Sunday, November 6, 2016

Teamwork, Success, and Future Plans For Clare Bastian

We are very excited to introduce our newest guest blogger, Clare Bastian. Clare recently attended the 2016 Sierra Pacific Regional Pony Club Show Jump Rally with other members of Deer Creek Pony Club. Deer Creek is based here at Dragonfire and Clare is an Academy @ Dragonfire Rider as well as a member of Team DF. We asked her to give us her perspective on their wildly successful rally.

Show JumpRally 2016 
By Clare Bastian

It happened! I finally found the perfect pony...I mean it only took 3 months of lying awake for countless nights, hoping for the opportunity to lease a horse. I had recently outgrown my last lease horse, skill wise... and I was dying to get back in the saddle. So, as you can imagine, when the word got out that Kilbarry Prince was for lease, of course, I was the first one in line. If you don’t already know who Prince is, I assure you, you would be the first in line too... that is, if he wasn’t already taken. *wink wink*

A few weeks ago, Prince and I competed in the annual Show Jump Rally. This year it was held at The Murieta Equestrian Center. It was our first competition together and I'm not going to lie, we did pretty awesome together.

Clare piloting Prince to a fast and clear round

Jump Rally started off like any other Pony Club Rally. Exciting, fun and a bit stressful. The first morning went fairly smoothly aside from a few minor complications. One small wound, an ill-fitting girth and a mysterious disappearing hoof pick later, I was ready to ride. I was the second to last rider in a division of 10 riders, so I had a lot of waiting-around-time in between my course walk and warm up. At this juncture I spent many minutes just standing outside the warm up ring...or at least I tried to stand. Prince would not sit still! Although it was kind of exasperating, it wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Normally Prince is not the most forward horse out there (he's Irish, what can I say) but I took his restlessness to mean that he was going to be spicier than usual. And spicier he was! I even got a little buck out of him in the warm up ring!

My first two rides of the weekend were fantastic! I went clear in both my jumper round and my equitation round. Plus, Prince and I had the fastest time in our division. I was extremely relieved when I was finished riding. I had been quite anxious about my ride for about two weeks. Prince had been stopping at jumps a lot, but with a lot of help from my trainers, I was able to fix this problem (for the most part). I wasn't completely confident though, so when I finished my rounds completely clear, I was overjoyed!

Although my rides were definitely the highlights of my day, they weren’t the only thing I will remember about Jump Rally. The level of partnerships that my team members showed amongst each other was one of my favorite parts about the rally as well. In case you aren't familiar with Pony Club rallies, each club competes as a team, or multiple teams, depending on the amount of members. Each team consists of three or four riders. At the end of the rally each individual competitor’s scores are added together with their other team members’ scores. The overall score is a reflection of your team’s riding and horse management. In past rallies my team members and I encountered many issues in our horse management, riding, and teamwork skills. We have done nothing but improve over the past four years and Jump Rally is probably one of the best examples of this. Although it took awhile to figure out how to work together as a team, we finally have it figured out and we work so well together it’s almost as if we are working as one.

The second day went a lot like the first, amazingly well. Everyone on my team got clear rounds, we did great in horse management (I don't think we even got any points docked on Sunday), and we had tons of fun! There was a large gap of time between our rides and the awards. Despite this long wait, there was never a dull moment in our tack room. It seemed like we had a new inside joke to add to the extremely long list of already existing jokes every few minutes! When scores were finally posted, I can assure you we were not disappointed! My team (Deer Creek 1) won first place overall and first place in horse management! Also, one member got Champion in her division and I got Reserve Champion in my division! It was incredibly exciting and we all broke out in, “We are The Champions,” as soon as the award ceremony was over.

Deer Creek Rally members celebrate a team effort

In a week or two I will be competing in the Fresno Horse Trials. This will be my first time competing in an event and I'm SUPER excited!!!!!!! In a way I owe this opportunity to Jump Rally because Jump Rally is what compelled me to find a new lease horse in order to compete! And, since Prince and I did so well at Jump Rally, my mom decided to let me compete in my first event this month in Fresno.

Even though I've only been riding Prince for a month he has already taught me so much, not only about riding, but about myself. He has helped me form and finalize my near term and future goals. Before riding Prince, I really didn’t have any ambitions beyond competing in a couple of Pony Club rallies per year and possibly a Jumper show or two. Now I have a passion for riding, which I believe that I’ve always had. I just needed the right horse to ignite my fire. I want to ride more, show more, and become a better rider! All I can think about day and night is my future as a rider. I want to go to Rolex someday and maybe even the Olympics. I want to break records, I want to be the best, and I want to win. In just 1 month I have learned so much from Prince and I am curious to see what he’ll teach me in the next few months!

Although it took a lot of patient waiting, hoping and dreaming, I finally found the perfect pony. The faint sketch of my future as a rider hidden deep in my mind is starting to become a beautiful, colorful painting that I think about all the time. I am so optimistic about what the future brings for Prince and me! He is the most wonderful “unicorn”, even if he does misbehave at times. Prince has already taught me so much and I've been so lucky to be able to ride him. Jump Rally was an opportunity for me to realize just how much riding means to me and I can't wait to see how Prince and I do at the Fresno Horse Trials! 

Clare and Prince

Thank you Clare for this wonderful blog!

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Wilton, CA
A full service equestrian facility offering lessons for all ages, training, showing, breeding and sales.

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