I was told by the race organizer that my mare was well matched with two other horses in our race and could do well. That made me excited, because despite the fact that I was a complete rookie, my horse would carry me through and hopefully save me from embarrassing myself. LOL! While I might know more about riding, I have no problem admitting that Snappy knows more about racing than me. A friend brought me back to Earth when she said there was no way I would win, since one of the other riders was much better than me, as she actually drives horses in race and used to be an outrider at a big track. Ah well. I figured there was no need to win, just do the best we could. :-)
I was surprisingly calm about the race the morning of, yet I was oddly nervous all week prior. At times I would be fine and super excited, then I would drive by the Trotting Park and see the sign for Horsemen's Day and my stomach would flipflop like crazy. I was so excited and nervous at the same time I thought I was going to pee myself. On Friday I actually had a moment of I have got to scratch out of the race! and then laughed at myself. I knew we were ready, but it was still an unknown, which makes me nervous.
|Yeah, I wasn't excited or anything! LOL! Thankfully Smartpak's embroidery is free for me and Snappy's fancy saddle pad was only $13.95!!|
I have no silks/colors of my own, so I opted to just use my roadster silks. Yeah, they looked a little silly and a bit too bright, but oh well. ;-) I think we looked quite snazzy!! LOL!
|Warming up with Snappy!|
|Miss Dreamy lookin' fine....she loves to marshal!|
|Post Parade.....we are way up in front!|
|Here we are in the very first turn|
|This was on the backside...don't worry, I have permission to use my friend's photo. ;-)|
|Coming into the half, I finally let her move to the front.|
|So. Much. Fun.|
|So much happiness!|
|OMG I'm going to win!!|
|Same moment in time, different view!|
|We did it!|
|My BFF Shelly bringing me back to the winner's circle! It was neat to actually be the one going to there, as opposed to just my usual marshal job of bringing the winner back. You can see Snappy's owner behind us in the red shirt.|
|My first win photo!! Who knows if I will ever have another one, so I was sure to savor it! :-)|
|See? I pretty much looked like this for the next two days.|
I could barely close my mouth, it was so dry. The feeling of winning, my heart racing, and the adrenaline flowing was amazing. Snappy had been amazing too. She raced like she had done it all of her life; and she has, of course, just not with a person on her back!! I pulled her up slowly and we trotted back to the winner's circle. I just grinned and grinned like an idiot. I think I smiled for a full 24 hours, if not longer. Her owner had made no move to come to the winner's circle, so I yelled that he had to! ;-) There was a small purse, but that went to her owner. He asked if he owed me any money and I said absolutely not. I appreciate the fact that he believed in me and allowed me to use his mare. That was enough for me. Granted, I did ask if I might keep the blanket, and he agreed. Currently, it is on my bed and I sleep under it every night. I doubt it will see a horse. LOL!!!!
Even better, the presiding judge at Cornish Horsemen's Day happily signed my RUS practical license form and even wrote "Exceptional horsewoman" under additional comments. That felt pretty good. We went in 2:18, and while I fully realize this is no where near competitive enough to race down in NJ, NY, or KY, I accept that Snappy is who she is, I am who I am, and there is no reason to compare our performance to the races currently being held down there. Snappy is having a blast and so I am; THAT is what matters. I am realistic and know she is only really competitive here in Maine. ;-) And maybe we will never be that competitive again. I am proud of us for winning, but who knows if we ever will again.
I had so much fun! I am so glad I was able to race and see how it would go. I hope the fairs and track here will consider adding in an RUS race here or there. After the big Hambletonian race this past summer, people in Maine have started to notice and pay attention to RUS. I think it could help give STBs another opportunity to continue their racing careers as well as give them a head start into a pleasure horse second career after they retire.
And a fun side note...I had looked up Snappy's racelines and horse reports earlier this summer, but I guess I never really noticed her date of birth. I looked her up again just the other day, so I could enroll her in the USTA Full Circle Program, and I noticed she was born on May 23. This might not mean much to you all, but it just so happens that is the same day Dreamy was born AND MY SON. Seriously, it was crazy enough the day my son was born to realize he shared the same day as Dreamy, but to have Snappy share her birthday with them as well? That is just plain crazy.
Info on RUS Maine is here.
More pics of the day are here.
More pics of Dreamy and McKeever marshaling the rest of the card that day. They are two peas in a pod. :-)