High Point Champions

Exhibitor: Kristin Flater

- WQHA 200 Point Champion
200 Point Amateur Champion - Good Premonition - Kristen Flater

One of the first lessons of horse showing I learned was humility. After years of begging, my non-horse-loving parents finally agreed to let me go to my first horse show. I borrowed the neighbor's pregnant Appaloosa mare that hadn't been shown in more than a decade and rode her two miles down the road and across the golf course to the fairgrounds. I was so proud of the fringed saddle pad I'd borrowed and the new Wrangler shirt I'd saved my babysitting money to buy that it never occurred to me that I had no idea what I was doing. I came home that night with three 6th place ribbons from the three classes there were only six people in. Rather than getting discouraged, I worked harder, kept improving, and brought home my first blue ribbon the next year!

"Just keep going. Everybody gets better if they keep at it." -Ted Williams

After years of toiling away at our local shows, I stepped up to my first AQHA show. I spent a few years with the wrong horses, and then I found Barry (Good Premonition). I brought him home as a late 2 year old, and we haven't looked back since. He is by far the kindest, most honest horse I've ever ridden or owned. Even at his laziest, or days when he gets a little naughty, it's impossible not to realize that I was incredibly fortunate to have found him.

"It is not the size of a man but the size of his heart that matters." -Evander Holyfield

For every point, ribbon or trophy I've earned, I've made dozens of mistakes! I've forgotten patterns, broken gait and made countless rider errors. The beauty of horse showing is there's always another chance or another day.

"Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together." -Elizabeth Taylor

I'd be lying if I didn't look around at shows and experience some envy. I see people with saddles that cost more than my truck and trailer, horses that cost more than my first house, and show jackets that cost more than my annual horse budget. I realized a long time ago that my teacher salary was never going to make me rich, but it made me realize that a world filled with happiness, hopes and dreams is the richest of all.

"An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head." -Emil Zatopek

The greatest part of this crazy horse world is appreciating the amazing animals and people I've been lucky enough to meet. When someone asks me why I spend all my time and money on a horse, I don't show them my trophies, prizes or ribbons, I tell stories about the fun I have and the memories I've made.

"A trophy carries dust. Memories last forever." -Mary Lou Retton

Best of luck to everyone in 2014.