I had a busy week last week, with lots and lots of driving, but I won’t complain because at least the car was air-conditioned. Which was a very good thing, because of course, the outdoors most decidedly was not.
But the heat did not deter four Concord girls in their quest for horse knowledge dominance, as they spent four days competing at the US Pony Club Championships in Lexington, Kentucky.
As I mentioned in an, Pony Club is all about teaching kids the care and management of horses. Throughout the year, the kids compete in different rallies, some of which lead to qualifying them to go to the National Championships, held every summer either in Lexington, Virginia, or Lexington, Kentucky. Sadly for me, it is never in Lexington, Massachusetts, which would be a much easier drive.
These girls – Rachel Ehlers, Caroline Keilar, Isabella Caruso (all CCHS juniors), and Olivia Ross (CMS seventh grader) -- all competed last March in a regional Quiz Rally, where they demonstrated their horse knowledge by answering questions and identifying horse-related items set out on tables. As the top four point-getters in their respective divisions, they went on to form regional teams, which then went to Championships to compete against other teams from around the country. So while most kids are basking in the joy of summer vacations, these girls were studying and quizzing each other and listening to horse experts. And loving every minute of it.
This year’s Championships competition took place at Kentucky Horse Park, an impressive spread of horse barns, riding rings and museums. When the girls weren’t taking oral tests or demonstrating their barn knowledge, they were watching other competitors doing dressage, polocrosse, and tetrathlon, competitions that take place on horses. Dressage is fancy flat work, polocrosse is like lacrosse on horseback (and yes, it’s as much fun as it sounds), and tetrathlon requires competitors to run, swim, ride and shoot.
Other than to sleep, the girls only left the horse park twice: once to visit the big veterinary clinic Rood and Riddle, where they got to watch surgery on horses, and once to go to the Keeneland Race Track where they watched jockeys exercise thoroughbreds. It was all horses, all the time, and the girls all loved it.
And after all that grueling competition, the hours of studying paid off. Rachel and Caroline’s team came in eighth place in the Senior C division, and Rachel earned enough points individually to qualify as an alternate to go to International Championships. Olivia’s team came in fourth place in the Junior D division, and Isabella’s team took the blue ribbon in the Senior D division.
All in all, it was a successful week for four Pony Clubbers from Concord. They are already conspiring to qualify for next year’s Championships, only this time in a discipline that includes horses. I wish them luck.
Time to Sing
I have to tell you, I annoy my children constantly by singing snippets of songs all day. I never cease to be amazed by the vast quantities of lyrics just hanging around in my head, easily triggered by a phrase or comment someone makes. Really, someone can say, “West Virginia” and I immediately sing “Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River.” And even though I love to sing — in the kitchen, the car, or even walking down the street — there’s something about singing up on a stage that makes me a little lightheaded. And a little excited.
I’m sure there are more of you out there like me, and so you need to know the Concord Players are having auditions for their fall musical, "The Drowsy Chaperone," which played in Boston just a few months ago. Auditions are being held next Monday and Tuesday, August 1 and 2, from 7-10 p.m. at 51 Walden Street. You just need to prepare 32 bars of a bright, bold song and bring the sheet music with you. Then get up on that stage and sing your heart out in front of the nice casting committee — believe me, they WANT you to do well.
You do need to make an appointment in order to audition, and can do so by e-mailing DrowsyChaperone@concordplayers.org or calling (978)369-2990 and leave a message in mailbox #2. They need singers up and down the range, so don’t be shy. If you want more information, check out www.concordplayers.org and click on auditions.
And good luck!