What better place to be on Saint Patrick’s Day than Las Vegas?! Plenty of AQHA competitors are hoping they might conjure a bit of Luck O’ the Irish today during their Showmanship, Halter, and Trail classes at the 2016 Silver Dollar Circuit.
Do you believe luck plays a part in showing horses? Many competitors do. Whether it’s snagging a strategic spot in the working order, wearing a favorite outfit, or participating in a pre-show ritual, equestrians have definite feelings about luck and superstition.
We caught up with a few competitors around the rings at the 2016 Silver Dollar Circuit to find out their thoughts. As Kimberly Morrison stood waiting for her go in Amateur Showmanship this morning, we noticed a small, green, four-leaf clover tattoo peeking out above the collar of her outfit. Of course we had to ask…
It turns out she didn’t get the tattoo just for today; it’s in honor of her now retired 24-year-old AQHA gelding Saint Patrick’s Certain. “Oscar was born on Saint Patrick’s Day,” Kimberly says. “He’s retired now, but he was shown for many years, in two-year-old Western Pleasure futurities and later in Trail and Western Riding.” Today, Kimberly is competing with her other horse, OH K Rockin Steady, aka “Rocky,” in Showmanship, Western Riding, and Trail, under the guidance of horse trainer Diane Gaudreau.
Other than her lucky clover tattoo, Kimberly doesn’t have many superstitions. “If I have the number three or a multiple of three in my show number, I do well. I think there’s a lot of hard work [with showing horses], but there’s a little bit of luck involved too. If all the four-leaf clovers and leprechauns are with you on a certain day, I think it counts.”
Amateurs Marcie Budine and Amy Groefsma both compete with the same trainers, Jenn Doubrava and Justin Wheeler, but they have very different perspectives on luck when it comes to showing horses. Marcie brought her stallion, What Matters Most, to the Silver Dollar Circuit, as well as her 3-year-old, A Kept Woman. Amy is competing with her aptly-named Hot Deals Only (she’s a real-estate broker).
“I definitely think luck plays into showing horses,” Marcie says. “I’m kind of superstitious anyway. I must have even numbers when I show. Also, on day that my horse is showing or that I’m showing, I can only wear blue. Definitely no yellow; it’s bad luck. I wore green yesterday, and it was a bad day…”
“I don’t have any superstitions,” Amy says. “I just wake up each morning and feel blessed that I get to do this, and I try to think positively through the rest of the day.”
Over in the Trail pen, varying shades of green could be seen on the course as riders put horses through their paces. For a few equestrians, the decision to don the color was a nod to their Irish heritage. Horse trainer Anthony Montes’s great-grandfather was Irish, and fellow trainer Bruce Vickery’s mother’s family hails from the Emerald Isle. “My mother’s family name was McCubbins,” Bruce says. “I’ve never been to Ireland, but I’m going to go some day.” Though he has a bit of Irish blood running through his veins, Bruce has a definite opinion about luck when showing horses. “I think you make your own luck,” he says.
Youth competitor Natasha Blanchard was feeling very lucky today, perhaps because she was able to celebrate her birthday yesterday with members of her horse show family, High Point Performance Horses and Capital Quarter Horses, LLC. Although her birthday was on March 11th, the group decided to wait to have a big celebration in Las Vegas. This evening, Natasha’s Saint Paddy’s Day plans involve bowling at South Point.
While Natasha does prefer that she and her mare, Potential Advantage, aka “Cindy,” end up in the middle of the working order, she doesn’t particularly believe in good or bad luck. “I pray to God before I go out to show, and I believe that he is the only person who can give luck.”