It was a hot Monday morning in August when it came time to attend my first show. I was nervous. There were young girls and their horses everywhere.
They all seemed calm amidst the noise and the din of the crowd. As if they all knew what they were doing. Which, to be honest, they most likely did. It was my first show. My first time in 4-H.
My horse was a young Appaloosa yearling. While the other horses were standing still and were calm, my horse was anything but. She reared and then fell to the ground where she lay on her side munching grass out of the side of her muzzle. I did not want to go first.
This, of course, is my bane since my last name begins with an "A". But I got my horse up and eventually mustered up enough courage to enter the now full riding ring.
Everyone stood in a neat row. I took my place at the end. The judge then came to us one-by-one. Scrutinizing our horses, looking for anything out of place. There were only eight of us in this class, which was a fairly large class for the junior fair.
I continued watching the judge as she made her way to me. I stood there and did my best to make my horse stand square. Try as I did, I could not get it perfect. The judge smiled, made a mark on her paper then walked on to the next pair.
After a few more horses, she was finally finished. We then lined up once more for final judging. I watched as my cousin placed third. I was fifth. I was not disappointed. I, at the time, actually thought I did rather well considering my rocky start.
"Not bad", I thought. Fifth. Only fifth.