2021 ACPS Region IV Connemara Show

It was such a blessing to be there, reuniting with friends, making new friends and memories with my granddaughter Skylan, student Krista M Hughey, new Connemara enthusiast Megahn Estes, my 28 yr old homebred Foothills River Queen and leased pony, Elderglen's Iriel.

Riding Iriel, Sky placed 5th in her first-ever judged dressage test, scoring a respectable 57% in Intro B. She was eliminated in stadium because she jumped 13 jumps instead of the course of 12 (one was in the way so they went over it instead of around it:-). She was 2nd in the "pairs over the outside course", Fox division (pictured below), with riding companion Neilly Dosier, and Sky was the Connemara Outside Course Champion and recipient of a fantastic "Hands-On Pottery" mug!

Kris had a nice ride on Queen in her dressage test, but due to a pilot error, dropped to last place in that class. In Kris's good spirits, she said she should have used that test as her free-style, and laughed if off, as she should, because they both did a very nice job for each other.

On Sunday, Sky showed Iriel in-hand and was 5th in the Sport Pony class and
won the Halfbred mare class, earning a lovely Hand-On pottery plate.

She also took the ol'e girl, Queen, in the broodmare class and achieved a yellow ribbon for their efforts.

It was the first Connemara show for Sky, Kris and Meg. All of us from Foothills Farms/Piedmont Connemaras had super fun weekend and are looking forward to coming again next year!

Below are the official show results and a copy of my report of the weekend, as published in the "American Connemara" magazine, as well as several photos:

2021 ACPS Region IV Show at Foxboro Farm - September 11 and 12, 2021

What a wonderfully memorable ACPS Region IV show! Thank you to our Regional Chair, Kim Gates and Chef Martin, Bay of Plenty's Elli Niezen and Michael, Foxboro Farm venue hosts Epp and Judith Wilson, Connemara judge Maureen Loughman, silent auction coordinator Boots Plyler, treasured trophy maker Alicia Daily, tireless Treasurer Stephanie Swerdloff Fenton Hickey and EVERYONE who participated in any way!!!!!

Saturday's ridden classes:
Dressage Champion - Carla Jimmerson on Tag You're It
Dressage Reserve - Lori Johnson on Celtic Bug
Jumper Champion - Jennifer Latimer on Cedar Ponds Price George
Jumper Reserve - Carla Jimmerson and Tag You're It
Outside Course Champion - Skylan Nelson and Elderglens Iriel

Sunday's In-hand classes, with Judge, Maureen Loughman:
Halfbred Connemara Young Stock - 1. Celtic Whisper 2. Daithi O'Pondi
Connemara Sport Horse Young stock - 1. Dynamic Dolphin
Sport Pony 14.2 and under any breed - 1. Elk Creek O Connor 2. Farkleberry Frolic 3. Tully Wind 4. Cedar Pond George 5. Elderglens Iriel 6. Fargo
Sport Horse any breed - 1. Tag You're It 2. Cady O Daly Aiden 3. Celtic Bug 4. Celtic Whisper. 5. Berkley Bay 6. Century Hills Taylor Maide
Purebred Geldings - 1. Elk Creek O'Connor 2. Celtic Bug 3. Cedar Ponds Prince George
Purebred Mares - 1. Sparkleberry Frolic 2. Centurys Hill Taylor Maide 3. Foothills River Queen
Halfbred Geldings - 1. Tag You're It 2. Cady o Daly Aiden
Halfbred Connemara Mares - 1. Elderglens Iriel 2. Tully Wind
Purebred Champion - Elk Creek O Connor
Purebred Reserve - Celtic Bug
Halfbred Champion - Tag You're It
Halfbred Reserve - Cady O Daly Aiden

An account of the 2021 ACPS Region IV Show, as reported by Vanessa Morgan
What a wonderfully, memorable 2021 Region IV show! This year the show venue was Foxboro Fam in Thomson, GA. Foxboro is the hunt stables for the Belle Meade Hunt Club. I was so blessed to be there, reuniting with long-time friends and making new ones. I brought my 12 year old granddaughter, Skylan Nelson; this was her first Connemara show, which she has been looking forward to all year. Sky is one of our next generation Connemara torchbearers; she came to see all the lovely ponies, meet the Belle Meade hounds and compete her leased pony, Elderglen's Iriel. This show provided Sky the opportunity to ride a dressage test, a jumping course jumping, and most exciting of all, jump an outside course (more about that below), so essentially, do her first 3-phase. Also in our small Tennessee caravan was my one-and-only student, Krista Hughey, who many of you know from Facebook. Kris has been riding my Connemaras for a few years now and this show was her first opportunity to put faces to the many names she has conversed with about Connemaras on Facebook. Also representing Foothills Farms was new Connemara enthusiast Megahn Estes, who came for the fun of spectating, meeting more Connemaras, and grooming for Kris.

We planned to arrive early Friday afternoon, giving ourselves plenty of wiggle room, since we were hauling from Tennessee and travelling through Atlanta. Fortunately we arrived in plenty of time to settle in well before dark. As the vehicles and trailers rolled in, I peeking inside the trucks and stalls to see who I already knew and what new friends were there to meet. I certainly enjoyed the warm reunions, recalling past adventures, and catching up on life. It was fun to see Alicia Daily, formerly of Cady O'Daly Farm, pulling in on Friday. She brought her lovely Connemara cross to show, and with help from her husband, they set up a tent to display her Hand-On pottery for sale, which she also created for the highly coveted show awards. We are certainly delighted to welcome Alicia to Region 4.

Foxboro Farm offered camping hook-ups, which Sky and I, along with a handful of others, took advantage of. Once we unloaded, allowed the ponies a rest from their trailer ride and hooking up the trailer to camp, we decided to tack up and go for a hack around the grounds to see where the fun was to be had the next day. To our great pleasure, everything on the grounds was open. We were able to ride anywhere we wanted, including the jump course, dressage arena, warm-up arenas and the natural obstacles/cross-country jumps around the grounds. Owner/host, Epp Wilson, encouraged us to take advantage of the many Foxboro trails, which was very kind, but on Friday we decided to stick to the areas where the show would be, as to not overwhelm ourselves to start the weekend.

After the locals and hotel stayers left for the evening, Stable Manager, Lee Ann Carson, visited awhile, offerring her hospitality, discussing fun things like pony club, foxhunting, the Olympics, and inviting us to come back to ride and hunt at Foxboro in the future. She made us feel quite welcome, as did everyone we had encountered so far. Off to a great start.

Dressage Champion and Jumper Reserve Champion - Carla Jimmerson on Tag You're It

Saturday morning brought out the dressage riders to kick off the show. The arena was a home-style arena of nice sand, complete with some grass in the middle, which we wondered if it might distract our ponies who, inspite of their girth, think they are always starving. It didn't, but it could have been a good excuse for some of us for whom dressage is a rite of passage. The challenge for us was that it was set-up as a large (20 x 60) arena, so we had a bit of a time figuring out how far out the middle 20 meter circle should go. It was a learning opportunity; we will be better prepared next time. The Judge was wonderful to come out of her post to provide feedback to each rider after their test, which I find truly kind and immensly helpful. Sky rode Elderglen's Iriel in their first judged dressage test, Intro B. It was a super experience for both of them, earning a respectable score. Kris rode the one class she entered on Foothills River Queen, also Intro B. Theirs was a very pleasant test, but an unfortunate and funny blooper kept her out of the ribbons. You'll need to check out her facebook post to learn more about that (or message her).

Insert Picture of Dressage Reserve - Lori Johnson on Celtic Bug

After dressage, it was on to the jumper classes. The course was nicely set up in a grassy field with slightly varying terrain, perfect for a fun go'round. Show jumping is Iriel's forte and this was Sky's first try riding a full course at a show. Being the .85m pony jumper champion in FL last winter, Sky's challenge was to try to keep Iriel at a trot over the foot high jumps. Fat chance of that happening. It was actually a really great round for them, but a steering issue faced them with an extra jump between number 11 and 12, so they put in an unlucky 13th jump, causing elimination, but all 13 jumps were very nicely executed, so "well done" to Skylan. For a while, I thought that Stephanie Fenton-Hicky was going to pilot her homebred, George, around the jumper course, but her rider, Jennifer, showed up and rode 2 wonderful rounds, earning the Connemara Jumper Championship.

Owner Stephanie Fenton-Hickey warming up Jumper Champion, Cedar Ponds Price George

The final ridden classes were the "Pairs Over The Outside Course". It was wonderful and absolutely the best way to initiate Sky and Iriel in the feel of cross-country jumping. We didn't have a partner signed up to go out with Sky, but no worries. Organizer Elli very kindly paired up Skylan with an experienced lovely young lady, Neilly Dozier, which gave Sky the boost of confience she needed to go around, and ultimately earned Sky and Iriel the Outside Course Connemara Championship.

Outside Course Connemara Champion- Skylan Nelson and Elderglen's Iriel, paired with Neilly Doser (on the paint pony)

Sky had been looking forward to going out with the Belle Meade hounds after the show on Saturday. Since the hunt wasn't taking them out that afternoon, Master Epp and his wife, Judith, offered to lead us for a trail ride through hunt territory. I started out riding Queen, expecting to go for an easy walk-trot hack, and Sky started out with Iriel. However, when part of the group went down the jumping lane, Iriel thought that looked like great fun and became a handful for Sky. The solution was to swap ponies, so Sky got on Queen, and I mounted Iriel. After this, we split off into 2 groups and Judith took Sky for a wonderful ride on Queen while I joined Master Epp and the others on a lark equal to second flight. I have never jumped in the hunt field before, having only ever ridden 3rd flight, but this feisty little pony under me was having too much fun to stop her. I was glad to have a huge Percheron rump in front of me to help keep Iriel from passing the others in the group. Funny story later told to me by Judith: I had introduced myself, Sky and both our ponies to Master Epp at the beginning of our ride, pointing out that Queen was 28 years young. Judith later told me that Master Epp remarked that he had not realized that Sky and I swapped ponies; upon learning this, he said that had he known, he would not have gone so slow. Goodness! I'm glad he did not realize I was mounted on a 15-year-old pocket rocket. At 3-plus hands shorter than the horses in front of her, she was already going at a gallop. I had a blast and a huge smile plastered on my face the rest of the evening. I am so grateful to the Wilsons for their graciousness.

At just about dusk, we returned to the barn to cool-out our ponies. After tucking them away for the night, we headed on down to the main barn where the regional meeting was just concluding. I missed most of the discussion but did hear Stephanie report that our treasury is healthy. There was some discussion on how to best utilize the funds for the good of our regional ACPS members. A couple ideas included a regional youth scholarship to attend clinics or such, or possibly coming back to Foxboro for an adult camp. Both great ideas, in my opinion. Although the dinner had concluded, I was so happy to find just enough delicious lasagna left that Martin Gates had prepared for all in attendance. Our In-Hand Judge, and most recent ACPS Crestwood Service Award recipient, Maureen Loughman-Abel, joined us for fellowship and we were also treated to a very entertaining poem about the thrill and excitement of foxhunting, theatrically recited by Master Epp. The silent auction was now underway, so of course we all placed a few bids, then bid goodnight to rest up for the next day's classes.

Purebred Champion- Elk Creek O Connor

Purebred Reserve- Celtic Bug

The show on Sunday included the typical Connemara in-hand classes with the addition of an open sport pony and an open sport horse class. Judge Maureen was kind enough to explain her selection of the winners for each class.

The turnout was smaller than the most recent past years, but considering the coronavirus outbreak of 2020, it was terrific to have the show again. I have always appreciated the relaxed, fun, open and inviting, smaller shows, just like the regional shows we had decades ago.

Deb Shade, another ACPS Region IV transplant, came to meet her new regional Connemara mates, which was lovely of her, and Connemara owner Kristen Clark Sealey volunteered her photography talents to capture the beautiful ponies, so nicely turned out for their classes.

Halfbred Reserve- Cady O Daly Aiden

Purebred Mares - Farkleberry Frolic

After the classes concluded, we paid for our winning final silent auction bids and started packing up to head home. But before we loaded our ponies, a few of us who had expressed interest were treated to the most wonderful tour of the Belle Meade kennels. Judith took a truckload of us over the kennels where we watched the hounds come out for their daily exercise.

As the hounds left the kennels and headed on their trek, Judith gave us the grand tour of the wonderful kennel and all it's features as well as the club house. When the pack happily returned into the kennel, we were allowed to go inside to meet these very sweet and happy hounds. It was fascinating to learn about how the kennel operates and the hounds were so fun to watch and be around. We had so much fun. I cannot thank Judith enough for taking the time to guide us so wonderfully through the kennel and all the information about the hunt that she shared.

Also, huge thanks to our Regional Chair Kim Gates and Chef Martin Gates, for organizing the show and feeding us, Bay of Plenty's Elli and Michael Niezen for running the show on Saturday, Wilkes County Veterinary Service and Caitlin Quinn, DVM, for being on-site Saturday and a supported the show, Maureen Loughman-Able for judging the In-Hand classes on Sunday, Boots Plyler for organizing the silent auction, Alicia Daily for making our treasured trophies, tireless treasurer Stephanie Swerdloff Fenton Hickey and EVERYONE who participated in any way!!!!! And of course, many thanks to venue hosts Epp and Judith Wilson for their hospitality and wonderful facilities.
It was such a treat to be able to show with our Connemara friends again in 2021. Until next time, remember, life is short, ride your good horse first (so I'm sure that would be your Connemara pony). Blessings to you all.