Spring Show, Awards Banquet & Beyond!
Thursday, May 21, 2015
By Kathy McHugh
I’ve just come from the NEDA Spring Show and the 2014 Annual Awards Banquet. The show was smaller than usual. Nearly everyone I spoke to who was not competing attributed their decision to last winter’s weather leaving them feeling unprepared for the launch of the show season. This low turnout mirrors the experience of organizers of other shows this spring, which we don’t normally consider to be “early” shows, but seemed so to competitors whose preparations have been hampered by enormous snow pack, unrelenting cold, and even, in some cases, devastating barn and arena damage. Since everyone at the show was at roughly the same disadvantage, it made me wish I were still competing, because there was lots of opportunity to kick butt and win some ribbons in smaller classes. The weather for the show weekend was spectacular, and the show atmosphere seemed congenial and relaxed. The warmups were orderly and civilized, and the horses largely behaved themselves. Two of the barns at the Marshfield fairgrounds lost their roofs this winter, and the replacements are better than their predecessors, with roof overhangs that can accommodate tack, hay and other show necessities without the need to pay for a tack stall – yea! Thanks to perennial show manager Paul Cormier and to all who came out and volunteered for the show. Your cheerful presence contributes to – no, creates – the supportive and congenial atmosphere that makes this show such a success every year.
The awards banquet was also smaller than usual. But many 2014 award winners came out to collect their awards and enjoy the summer-like evening. As usual, Karin Swanfeldt put on a delicious dinner, Paul Eason provided some great music, and Karin and Stanley Edwards had the awards organized to a “T,” making their distribution a breeze. Instead of the usual picture taking of award winners, Paul Eason devised a hilarious adaptation of the game of musical chairs for the winners, inviting them to once again demonstrate their competitive spirit. We have worked on adapting this awards evening to make it a “don’t miss” event on the NEDA calendar, and associating it with the spring show puts it at a time when many winners are present to compete, making it an easy and fun way to pick up awards.
I hope we’ll see you at our other events this summer and fall, including the summer show at Twisdenwood Farm on July 12 and the Region 8 Championships at the NEDA Fall Festival September 17-20. Finally we have secured Robert Dover for a return visit to the NEDA Fall Symposium, returning this year to Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, Maine on October 17-18. For those of you who have watched or participated in a Robert Dover Clinic, you know already how great a coach and teacher he is in a symposium context, enlarging the work with individual horse rider combinations to make their challenges and successes useful for everyone present. For those who have not yet had this experience, you are in for a treat. The symposium is a little earlier than usual this year, so the weather promises to be more hospitable than last year. But we can thumb our nose at the cold in the world-class heated arena at Pineland. We hope to see you there!