In February, a week before the BBQ Cook-Off and rodeo activities began, some of our clients headed down to NRG Arena for the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Top Hands Horse Show. Five of our horses, 7 staff members, and 21 volunteers went along with the 7 clients that competed to make this two-day event possible for our kids.
We could not have been more proud of our horses and riders. For these kids, packing up, heading to a new place, and getting on their horse without the instructor in the ring is not a small feat. They harness all of their bravery to compete with their peers after months of practice. Most riders, along with their volunteers, began practicing for the show in November. In Equitation classes, riders must listen to the judge’s instructions and guide their horse themselves while maintaining proper posture. For trail classes, riders had to remember a pattern that included four obstacles. All of this means that they worked hard on memorization, hand-eye coordination, core strength, and confidence. While volunteer leaders and sidewalkers are allowed in the show ring with riders for safety, they are not allowed to help with steering or patterns.
There were more than 12 organizations and a few hundred riders at this year’s show. Inspiration Ranch clients competed in both English and Western riding classes, and they had big wins that resulted in not only trophies but major personal accomplishments. Overall, the Ranch’s seven riders placed in 17 different classes. More importantly, they reached personal milestones that included riding independently in the ring, finishing trail patterns for the first time, and digging deep for bravery that surprised everyone.
For many Inspiration Ranch riders, shows like Top Hands are one of few opportunities they get to compete with their peers. It’s a truly special time, and so, to all of the volunteers and donors who helped us to make this possible for our clients, Thank You.
Top Hands Horse Show Results for Inspiration Ranch Riders:
Andy placed 1st in Showmanship at Halter, 2nd in Trail and 3rd in English Equitation
Cadie placed 2nd in English Equitation and 7th in Trail
Emily placed 2nd in Trail, 3rd in English Equitation, and 4th in Showmanship at Halter
Janelle placed 3rd in Showmanship at Halter, 3rd in Western Equitation, and 4th in Trail
Mia placed 3rd in English Equitation and 9th in Trail
Rebecca placed 4th in English Equitation and 4th in Trail
Riley placed 2nd in English Equitation and 3rd in Trail