Our 2016 show year has officially come to a close, and it’s been quite a year. We’ve had many great shows, a few not so great, travelled to interesting places, and ended up with some fantastic results. Fall for us is dominated by the “indoors” horse shows. These shows are a big deal (kind of like the bowl games of the equestrian world), and Dudley and Roland had to qualify by accruing points throughout the show season. They are referred to as “indoors” because we show in indoor arenas, and the venues are elaborately decorated and quite different from the arenas the horses are used to. So in addition to our usual show preparations, we also do things to prepare the horses for the different venues, like putting posters in the indoor ring to get the horses used to seeing the advertising banners on the arena walls, and trying to simulate the obstacles and décor they might see. Capital Challenge is the first of the fall indoors shows and competition was especially fierce this year, with more depth of equine and human talent than we’ve ever seen there before. Though we didn’t always get the results we wanted, Roland and Dudley definitely showed that they could compete with the best. Next for us was the Washington International Horse Show! We look forward to this one all year. It’s truly unique, as it’s held at the Verizon Center right in the heart of Washington, D.C. The horses are stabled on the streets on two sides of the arena and down in the parking garage below, and it’s quite fun to watch people walking along on their way to work and look up to realize there are horses right in front of them! They require us to haul in to Prince George Equestrian Center in Maryland, and they take all of the horses and equipment in on semis (which also makes packing a special challenge). The schedule is crazy, the hours are insane, and we love every minute of it. (Well, maybe not the minute when the alarm goes off at 1 a.m. . . .) WIHS was only two days of horse showing for us, but it’s a tough venue and we fit a lot into those days! On Tuesday, Roland won two of his three jumping classes. A little bad luck on Wednesday, but overall a good showing with some good prizes. Our last hurrah was the National Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. The Kentucky Horse Park is an amazing facility, with extensive show grounds, museums, and other attractions. Two Kentucky Derby winners, Funny Cide and Go for Gin, live there, and Man O’ War is buried there along with several other famous race horses. The drive to the park was beautiful, with fall colors decorating the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia. Roland was Reserve Champion in the Second-Year Green Hunter division at the National, winning two of the three jumping classes, against the best in the country. Dudley and Roland had a few mistakes in their classes, but for the most part did a great job and finished strong with a third place right behind the champion and reserve for the division. Roland’s photo was featured in an article in The Chronicle of the Horse: http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/whos-fairest-professional-hunters-national-horse-show As the U.S. Equestrian Federation closes out the official show year on November 30th, Roland and Dudley are ranked 4th in the nation in their Amateur Owner Hunter division! They are also top 5 in our zone, and Roland is top 5 in the zone for the Regular Conformation Hunters. Go Team!!!