I grew up in a small town. Actually, it wasn't even a town. It was a county. The only county (of 100) in North Carolina without an incorporated town. Thankfully there was a horse population, but not much of one. Growing up, there was one very reputable, high-end farm which relocated to Charlotte by the time I hit high school (I was fortunate enough to ride there for about a year and bought my very first horse through them). Actually, they are worth checking out- so click-, Hidden Spring Farm. There was also one horse trainer/ show team that was a big name in the NC Quarter Horses Association. Other than that there were a couple of nice boarding barns but none of them offered in house trainers. Long story short, as far as showing and learning about horses it was off-and-on lessons with trainers who would travel to teach and the county 4-H.
I learned so much in 4-H and appreciate the experience and hope to volunteer with my local 4-H horse clubs. My group wasn't terribly organized and I missed out on many of educational opportunities that 4-H affords, such as Horse Bowl or Horse Judging Teams. We basically were involved in horse projects to be allowed to compete in the district and state level 4-H youth shows (Ye,s I was a 2 time district show Champion, thanks for asking.). When and If I get to volunteer with a club, I hope to make the competitive and help them take advantage of all that the program offers. I plan to blog about this as soon as I hear more about my volunteer application.
What I am slowly getting at is that the US Pony Club was not available in my geographic region growing up and I think I missed out on a great deal by not being able to learn and be tested in such a rigorous way about such a broad range of horse management and equestrian skills. I recently discovered that they now have a pony club for old people (actually 18 and up, but I'm starting to feel old here). Its called Horsemasters and I want to take part so badly! The closest club is about 1 hour away from me which poses a problem for trailering Granite out to their events (considering that I don't own a truck or trailer). But since he is still just a pasture ornament, I could do the unmounted skills and take part in the making friends process! There is a pony club in my area who is rumored to be thinking about creating a Horsemasters club. I contacted the supervisor and she let me know about a clinic this weekend that is free to audit. You had better believe that I plan to attend. Its with Richard Lamb. Hopefully I can speak with her. She said they are really lacking an organizer. I told her that I am willing to take on a leadership role in helping to get it started. If not, I will probably travel to participate in the established club. They have invited me to their meeting in January that I do plan to attend.
From what I can understand, there are not ratings as in Pony Club, but there are levels of skills. They do many club events such as rallies and Tetrathlons. Most of my friends are moving in the spring and I want to meet people, get involved, and find ways to make Granite a well rounded boy (and myself a more well rounded rider). I hope this may materialize into a way to meet some of those goals!
In non horse related news, My family is coming in town tomorrow afternoon for graduation! There are 6 family members coming in plus my best friend then a handful of people in the area. This should be really fun, but I'm sort of stressed too. Graduation is hard around the holidays. And while I adore my job, the financial crunch gets worse every day. Ugh nothing like my least favorite holiday (Christmas) to bring out the stress...