My First Competition
Nora, Age 11, Warsaw, Poland

I got up early in the morning and sprang out of bed. I yanked my clothes out of the closet and pulled them on. I rushed down the stairs and gulped down my breakfast. I said bye to Penny, my dog. I was ready to go.

We went to a mall to buy some blue ribbons for the show. I chose the glistening royal blue ones. We purchased the ribbons, got into the car and drove to the stable. Mom dropped me off. "I'll be back in an hour" said mom. Then she drove away.

We got there 30 minutes earlier then planned so I had a bite to eat. After waiting and waiting I decided to go talk to Marek, my horse instructor. "Go and get the saddle and bridle then brush Tic Tak" said Marek.

I picked up the saddle and bridle from the tack room, put them on the saddle stand in the stable and went to brush Tic Tak, the pony I was going to ride. He greeted me with a friendly whinny so I gave him a heart shaped sugar cube. He crunched on it noisily then he nudged me for more. I patted his nose. "Sorry Tic Tak I'll give you some more later".

I started to brush him and he started to relax. Next, I made some braids on his mane and tail and tied them with the ribbons. He looked so cute with his puffy white mane and tail bowed with the beautiful blue ribbons. Now we were ready to put on the saddle and bridle. After I put the tack on, I mounted. He was so excited that he started to jog and pull at the bit. We warmed up in the ring. He was going at an energetic pace, so after 5 minutes we started to trot. "Time to go to the forest!" yelled Marek over the sound. I was so excited that I trotted to the front of the line.

Deep in the forest we started to trot. It was damp and hot. Sweat was trickling down my back. After an hour of never ending trotting and walking we got to a wide stretch of field. Tic Tak got too excited and pushed out of the line. I pulled back on the reins, but Tic Tak went at a full gallop across the field. It was so sudden that I lost my balance and fell. Stunned, I stayed on the ground staring at the bright blue sky.

Someone got off their horse and checked if I was OK. My legs were wobbly from the sudden impact.  None-the-less I jumped back on Tic Tak. This time I was ready for Tic Tak to bolt. That's when one of the other horses leapt forward. He blasted across the field, the other horses trailing behind. We were traveling at the speed of light, the wind whipping through Tic Tak's main, my eyes watering. It was exhilarating, but as all good things it had to come to an end. The rest of the horses galloped down the field while I let Tic Tak take his rest. That's when I realized we were in Powsin Park! We had gone at least 3 miles! I was really surprised. We headed back across the field to the stable. It was time for the competition.

Once we were back at the stable we let the horses rest and drink. It was time for the Fox Hunt. I was ready, my eyes locked on the fox. Tic Tak snorted. That's when I heard the horn. Tic Tak reared up and off we went blazing across the field after the horse with the fox. We trailed behind, but I believed we still had a chance. I believed in Tic Tak. Tic Tak closed in on the fox.  We were 5 meters away. I charged toward the horse, it made a sharp turn, I went to follow and lost balance. I had to stop. I had lost my stirrup. Then someone got the fox. I trotted back to the starting place. This was the second round. This time I got even closer! Then a horse kicked out and Tic Tak skidded, I had to stop or else I would end up falling and would be trampled. Someone else got the fox. It was over.

Now it was time for the final part of the competition.  I was against another pony. The object was to knock down as many bottles as possible, trot around the post, twist backward in the saddle, canter around a hay bail, grab a cup of water and dash to the finish line. The person that has the least faults wins!

I started at a lively trot and knocked down 4 bottles, transitioned to a slow canter, wound around the post, in a trot and transitioned into an extended canter and, when we got to the corner, twisted around in the saddle. Tic Tak began a collected gallop as we circled the hay, grabbed the water turned around and cantered over the finish line. I won against the other pony!

After all the horses where done they announced the placement for the course." 3rd place goes to… Tic Tak and Nora," the announcer called.

I went to the judges and took my trophy. They announced the other places and then we ate. After an hour of celebrating we went home with a brand new trophy.

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