I've often heard children say, "There's nothing to do today". I beg to differ. I'd like to inspire you to do something. Anything. Read. Bake. Hike. Fish. Plant. Sail. Climb. Play. Reach. Move. Laugh. Dream; and take time to sit with me on The Old Granite Step.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Horsing Around in Amherst

I'm proud to say that my niece is a member of the University of Massachusetts Western Equestrian Team.  We had a recent opportunity to attend one of her shows in Amherst.  While UMass was hosting the event,  the other participating teams were Mount Holyoke College, Sacred Heart University, University of Connecticut and C.W. Post (The Long Island University system).  It was a grey afternoon; perfect for a lively indoor experience. 

Hadley Farm offers many opportunities for students as well as for the community.

This little one greeted us at the fence but wouldn't stand still for a photo!  Boundless energy.

The horses graze comfortably on this tranquil afternoon.

Hats used for show are kept in damage-proof containers. 

Boots are required!

While spurs are part of the riding attire, it's unfortunate that this beautiful personalized one is not allowed. 

The riders begin to dress for the show.
The UMass riders sport this good-looking neckerchief.
Glitzy belt buckles galore in the arena!
A number is pinned on.
Chaps are adorned.

A winning smile.

Horses for the show are provided by the host school.  Riders don't know what horse they'll be riding until moments before the show begins.  Judges are grading the riders and their equestrian abilities; they are not judging the horses.
Some saddles are enhanced with exquisite detail.

Sizing up the competition.

A last minute hair touch-up.

It's showtime!

Riders are asked to walk, trot and canter.

The judges watch with a careful eye.
Riders line up before the handlers come out and get the horses.  Participants are awarded ribbons while on their own two feet, as the horses prepare for their next rider.
For the consequent class, riders memorize the "route" they are to follow.
Equestrian souvenirs from past years are scattered about the arena.

The team from Sacred Heart University examines its ribbons before departing for home.

We had a great afternoon and my niece added two more ribbons to her already substantial collection! 

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