We at DMF would like to thank everyone who came to Skowhegan to help us celebrate 10 years. We had record numbers of horses and riders who shared a spirit of cooperation to help us stay on schedule throughout the weekend, from the very early warm ups to always having a horse/rider on deck waiting to enter the ring, we thank all of you! We enjoyed some great Horsemanship, sportsmanship, lots of hard work, lots of learning, but perhaps most importantly a spirit of camaraderie between riders, trainers, parents and staff.
This year we offered 8 scholarships worth $2500.00, thank you to all of our donors for your generosity. Thank you to our incredible staff for working so hard to not only make this show successful but a lot of fun as well. And a big thank you to all of our sponsors, this show would not be possible without your support.
The following is from our course designer and judge Ken Whelihan who has officiated at DMF over the years and seen the growth of not only our show, but more importantly our riders. These words offer a supreme compliment to our trainers and riders:
Often times good things evolve when people ignore the sensible patterns and odds of success.
Most equine business people can identify the role location plays in running a competitive barn. Sensible people know that a pin placed on a major financial city can be the starting marker around which the equine industry revolves. Typically a circle drawn showing a ninety minute commute from this center will include the horse show worlds top barns. Another ninety minute circle includes top privately funded barns but less commercial stables. A third circle adding ninety more minutes includes mostly grass roots stables and hobby barns who are supported by a variety of supplemental incomes from outside of barn activities. You could call the inner circle the blue zone. Circle two the red zone. The third circle yellow and so on. Many yellow or white areas begin to overlap with additional financial hubs.
This model of show barns would color Maine as pink or green. Skowhegan, Maine would approach purple. No “sensible “ horseman would introduce, nurture and evolve an inspired level of year end horse show finals in such an area. It simply would not fit the pattern.
Ten years ago several Maine trainers lost their sense of logic. They started with nothing. Today they have a finals that any trainer, rider, child or adult should be proud to be a part of. A happy New England town hosts this ambitious group of defiant horse show fans. Nice stables. A well decorated covered arena with good footing and a strong jump inventory. Sound system, vip tables, tidy seating, lights in the schooling area, finals quality score board, sponsored signs, and the people. Hard working, knowledgeable, kind, early rising people.
Then, of course, there are the horses and riders. I had the pleasure of co-judging and course designing for the tenth anniversary finals. I had done this for years six and seven as well. Every finals shows visible growth. Many of these entries would be at home at a Massachusetts finals, a Connecticut finals and even the very strong New England finals. The percentage of exhibitors with well rubbed on horses and correct riding basics dramatically increased from my last view of them three years ago.
I offered questions of track, boldness, and balance of increasing difficulty over the three days. Many stepped up and scored strong 80’s. Some went home with homework and mileage. All were exposed to a finals focused on the horse, self reliance, respect for the sport, and a will to embrace their own finals to be proud of.
Well done Downeast Medal Finals.