I love OVCTA’s Big Fall Show. It falls on the first Sunday in November, and marks the end of the show season for those of us at SFD. But that’s not why I love it.
Despite it's humble name, the BFS is a 4-ring, well-ran and well-judged schooling show. The rules for dress code, bits, etc, are enforced just like a recognized show, all the way down to the bit-check technical delegate policing warm up. It has the feel of a recognized show at a fraction of the cost. But that’s not why I love it.
The BFS is staffed with an army of friendly volunteers. They greet you with a good morning, wish you a good ride, and just make the whole show-stress thing a lot less stressful. But that’s not why I love it.
The BFS hosts the championship classes for OVCTA’s schooling series, and gives great prizes. The show committee goes out of their way to make sure each competitor’s packet has a treat for the rider and a treat for the horse. Each Dressage Seat Equitation rider gets a prize, as well as all of the team competitors. The champions get embroidered saddle pads, huge ribbons, a victory gallop and a perpetual trophy. But that’s not why I love it.
As a barn, my students have typically done quite well at the BFS. But that’s not why I love it.
The BFS is held at Ludwig’s Corner show grounds, which is close to home, so most of my students show up either to compete or be moral support for each other. A few years ago, one of my students brought wine and cheese to share. The tradition has grown, and this year the show committee let us set up a snack table for everyone to share. The adults, the kids, the parents, volunteers, and various supportive friends and family members hung out, watched, and supported each other, turning what could be a stressful year-end championship into a fun, relaxing day spent enjoying our horses.
That’s why I love the Big Fall Show.