Expect the Unexpected at National Level Competition
by Sally Sutherland
WRHA member Sally Sutherland shares her experience and insight in preparing for national level competition. Sally recently competed in the AQHA Select World Show where she was Top 10 in Amateur Select Reining and a finalist in Amateur Select Ranch Pleasure under the guidance of Cory Hutchings. Sally previously represented WRHA in the NRHA Regional Affiliate Finals, winning both the rookie and non pro divisions under the guidance of Darren Stancik.
Preparation is important when deciding to go to a major show: qualifying, membership, show schedules, time off work, etc. In AQHA, starting on the points early is key as going to a show and finding that there aren’t enough horses to get more than a half point under each judge is very expensive and frustrating. I did not start until February and ended up trying to get the last one and a half points on Memorial Day with qualifying ending on June 1st. I programmed the layovers into my navigation and made sure I had my atlas, too. I checked my socket set was still in, loaded my three spare tires, found the duct tape and added more tools.
Now, to prepare for the trip home with my friend CJ. Remember all those tools I loaded? Somewhere between Idaho and Mars we hear a really loud bang and pull over. Tires are all good, but when I lift the hood the hose has come off the turbo: 9/16th wrench won’t fit, 5/8th wrench won’t fit. Post is too long for a socket and the stupid thing is a 7/16th! Fortunately, I’ve got cell service and a US Rider membership. The nice gentleman tells me the two mechanics on duty in Idaho Falls can’t come for 3 hours, but the tow truck driver in Ammon can come in 30 minutes and bring a 7/16th wrench. We sit back and wait for help while watching a wonderful thunder and lightning storm and dining on sandwiches. So, despite tons of preparation and trying to cover all the bases the trip home depended on one small 7/16th wrench! For club information visit wrha.net and on Facebook.
Originally Published November 2014