! But we finished the test and didn't disqualify.

When I stopped by the show office later that day to pick up my score sheet, imagine my surprise to learn that we were Reserve Champion! How could this be? Well, there were only four horses in the class. One threw its rider. One got an even worse score than we did (I can only imagine). The remaining horse was Champion.

My pride and joy is the Championship ribbon that Cookie earned in English Trail. Dressage training was just the thing to take our performance up a notch. We executed a technically difficult pattern with few faults. Our score was almost 20 points above the closest competitor! What a thrill that was.

Horse Show Quilt

Even before we had a thought of down-sizing, I had made this wall-hanging out of ribbons spanning years from 1965 to 2017.

In addition to the shows listed above, this includes awards from:

  • Battlefield Equestrian Society Judged Pleasure Ride
  • Fall All Arabian Classic
  • Full House Farm Fun Horse Shows
  • Rockbridge Hunt Hunter Pace
  • Shenandoah Arabian Classic
  • S.W. District 4-H Horse Show, Edwards, MS
  • Spring All Arabian Classic

Now that I will be divesting myself of the rest of my ribbons, I plan to swap out some of these rosettes for a greater variety from my other ribbon collection.

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