MWHS recognizes our 5th student to earn a letter in Equestrian (Eleanor Pettitt). Karen Clark, met Eleanor for the first time in October of 2010. She was so excited to be in a horse barn! Her little body shook with excitement, and after she watched intently as I saddled and bridled Frosty, she very nervously helped me lead the horse out to the arena. When It came time to help her get up in the saddle, she just wasn’t sure if she wanted to go up so seemingly high. Sometimes other riders have burst into tears and have had to run back to their parent… not Eleanor, even tho the confidence had drained out of her little body, she stood right by my side, just wasn’t sure about getting on. I had to think fast and I suggested that we lounge Frosty. Lounging is attaching a 30 foot line on the horse, handler stays in the middle and a horse that does this well, will listen and obey vocal commands. In her little voice, she was able to tell Frosty to walk, trot and canter, and most importantly, WHOA, and ol’ Frosty, did every command for her without hesitation. After that demonstration, yes, she was ready to ride, and she has been riding ever since! Here at Rainbow’s End (my farm name), we go to both “one day shows” which would be local, Saddle Club sponsored shows and County Fair Horse Shows and when we go out of town, often out of state, those shows usually run 3 to 4 days long. Riders who participate with me, are brought to the shows by their parents, the longer shows mean that a motel room is rented for 4 to 5 nights, often times the whole family comes to watch, creating our own cheer leader section in the stands. Eleanor has worked her way up the long list of classes. When she was younger, most shows offer easier, “rookie” classes just to help the exhibitor find comfort in the show ring. Our one day shows hire only one “local” judge. When we participate at the longer shows, sponsored by The Pinto Horse Association, which is an international active association, 4 judges are hired, no local judges are allowed. Eleanors hard work and her ability to to show confidence with the horse, in the beginning it was Frosty, and then we went on to Gypsy, and now it’s Luke, Lady and Marty, proved to me that ethically her ability went from the “rookie” entry level classes to the “open” age group appropriate classes! She has shown in halter, showmanship, and trail in hand classes. These classes would be similar to what you would see at a dog show, the horse in this case being led in, the halter class is where the conformation of the horse is judged, possibly sounds easy, but just like in the case of a dog show, the horse has to be set up correctly and remain in complete control with the handler. The showmanship and trail in hand classes, are more like obedience and agility classes. Not such an easy task, with a 1000 lb. animal that cannot be guilted into behaving. Under saddle classes, would include both Western and English. Some of these classes would be judged on her horsemanship and handling of the horse, others are judged on the way the horse is behaving for that discipline. Eleanor has proved in my eyes, and on the judges cards that she can be very competitive, sometimes bringing out the top honor, other times pulling a high placing. She’s an intent competitor and yet makes friends easily outside the show ring.Cheering and congratulating others, and not only those from my barn! She is willing to work hard here in my barn, there’s not a visit that goes by, where she hasn’t picked up a broom and swept the aisle or grabbed a pitch fork and picked out a stall and often times, cleans out the really grungy ones to help me keep the whole barn in great shape. I also take one of my Miniature horses to Nursing Homes in the area. On many occasions, she has come along to help. With her huge smile and sunny disposition she has been a favorite with the residents—and of course, they all LOVE her accent! I cannot think of another of my students who would appreciate any more and who would very much deserve to be lettered for her equestrian activities!