The Horsemen of Arkansas trail challenge held this past weekend was great fun and an opportunity to make a lot of new friends. The challenge took place in Hartman, Arkansas at the J Bar K Ranch. It was a wonderful opportunity to engage in some friendly competition and see how well some of our horses could do. Like most events, the people involved make the real difference. This event was no exception and the really nice folks who put on the challenge made you feel right at home and part of the group.
We knew little about the Horsemen of Arkansas before attending, but are pleased to report it is an organization full of knowledgable horsemen and plain old good people. The competition was the style we like. Everyone competed, but at the same time worked hard to make sure everyone understood the rules and what to expect. We saw numerous situations where fellow contestants went out of their way to assist their competitors. The atmosphere was “I want to beat you, but only if you and your horse did it’s very best“. Competitors gave friendly advice and even warnings to the competition about obstacles on the courses. We even saw competitors yell across the field letting a friendly rival know they were about to go past an obstacle, thereby preventing a lower score. The comradery and the attitude that “I only want to win if everyone has done their best” made it a great time.
There were talented riders and fine horses that competed. The knowledge base of the group was extensive and it would have been difficult to attend without picking up several tips to make you a better rider. There were national finalists that attended and competed so we were able to observe firsthand some real talent. Two trainers and competitors participated, Meg Wills and Wendy Stephens. Both ladies really went out of their way to offer tips, explain the rules (before you competed) and followed up with advice on how to improve.
If you haven’t tried one of these events, we highly recommend going to one. It gives you the opportunity to test how well your horse will respond to a new environment and all sorts of strange challenges. More about how our horses performed in the over the next week.