Jul 27, 2015

What Pony Riders Love About Away Shows

By Maggie Junkin

The car is all loaded up.  The ponies are in the van.  I’m off to an away horse show.  Besides the riding, what makes away shows so much fun for me and my friends?

Exploring the Show Grounds
When I’m not on my pony, I love riding my bike all around the show grounds.  It’s especially fun to see the farm set ups and decorations.  I also love watching all the beautiful horses and ponies.

 The Dogs
Whenever I can, I bring my dogs.  I love walking them around the show grounds, playing with them, and meeting lots of new dogs!

Golf Carts
Driving around on the golf cart with my horse show friends.  Need I say more?

Trying New Foods
Traveling the country has allowed me to try lots of different foods. From Vermont’s maple syrup and aged cheddar cheese to the fabulous Tex-Mex and fajitas made famous in Texas to the grits and hush puppies in the South.  I especially look forward to the lemon sticks at Devon each year.

Sight Seeing
While showing at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Texas I had a chance to see the Alamo, visit the San Antonio River Walk, tour the Fort Worth Zoo and meet a Longhorn.

During the Vermont Summer Festival I was able to enjoy the beauty of the Green Mountains and swim in a quarry.  While at HITS Ocala we made a visit to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to see “Winter,” the Dolphin star in the movie Dolphin Tale.  I loved touring Charleston by horse-and-carriage and getting in some beach time while showing at the The Charleston Classic. 

My very favorite was walking the streets of Washington, D.C. and visiting the White House while competing at WIHS.

Coming Home
It’s so nice to be away, see my horse show friends, and try new places and things.  But it’s also always really great to come back home and sleep in my own bed!

Maggie Junkin competes in the large ponies and is committed to animal rescue.  She has raised funds for Danny & Ron's Rescue.  She lives with her family in Jenkintown, PA.

Photos courtesy of the Junkin Family.  


Jul 22, 2015

Top 5 Reasons To Love the Vermont Summer Festival

1. The mountain views
How amazing is it to show surrounded by beautiful scenic mountain views?  There aren't that many places you can wait at the in-gate and watch the sun play on the mountain trees.

2. The cute touches around the show grounds
The wonderful trees, the lovely flowers at the corners of the rings, and the stonewalls are some of the small touches that make this show special.

3. The outlet shopping
Okay, we don't really need another way to spend money when at a horse show, but who can stay away with stores like Coach, Kate Spade, Theory and Ralph Lauren?

4. The crew
There's a reason the people who work at the VSF keep coming back year after year.  From the office-staff to the show management to the in-gate crew to Jennifer handling the ribbons to the show vet and farrier to Janis the EMT, these people all care about making this show exhibitor-friendly.

5. The after-show options
When your day finishes early, you have your pick of things to do.  Go for a hike, pick some blueberries, get a massage in town, roam around the bookstore, go out for a nice dinner, or hit the Ben & Jerry's stand for your favorite flavor.  Any day that ends in Chocolate Fudge Brownie is a good one!

Jul 14, 2015

Ode to the Good Doobie Horse

Dear Good Doobie Horse,

You may feel invisible to us judges, but I see you.

You may not get many ribbons and if you do they're probably greens, purples, and browns.  No one stops in their tracks to watch you jump or talks about how much you cost.

But I'm smiling as you go around my ring.

You may not jump super round.  You may not have much scope.  But you jump safely and I appreciate that.

You may not move the best, but you don't move the worst either.  

Your expression is kind and sweet.

The best thing about you is how you chip and keep going.  How you never spook and tolerate your rider's mistakes.

You don't get ruffled or mad.  

There's not a distance you haven't seen before.

You'll keep going and trying your best until you physically can't anymore, which probably won't be until your 20s.

Until then, I hope you're getting lots of carrots back at the barn.

You may not be the winner on my card but--know this--you are a highlight of my day.

Photo credit: Bigeq.com