Well hello friends! I will continue telling you of my experience running for the title of Miss Rodeo Barrhead. After the Public Speaking portion of the competition came Horsemanship, which was held on the same day as the Modeling competition. The combination of the two made for a busy and stressful day.
For horsemanship we were to be judged on multiple components of the competition such as: tacking our horses, riding a basic reining pattern, a presentation ride, and a flag ride. I have never before or since been judged on my riding and horsemanship and I found that part of the competition to be nerve wracking. I was also faced with rules that I was unaware of until the competition, such in showing proper attire is typically dark blue or black jeans, though I chose to wear white (oops!). I also had bell boots on my horse and rode my 11-year old mare two handed in a snaffle. I have since learned that when showing, it is appropriate to use two hands only with a snaffle bit on a horse five years old or younger and after that you are required to ride one handed with a shank bit. Unfortunately, as often happens when dealing with horses, all of my preparation and training was not enough. My mare picking up on my nerves was fidgeting in between our spins and didn’t immediately pick up her right lead on our large fast circle to the right. Some of my judges comments (which I did not receive until after crowning) were that I needed to have softer contact, relax my shoulders, and not to pet my horse. I remember feeling the combination of our nerves and trying to soothe her with a quick pat on the shoulder as we settled for our next spin. Overall I was extremely disappointed with our performance, though now I can look back and use it constructively. It was an excellent learning experience for me. As I progress in my Rodeo Queen career I have a better understanding of what is expected and how I can prepare and improve for next time.
After a quick break to tidy our appearances and change into our formal attire, we began welcoming people into the hall where we would serve supper and put on the fashion show. I hastily shook loose my hair from the bun it had been held in for Horsemanship and reshaped my curls before replacing my cowboy hat. I don’t think I’ve ever had a worse hair day. As contestants it was our duty to greet the guest and help to prepare their tables. After socializing and introductions we began to prepare ourselves for the embarrassing display that was to take place in the form of a fashion show. Brenda Fitzgerald and Alanna Dennison sponsored our looks for the Fashion Show, Brenda providing us with custom shirts that we each designed and Alanna with some of her beautiful custom jewellery. After crowning we were gifted with a custom piece from each of their one-of-a-kind collections. Thank you again to both of them for their generosity. We each modeled three different outfits. We were to walk down the runway and do a pose and half spin at the end before returning to the change rooms. We were judged on our proper footwork and grace and poise. I am not the most graceful person to begin with so once you put me in strange clothes and ask me to walk a straight line while smiling in front of a group of people, you soon see how apt I am to trip and fall on my face! I never did actually fall though I giggled nervously the first two laps and even conversed with the crowd; big mistake! When I received my judges sheets the comments were unanimous about my footwork, pose and smile; smile looks forced, feet are confused, arms too stiff and do not actually grab your butt when posing (for training purposes only)! Again I did nowhere near as well as I had hoped but I took some small pride in the fact that I didn’t fall. I have resolved to continue practicing for the next competition and I’m sure my friends and family will be a more than receptive crowd!
I ended up winning the ticket sales and written exam portions of the competition and was crowned Miss Rodeo Barrhead Princess, a title I will be proudly owning until the Barrhead Rodeo in August of 2012. I plan on keeping you in the loop on the events and functions I get to attend and hope you enjoy the journey as much as I have and will. As I was insistently reminded, if your cowboy hat falls off, your head better be in it! Live your life the way you ride, with grace, poise, confidence and style!