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Meridian Equine Offers MTHJA Summer Show Series
Story & photos by Allison Armstrong Rehnborg
Local schooling shows provide the perfect opportunity for young or green riders to gain valuable experience in the show pen, compete for points and school their horses in a low-pressure environment. On Saturday, August 10, the Meridian Equine Education Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, hosted the second installment of their summer hunter/jumper schooling show series, giving riders of all ages and experience levels the chance to compete for ribbons and enjoy a casual horse show with friends and family.
Judged by Becky Huddleston of Baxter, Tennessee, the show offered multiple divisions on the flat and over fences, including green horse, green rider, long and short stirrup, special hunter, puddle jumpers, over the moon jumpers and more. The majority of competitors were youth riders eager to hone their skills and learn something new. According to Becky, part of the fun of judging schooling shows is watching youth riders learn the skills they need to become better horsemen and horsewomen.
“I love judging these kinds of shows because it’s a small community, and I love seeing the kids grow up through the years,” Becky said. “I also love the fact that at this level of competition, the kids are so proud of their horses and so affectionate. They’ll talk to their horses during the courses and pat them and say, ‘Good boy!’ And they’re doing a lot of the work of taking care of their horses themselves. In our industry, it’s so important to have the youth grow up learning to do everything on their own.”
In addition to hosting open classes, Meridian’s summer show series offers members of the Middle Tennessee Hunter Jumper Association the opportunity to earn points towards year-end awards. With entry fees at just $10 per class, Meridian’s MTHJA shows are an easy and affordable way for MTHJA members to earn points. Show secretary Cristin Jordan says that riders come from all across Tennessee to compete for points at Meridian.
“Barns across middle Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky host shows affiliated with MTHJA all year long, so riders can travel all over the area to show at different shows to get their points,” Cristin said. “Since there are so many shows, you can pick and choose which shows you go to and you’ve almost always got a chance at another show later. This is our second year of hosting MTHJA shows here at Meridian.”
Meridian’s summer series also offers classes for the Thoroughbred Incentive Program, a Jockey Club initiative that promotes second careers for ex-racehorses.
“The TIP classes promote the usefulness of racehorses after the track,” Cristin said. “Just because these horses can’t race any more doesn’t mean they can’t have a career. The Jockey Club is really working to recruit shows to participate in this program. In TIP classes, you accumulate points throughout the year and then you have to qualify to compete in a year-end show in Lexington, Kentucky, at the end of the season. We had a few TIP riders this year at our first show in June and again at this show in August, and we’re looking forward to having more in our last show in September.”
Meridian’s last show of the summer MTHJA series will take place on Saturday, September 28. In addition to offering the same full roster of classes, the September show will offer double the points.
“You can only host one double-point MTHJA show per year, and we like to do ours at the end of the year because that’s when people are trying to make up points,” Cristin said. “The entry fees for our 9/28 show will be the same – just $10 per class and then an office fee of $15 per horse – and we’ll have one judge, but the points count double. Compared to going to bigger shows where you may have to stay for a few days, our shows are a great way to get experience without paying a fortune.”
For more information on upcoming events at this facility, visit @MeridianEquineEducation on Facebook or go online at meridianequine.com.
Quick Horse Query: In order to help break a tie during a flat equitation class at the August show, judge Becky Huddleston asked each exhibitor the following question: “At the right lead canter, what is the first step of the canter?” Many of the youth riders didn’t know the correct answer. Do you?
Quick Horse Query Answer: “Outside (or left) hind leg.”
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