Thursday, September 25, 2014

saddle up

When you commit to join a 4H club the outline is fairly simple, you take part in the meetings which usually work out to six, two hour meetings and you wrap up with your achievement day. In our photography club, for example, achievement day was judging day at the fair. The kids had to submit pictures on the chosen topics which we then had judged. For Glee Club the kids put on a performance for their invited guests. You get the general idea.

Abby recently completed her first 4H horse club and achievement day required her to participate in a horse show. Now if you know Abby you know that this caused much anxiety and almost kept her from signing up for the club at all. The week before the show, which was taking place the Friday morning of the fair, she was a bundle of nerves wondering just how she was going to pull it off and fairly certain that the whole experience was going to be the opposite of fun.

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We had to scramble a bit to put together a suitable show outfit, many thanks to Grandma Sandi for the clothes and the alterations and Sarah for the loan of the jacket, but in the end we got her looking right spiffy. Of course none of it would be possible if not for one of the club leaders trailering the world's most fantastic pony Star over to the fairgrounds!

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Abby remained uncertain through the show on the subject of whether or not she was having fun. Horse shows, I am quickly learning, are a lot of hurry up and wait. So there was much down time, which Abby spent practicing when she could and Star spent grazing on all that delicious grass right at his feet when he could.

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By the end of the day Abby had racked up two fourths, a fifth and a sixth (and I scored a wicked sun/wind burn) and, despite her thinking to the contrary, had a fabulous time and is fairly certain she's going to join the club again next year. It goes without saying how proud we are that she was able to have fun despite the nerves. Abby's experience that day really cemented what I find so fantastic about 4H as an organization. She was in a group of her peers where she's making lasting friendships, where she was supported and encouraged to do her best by her leaders and her fellow club members, and she left with a true feeling of accomplishment and increased confidence in herself. Win, win, win.

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