After the fun of Saturday's Playday, it was time to get to work on Sunday. Although we spent nearly all week preparing, we still had a lot to do to get checked in and moved in. Watching Brailey clean her saddle reminded me of when I did Horse 4-H and I had to clean mine - I didn't enjoy it, and she didn't like it too much, either. However, she did an excellent job, and by the time she was done, her saddle was as clean and shiny as it could possibly be.
We made some decorations for her stall, although ours were actually quite pitiful compared to other ones - we didn't know what to expect, so we kept it simple. The theme for this year's fair was "Red, White and Blue, this fair is for you!" She made her informative poster about, what else? Horse teeth and the importance of having them done.
And that brings us to Monday, the busiest of the days. First, she had Showmanship. She did a great job! She and Tex both looked sparkly and shiny. They are such a cute pair, these two...
Her 4-H Leader, Kim!
Proof she was smiling at the judge! The judges were extremely picky and stingy with their ribbons (a blog post for another day), and there were only two blue ribbons given out in Showmanship for the juniors and novice kiddos (I'm talking about 40-50 kids, here). Brailey was one point away from a blue! However, she made such huge improvements from Pre-Fair (she got a white), it is unbelievable.
Next, we had the Trail Class. This was a very tricky course, but Brailey studied it and was ready to go. Nobody would go first, because they wanted to see someone else do it before they had to. But Brailey bucked up and did it first, and did it correctly! She accomplished every single obstacle. Sadly, I thought I was filming the entire thing, but I wasn't. New camera growing pains. Ahhhhhhh! We are all sick that I didn't get it on film. But she did so well! She also improved her score on this from Pre-Fair and earned another red ribbon (Pre-Fair was her first time, and she got a white). In fact, she was only five points away from a blue. (Did I mention the judge was a stickler?)
From Trail, we moved on to her Photography Project and went to her interview. She entered three pictures, which we spent all last week picking, printing and preparing. 4-H is a lot of work! Luckily, the timing with her horse show worked out perfectly, and she was able to be interviewed - we were afraid she would have to just turn her pictures in with a written description of what she had learned. She was so cute in this interview, and what a great experience for her! We are looking forward to seeing the results on Friday.
And last but not least for the day, she had her Horse Knowledge class. We thought she aced this class! It was truly a piece of cake for her. But once again, the judge was a perfectionist, and even though Brailey knew all the answers and completed all the maneuvers, she earned a red ribbon. Upon further reflection, she is so comfortable with Tex, she wasn't as careful as 4-H people prefer. 4-H folks are somewhat narrow-minded, and if something isn't done to the letter of the book, points are docked. There is absolutely no room for error in 4-H. (Can you tell we are a little disillusioned by this point? Like I said, another post down the road...)
Our happy girl! She has been growing like a weed this summer, though, and her toes are at the end of her boots. After all the walking and standing, her feet were on fire! She soaked them in cold water when we got home. She has a bigger pair of boots to move into, but we wanted to keep the same ones she has been practicing in. It was a very busy day, but a super successful one! We are more than proud of our Brailey Shaye, and not because of how she did, but because she has been working so hard. She earned those red ribbons!