Headaches prove to be few for young trials organizer


December 06, 1992|By MUPHEN WHITNEY

Jenny Conaway, 10, put on a horse trials competition with a little help from her family and friends last weekend.

"We had our orders and we were up early to do what Jenny said," said Jenny's father, Charlie Conaway Jr., speaking for the rest of the family: mother Barb, sister Kelly and brother Charlie III.

Ask any adult who has ever worked to organize a horse trials and they will tell you the biggest expenses, by the time the thing is over, are for antacids and headache remedies. Young Jenny didn't need them.

The only thing she needed was cooperation from Mother Nature. The event originally had been scheduled for Halloween, but rain forced its postponement. This time, the weather cooperated and all went well.

Nine of Jenny's contemporaries, many of them fellow members of the Howard County Pony Club, showed up bright and early to compete on the flat, over the cross-country course and over the stadium jumps.

All competitors received participation ribbons; there was no judging.

"The hardest part was keeping everyone going on time," Jenny said. "We had a schedule for each part of the competition."

Jenny and her pony, Ricky, led the other nine riders and their mounts around the course before the competitors tackled it solo or in pairs.

The schedule called for tacking up for the stadium portion of the competition at 10:50 a.m. Tack inspection, warm-ups and the stadium competition took place before the lunch break.

After lunch it was time to tack up for the cross country and flat portions of the competition. There was another tack inspection and Jenny scheduled time for a rest.

The event ended with a parade after the ribbons were presented.

"They had such a good time that they all went around the course again after everything was over," said Barb Conaway.

One youngster Conaway has observed on horseback since the rider was a baby is 8-year-old Sabrina Morris. The Clarksville Elementary student professes to "always have a good time" when she is riding her "putt-putt" pony Shadow. Sabrina had a hard time deciding which of Jenny's jump creations she liked best. "My favorite was . . . all of them!" she said.

The stadium jumps included ones decked out with pumpkins, cornstalks, tires and flowers. Riders on the cross-country course had to negotiate obstacles.

The competitors were very much in favor of having another trails event as soon as possible.

"We'll do it again during Christmas vacation," Jenny suggested. "All the jumps and stuff will still be here. We'll do everything the same."

One of the things that will remain the same is the list of rules that Jenny sent out to competitors before the competition. Her 15 rules would be good for us all to follow:

1. Get here as soon as possible. 2. Check in at the information booth as soon as possible. 3. Don't waste water. 4. Be at each part of the competition on time. 5. Go to the bathroom in the house.

6. Try your best. 7. Do everything on time. 8. If your horse refuses a jump four times go past it. 9. Come to the information booth in the morning. 10. Ask someone for help if needed.

11. Be a good sport. 12. Be helpful. 13. Be nice. 14. Bring snacks. 15. Appreciate all the things we did for you.

Calendar of events

Today -- Dressage clinic with Erik Herbermann, Equilibrium Horse Center, Gambrills, (301) 721-0885.

Today -- Maryland Combined Training Association Awards Banquet, Turf Valley Country Club, Friendship, Elice Shelton., (410) 360-0831.

Tuesday -- Carroll County Hay and Straw Auction, Westminster Livestock Auction Facility, noon, (410) 374-4067.

Friday -- Frederick Hay and Straw Auction, noon, (301) 473-8100.

Dec. 11-13 -- Potomac Valley Dressage Association clinics with Jean-Luc Cornille.

Dec. 11-13 -- Dressage clinics at Reddemeade Stable in Silver Spring, (301) 421-4481.

Dec. 12 -- Harford County Hay and Straw Auction, noon, (410) 836-7590.

Dec. 12-13 -- Instructors' workshop with Jo Struby, Shadowbrook Farm, Elkridge, (410) 796-4947.

Dec. 13 -- Hunter Schooling Show, Equilibrium Horse Center, Gambrills, (410) 721-0885.

Dec. 15 -- Carroll County Hay and Straw Auction, Westminster Livestock Auction Facility, noon, (410) 374-4067.

Dec. 17 -- Frederick Hay and Straw Auction, noon, (301) 473-8100.

Dec. 18 -- Clinic with David O'Connor, Maple Spring Farm, Glenwood, (410) 442-2295.

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