Last week a friend sent us a link to a Trail Challenge that was being run only an hour away from us. They offered lots of classes, including a youth class. I asked Barret if she would like to take Velvet and I bet you can guess the answer. That’s right, I got an enthusiastic “YES PLEASE!” As I went through the entry form, I could find classes for over 8 years old, in hand classes for ponies under 38″, in hand costume classes and lead-line classes, but nothing that Barret could ride Velvet in.
Thinking I was missing something and had blond moment, I contacted the organizers. They responded very promptly and in a very business like manner, however, I was truly surprised and disappointed by what they had to say. “Although she is able to ride “independently” at 4 at home, insurance ( and likely some of the neigh-Sayers) won’t be able to make her be “independent” at this event.” Hmmmmmmm, I was a good mum and didn’t come back with a knee jerk reaction, I told them that we were disappointed but perhaps in another 4 years they may feel that her skill level was suitable for their event.
This whole thing really got me thinking in 3 years of showing Barret has never been penalized because of her age or because of the size of Velvet. Every event and class that they have shown in they have been encouraged, supported and sometimes even adapted to by organizers, competitors and bystanders. We have had lighter logs brought in for drags, gate hooks lowered, fellow competitors giving them extra room for lineups when their steering wasn’t too good. People of all ages stepped in to help dust her bum off and help her back on after falls, on-lookers encouragement screamed from the arena fences by both strangers and friends. We have had people wait patiently behind her while she fills in her entry form, concession workers help her make purchases on her own and even had people donate their volunteer hours so that I didn’t have to leave her unattended at shows.
At every event we have ever been to, every effort has been made to make sure Barret and Velvet succeeded in competing, not winning, but competing. So many people have put themselves out so that a little person could have a go and feel confident in a big persons world.
So rather than spend any more time being disappointed at being unable to attend one competition, we will keep going where Barret is supported, encouraged and where she can show other little kids that they can do it too!