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Ribbon Remembrances - My Time on the NCTA Equestrian Team by Katrina Rotness

Ribbon Remembrances - My Time on the NCTA Equestrian Team by Katrina Rotness

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Published by Aaron Couch
This was an article/ story that we received for the Aggie Up! But we were unable to put it in, due to the lack of space. We decided to upload it though. I hope you enjoy.

Note: to see what we DID put in the Aggie Up! about Katrina, check out the 15th Issue of Volume 3
This was an article/ story that we received for the Aggie Up! But we were unable to put it in, due to the lack of space. We decided to upload it though. I hope you enjoy.

Note: to see what we DID put in the Aggie Up! about Katrina, check out the 15th Issue of Volume 3

More info:

Published by: Aaron Couch on May 06, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/06/2011

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Every person who has ever been to a horse show has covetedthe beautiful, big, blue ribbon. Not every rider gets a blue, and some of the best may only get a few in a season. The exiting reward of winning and pride of that blue is a feeling every rider desires. Butwhat happens when a rider is not awarded the first place blueribbon? Practice and more ridding, a willingness to work hard, andabove all, a good attitude in what and how well you do will bringyou to the top.I learned the value of these things when I entered schooland the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA). I hadridden horses all my life and worked with many of them as awrangler at Fort Robinson State Park near Crawford Neb.
It’s
safe tosay I knew horses fairly well, however, my riding appearancesuggested otherwise.I could not afford to take my own horse to college with me but I
couldn’t stand to be out of the saddle. That was my first reason for
joiningthe horse show team. Looking at it from a professional side, people paygood money for great show horses; I needed to learn how to show properly.And so I joined the team with bad riding habits and a sloppy appearance.Many of my habits included leaning way to far forward, legs stretched clear out in front of me,and only using my hands to control the horse. A good rider will have a straight line from their shoulder,hip, to their heel. Eyes will be looking forward, never down, and heels are pushed down. A good rideralso uses legs, seat, and eyes (looking where you want to go really helps) to control the horse, hands are just a failsafe. During practice we used an array of different horses and the coaches taught us how tobetter ourselves.We began riding both hunt seat (English) and stock seat (western) disciplines. Coming from aranching community, I had always had t
he good ol’ saddle horn on my saddle.
But out coach, Katy Jones,introduced us to riding in an English saddle, and I quickly learned to love it. I was even introduced tocross-rails, the first step of jumping. I had found a new appreciation for the English discipline.It was not long before shows began. As a team we went to different schools and competedagainst student from the University of Nebraska, University of Wyoming, University of Colorado, ColbyCommunity College (KS), Oklahoma Panhandle State University and several others.All the horses and tack used in the shows were provided by the host college. Riders drew their
horse’s name out of a hat and by
Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) rules, were given justenough time to adjust the stirrups on the saddle and get on. Even while on the horse a handler keptcomplete control of the animal. We could not warm it up; we could not ride it, control it, or handle it inany way. The handler led us into the ring and so the first time we ever had control of that animal was infront of a judge.
 
Riders are judged completely on horsemanship. My poor posture and bad ridding habitsprevented me from placing well throughout the first year. Ribbons and points are awarded to the firstsix places in a class. I came away with many fifth and six place ribbons. But even low placings areplacings, and having a good attitude about that is what many riders lack, but they all need. I never letmyself get down and by the end of my first year I had a third place ribbon!I came into my second and last year at NCTA with a smile on my face and my hopes high. Many
of my ridding problems were better, but still, I didn’t think I was all that good. That is until I placed
second in Colby Ks. I was so excited. I had never placed that well before. It was not a blue ribbon, it wasred, but that was the most beautiful color. That is until the next day when I did receive the all coveted,all celebrated blue ribbon. I had won!That was the only blue ribbon I received in the two yea
rs on the equestrian team. But that didn’tmatter. I had some more sixth places, several third places, and some shows where I didn’t place at all. As
long as I had fun and learned from my mistakes, it was a good show. Of course there were some dayswhen being positive was harder than others.When I joined the team I made a commitment to do what needed to be done to make it asuccessful team. This entailed having a willingness to work. Several times within the years our teamhosted both open shows and IHSA shows as well as clinics open for people to come and learn fromexperts. Setting up and preparing for these events took time and energy and often we would ride inthese events as well. During practices we had to care for the horses, and clean up after ourselves. This
may not seem like much work, but it’s the little things that add up. Much of our time was dedicated to
helping things run smoothly.Most of our time and energy was spent in the best part of being on the equestrian team: riding.Horse show practice was held twice a week, one day was hunt seat, and the other was stock seat. Ridingdifferent horses in different tack and also different disciplines prepared us for unknown horses andunknown tack at the shows. We spent as much time as we could in the saddle doing an assortment of things and I loved it.Every ribbon at a show is awarded points according to the placing. Sixth is awarded only onepoint and first place receives seven points. These points add up over the course of two consecutiveshow years. The goal of nearly every IHSA rider is gain enough points to go to regionals. All the practices,extra work and attitude paid off. I got to go to regionals.All of the riders who had done well from all the schools we had competed against were atregionals in Cheyenne Wyo. for stock seat. This was show was important. Those who placed first orsecond in their class advanced to semi-nationals and then to nationals in Lexington Kentucky.First I rode in a preliminary class. I knew I could have done better. I know I could have had abetter ride, but I had fun. It was regionals after all and I was excited to just be there. But then I heard mynumber, I was called back to ride in the finals. Wow! I had to draw for a different horse and, again, was

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