I was taking a walk not too far down memory lane, when a Throwback Thursday picture came up recently. It was taken when I was showing Western Pleasure back in the latter part of 2006 and was new to the show circuit so we were starting off small at our local shows. At that time Skyler was the horse of my dreams, playful, young, just willing to learn and such a goober at times. He was a paint gelding, but all his paint spots were hidden on his belly and he had gorgeous white stockings and was so muscular. I fell in love hard with that horse. We did everything together; rode him bareback into the lakes, showed him, jumped him and could just lay on him if I wanted to. He was my buddy, we had so much fun together and he was awesome. We nicknamed him Skyturd, when he was being a butt-head or T.P (toilet paper) when we was dragging his feet.
We started off showing in novice halter and conditioning classes earlier inthe year and began to work our way up to more classes very quickly and ended up in the intermediate level in some classes. The last show we ever did together was on my birthday at the end of November. My dad calls this my Zorro show, since I was dressed in head to toe black and was concentrating so hard I had a serious look on my face. At that last show, we participated in every class we could since I knew it was our last show together. The highest ribbon we won was second place and the lowest was forth, I think. We weren’t in it to win, I just loved showing him and he seemed to have fun flirting with the judges and showing off. The last class we did was a trail course and we ran into a bit of a problem. Even though we had gone over many bridges before, he did not, and I mean plain out refused to go over this little wooden bridge. I was the last one in the class anyway so I decided that we weren’t going to leave the ring until we had crossed that bridge. Everyone at the arena and the judge agreed and stayed to watch and encourage us, which I thought was awesome of them to do that when they didn’t need to. So what should have taken 5 minutes ended up taking us about half an hour and as soon as we crossed that bridge, I made him back up over it and go forward over it again just for good measure. Everyone applauded us and I rewarded Skyler and made sure he knew he did a great job, even if it had taken forever.
A few minutes later I got called up to the stand and at the time I had no idea why since I had received my third place ribbon for that class and thought everything was over, but I was told the judge wanted to see me. I was thinking it was for some constructive criticism or something along those lines. They ended up giving me a showmanship award for my effort, patience and how Skyler and I worked together as such a great team. Turns out we ended our very short show career together by going out with a bang. To this day when I think or talk about it, I tear up a little out of pride for Skyler and in missing him. He taught me so much more than I ever thought I taught him and I am glad I can think back to the days of being with him and learn from that chapter in my life with him.
All photo credit goes to: Schmidt Photography.