SPHO-NJ puts on a fabulous banquet and puts all the banquets I have attended here in Maine to shame. Not only are the awards simply fabulous, but the atmosphere, the food, and the people are just outstanding. I have never met such a dedicated and inclusive group of Standardbred owners. They have treated me like one of their own, despite the fact that I am from Maine. They have supported my competitive aspirations without thinking I am a "show off". They have never once made me feel bad for supporting the racing industry. It is a shame that I have to go all the way to NJ to get this, despite the fact that there is an SPHO chapter right here in Maine.
The dinner was so yummy. The gift basket Chinese auction was outstanding! I donated a $30tack shop gift certificate to the auction, and spent $20 in auction tickets, but alas I won nothing. That's OK though! :) Someone bought a $500 veterinarian gift certificate for $1000! HOLY COW! And the family that won the 50/50 (which was around $500) gave the money back to SPHO-NJ! That kind of stuff is just so cool! It showed me that the SPHO-NJ folks are truly working FOR the club, not for their own agendas. Again....sad that I have to travel almost 400 miles to get this.....
Here is what my amazing mare accomplished in 2008, her second year of showing, through the SPHO-NJ:
- 2008 Taurmade Memorial Dressage Training Level High Percentage Award (73.2%)
- National Horse Show Training Level Grand Champion
- Grand Champion Dressage division
- Grand Champion Combined Training division
- Reserve Champion Ambassador Standardbred of the Year
- Third place Versatility Award
- Third place 2-Gait Senior Horse division
- Fourth place General division
- Fourth place Demos, Expos, and Parades division
- National High Point Standardbred – Fourth Place
It was very special to win the Taurmade Memorial trophy as high point Training level horse, seeing as Taurmade was a very special horse that belonged to my friend Helene from NJ. Taurmade had colic surgery in 2007 and ended up having to be put down from another bout of colic just seven short months later. He was only seven years old! :( Taurmade was a magnificent horse and was doing dressage before I even thought "Dreamy" and "dressage" in the same sentence. He did more for dressage than most horses will do in their lifetime. He was a true ambassador of the breed, impressing people and judges in demos and at shows. He even was shown by young junior riders to blue ribbon wins! Taurmade had a heart of gold and though I never had the chance to meet him, he hold a place in my heart and is a horse I admire much like Honest Appraisal "Muffin" whom I wrote about here.
Dreamy was also named the reserve Standardbred Ambassador horse of the year for SPHO-NJ. Taurmade was the winner of this award, and I felt honored to have placed second.
Having been the National High Point Standardbred of 2007, I knew it was silly to think we would repeat that title. We ended up fourth, and I am very pleased with that. My goal was do move up a level in both dressage and eventing in 2008, and I knew that moving up would mean lower scores. But despite a move up, we had a good year. We won 19 year ends for 2007 and 21 for 2008. Not too shabby. :D My overall show goals for 2008 were to be successful in our move up (which we were) and to try to be champion of both the overall dressage and combined training divisions for SPHO-NJ (which we were). So all in all, I am very pleased with our 2008 competitive performances.