getting in focus


Mini Derby: 3rd place Emily Ferrell rode Spot On, 2nd Place Joellina Stewart rode Confetti, and 1st Place Sierra Fentress rode Guess Again.

Finding the formula for success starts with a bright idea. Amy Moore and Miranda Kolbe had one together. The team at McDonogh School is no stranger to holding successful horse shows from A to Local, but this idea might be one of the best yet. The Derby and Medal Day. Riders have a chance to qualify throughout the show season, (a minimum of two ribbons won at separate shows is required to participate), and qualifying shows are both recognized (B rated) and unrecognized (Local). Classes are offered for short and long stirrup all the way up to 3’, 3’3” in the Equitation Medal classes and Derby classes. Braiding is optional, shadbellies are optional, the prizes are amazing, and the atmosphere is relaxed and fun. FUN, the focus is on fun. Did you read the last line about fun?  Is this healthy for kids and adults alike to have fun?? Could this be a sign in the shift in the way people think about horse shows? I don’t know exactly, but the uncomplicated formula created here today (that easily could be followed by any group in the country) was a pretty clear indicator that exhibitors were enjoying being treated extremely well, and the tears? I saw no tears…

The courses were stellar, offered a challenge here and there, the judging was on point,  and there is a “Preview” class offered to help acclimate the derby ponies/horses to the course. Get this – a podium was brought into the ring for the awards ceremony for EVERY class, and a victory lap was taken at the end either at the trot, or canter. Safety first, of course.


OMG look! kids actually learning their own courses before they walk up to the ingate on a horse!! What a novel idea!!

I didn’t see any grooms… Amy’s vision of getting your own pony or horse ready, learning from mistakes (without stress) and achieving a special goal works. (and really well.) Could they afford grooms? yep… Over 60 competitors competed in the inaugural year, two rings — one for the derbies, one for the medal classes and I would expect in the future, that number will increase dramatically, not that this needs to happen. It was more than enough for a full day of showing, money was made, bills were paid, and trailers were pulling out of the parking lot at 6pm. If you are living in Maryland get it on your schedule for next year right now. If you are even thinking about what a good idea this is for your part of the country? Get on board now.


The owner of Prideland (Betty McCue) braids for rider Anastasia Vialov for the mini-derby


holding two ponies for friends/barn mates during the course walk


finishing touches by trainers, not grooms..


can you just see the bike??


Is this a big deal?? I am gonna go with the yes answer..picking out the loot..


entering the ring with the podium…


The Pony Derby 3rd place – Serena Wheaton rode Hakuna Matata, 2nd place – Summerlynd Nelson rode China Hill, and 1st Place – Hannah Downs rode Curious George.


the classes offered


on course in the pony derby


sitting in the chair she just won 🙂


Abigail is giving her mommas horse Shirlaine a hug before the handy round for good luck


3rd place Serena Petronelli rode Made You Look, 2nd Place Sable Hughes rode Tattered Lace, and Winner Brittany Clapp rode Walk The Line in the 3′ McDonogh Derby.

Yes, I might have to invest in a new camera with some speed options. Do not judge. #EvolveTheHorseShowIndustry.


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