We arrived in Kentucky on Sunday evening, and Monday was a blur of errands and preparation. Suddenly it was Tuesday and I was on my way to my first NAN.
The first day of NAN is OF Breed Halter and CM/AR Performance. I was excited and nervous. The hall was enormous.
There were twelve show rings, with multiple classes loading at one time. Thanks to some wonderful volunteers, it wasn’t too hard to follow the classes- we had an announcer keeping us constantly updated on the status of each class, and a volunteer manning a huge white board that listed which classes were in what rings.
For me, day one was all about performance. The day started with harness and then several costume classes. I didn’t have anything until the fifth class, so I did as much prep as I could for my upcoming classes and then wandered around nervously looking at all the entries on various tables.
Finally my first class was called! I had two entries in Scene/Other Performance: Troy Soldier doing horse agility (well, in this case, mule agility) and Puns N Roses doing a liberty demonstration.
One of the awesome things about NAN is that after every class, the top tens placings are announced (in random order) and then they announce the champion and reserve. I love these announcements because you get to hear all the fun names, it’s exciting listening for your horse, and you get to cheer for your friends.
Scene/Other Performance was a big class with some very impressive entries. The announcer listed off the top tens… and the final name she called was Troy Soldier! It was a wonderful moment.
The awesomeness just continued from there. In the next class, Jumper/Cross Country, my old standby performance horse Nightfox won a top ten with my new Star Wars themed jump.
Meanwhile in the other ring, I was setting up my hunter over fences entry with PHF Richard Squared, my beautiful CM Seabiscuit that Tiffany gifted to me earlier this year. When the winners were announced, I was stunned to hear his name announced as Reserve Champion! One of Tiffany’s horses won Champion. Wahoo!
I love showing performance so much, and getting to do so at NAN, with so many of my friends, with the finest judges in the hobby and the stiffest competition… it was a blast. I was stunned and excited and proud as my entries continued to win top tens as the day went on.
Meanwhile Erin was garnering ribbons in both CM/AR performance and OF breed halter…
And Tiffany was kickin’ butt in performance with her trademark flare.
After a full day of showing we were down to the very last class- CM/AR Western Riding/Reining/Dressage. I had two entries in this class, both PHF Richard Squared and Puns N Roses. To my joy they were both announced as top tens. I was walking over to the table to disassemble my setups when they announced Puns N Roses as the Champion of the class!
I was so completely stunned, and then dizzy, and then I actually thought I was going to pass out. Folks were clapping and congratulating me and I had to sit on the floor until my head stopped spinning.
Talk about a grand finale to an amazing day!
Packing up and heading back to the hotel is all a blur…I was so happy and hungry and excited. I have learned so much in the last few years- from my obsessive research on breeds and events, from countless blogs and tutorials, from my amazing mentors-turned-friends… and this day was in many ways a culmination of all of that.
And this was only Day One!