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What it Feels Like to Win Third Place

Filed under: Blog Post |     

EC Blog by: Hannah McDonald

Image courtesy of Courtney Suthoff.

Image courtesy of Courtney Suthoff.

So, I have thought long and hard about what I want to say, and here it goes…

I still can’t believe that I got third place in the Novice Youth Trail out of 65 horses at the 2013 AQHA East Novice Championships. It’s kind of hard to believe that my horse, Invited Good N Early aka “Stuart,” and I are still green in the trail.

Stuart has a mind of his own. When I first got him, I knew it was going to be hard for me. When we went into our first trail class, I was scared. I had no idea what I was doing, and I think Stuart didn’t either. After that class, I fell in love with trail.

By the beginning of July, Stuart and I started to get it right in our minds. I told my mom, Pam McDonald, and my dad, Doug McDonald, (who I love very much and thank them for supporting me) that I wanted to go to the Novice Championships. They said yes. I was so happy, but I knew that I had alot of hard work ahead of me: many hours in the saddle at the barn and going over trail poles everyday. After the many talks about “I’m not good enough for this” with my trainers, they told me that I could do anything that I wanted to do. I took that to heart even though it might not have seemed that way.

Then, it was a week before the Championships. I was at the barn every day riding and getting better with Stuart. That week had flown by. The next thing I knew, I was in the trail pen getting ready to show. Brendon (my wonderful and loving trainer) said to take a deep breath because he could see that I was very scared. He said “you will do fine. It is just another practice of poles, like we have done before.” When I started to walk to the gate, I heard him whisper “and also have fun.”

When I started my pattern, I knew it was going to be great just by the way Stuart felt. The pattern was wonderful. There were no ticks and it was very soft. I was so proud of my Stuart. Then, the call backs came. They did it in number order. I heard my number, and I was extremely glad that I made it back.

They gave the finalist medals first. My number wasn’t called. “Top ten” I thought in my head. My heart started to beat out of my chest. Then, fifth place came, and I still wasn’t called. I thought to myself, “holy cow, what’s going on?!” Then, it was third place, and they called out my name. I started to feel the tears come out of my eyes, but I knew I had to hold it in until I got my picture taken. After that, I had to let the river flow. I couldn’t believe it. Stuart and I had done it. Anything is possible; you just have to work for it.

A huge thank you to Brendon Mehochko and Chris Russell for believing in me and telling me that I can achieve my goals if I work hard enough for them. Thank you also to my parents. I love you guys very much, and thank you to my teammates for cheering me on and helping me:)

Image courtesy of Courtney Suthoff.

Image courtesy of Courtney Suthoff.

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