2014 Region 1 Championships
On October 25, 2014 I competed in the Amercian Vaulting Association's Regional Championships at Mojave Crossing. We arrived the day before expecting to get some practice time in and familiarize ourselves with the arena, but as I was about thirty minutes away from the hotel I received a text message from one of my teammates saying we had no horses. I thought it was a joke, but I soon found out he wasn't kidding. Our coaches tried to leave the day before, multiple times, but their truck towing the horses broke down multiple times. We had to find horses to borrow for our entire team. The other teams were great and we were able to find a few horses to borrow, but most of them were unsure how their horses would react to my wheelchair. Thankfully, Technique Equestrian Vaulting Club (http://www.techniquevaulting.org/index.html) from Utah stepped up and let me use their wonderful Chawnee.
When I arrived at the arena Saturday morning, I was introduced to the judge for the competition. I was the first person to compete in a wheelchair and the American Vaulting Association had changed the rules so we could stop the horse and I could mount him. Normally, you have to mount the horse at either the walk, trot, or canter. I was also judged against all my able bodied peers. As I found out after the competition, Craig, the judge, had not expected much from me, but was extremely impressed with what I was able to accomplish and looks forward to seeing me in future competitions.
I competed in 5 classes at the competition: compulsories and freestyle on the barrel and on the horse, and pas de deux (doubles) on the barrel. I took first place in two classes, second place in two classes, and third in the last class. I'm very proud of myself, and even more so since I know if I had been with the horse I'm used to it I most likely would have done even better since Chawnee had very different movements than Waldmeister who I usually work with. Over all it was an awesome experience. Everyone in the equestrian vaulting community is so supportive of one another. Even though we are all there competing against one another, everyone cheers one another on. After you finish your routine, you have people from other clubs congratulating you and telling you how well you did.
I'm grateful that I had the chance to participate in this competition and can't wait until the next one!