(image from https://www.facebook.com/horseshow/)
This year from October 25 – 30, horses take over the nation’s capital for the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) at the Verizon Center in downtown DC!
I am honored to serve on the WIHS Junior Committee again this year. The committee has lots of fun youth activities planned for Barn Night on Thursday, October 27, and Kids’ Day on Saturday, October 29.
Last year, more than 40 groups registered for Barn Night, and competition was fierce in the Largest Group, Group Spirit, Banner, and Video categories. Many Maryland barns were represented and won awards in these categories!
Kids’ Day is an awesome day to go to the show. There is face painting, pony rides, horse grooming and lots of other fun activities for kids to have a great time. And of course like every other day there are exciting events to watch in the ring.
This year, I’ll be watching the incredibly talented Nikki Prokopchak on her beautiful horse Sophia Car compete in the Low Junior/AO Jumpers 1.30m. Nikki is my friend and mentor at Dream Catcher Farm in Adamstown, Maryland, where we both train with Melinda Cohen.
Nikki Prokopchak on Sophia Car at WIHS 2014
(photo courtesy of Nikki Prokopchak)
I met Nikki a few years ago when she was in high school and I was in middle school. Nikki’s courage and talent amazed me then, and she still amazes me. Now a college student, Nikki continues to inspire me about my future. I asked Nikki about her WIHS experiences, and she had this to share:
Holden: What is your favorite WIHS memory?
Nikki: My favorite memory from WIHS was my second place finish in the Low Junior/AO Jumpers in 2014 with Sofia Car. I was one of only two riders to go double clean! Everything came together that weekend, and it was incredible.
(You can see Nikki and Sofia Car’s first round )
Holden: What advice do you have for young riders wanting to compete like you at WIHS?
Nikki: My advice is to prioritize riding. It has to be just as serious of a priority as school is to fully benefit from all of the training and hard work. This means that riding has to come first on your list of things, other than class. And the only part of winning that you can really control is how much work you put into preparing yourself and your horse for that show, which is why it is so important to keep not only your horse in top form and shape, but your mental riding skills sharp, too.
Join me in wishing Nikki and Sophia Car a great trip around the ring in Verizon Center at this year’s WIHS! And make plans to attend this year’s show to see world-class riders like Nikki, enjoy entertainment, and take part in special events (full schedule and tickets available here). Any day you go to the show you’re sure to have a great time!
ABOUT OUR BLOGGER:
My name is Holden Rafey, and I am honored to be serving as the Maryland Horse Council’s Youth Correspondent. As the MHC Youth Correspondent, I will be posting monthly to this blog about horse-related topics in the state of Maryland to give a youth perspective and share information on topics of interest to MHC youth members. I live in Montgomery County and attend Walter Johnson High School, where I play softball and field hockey. My equestrian trainer is Melinda Cohen, and I ride at her barn, Dream Catcher Farm, in Frederick County. In addition to being the Youth Correspondent for the MHC, I am also serving a second term on the Washington International Horse Show Junior Committee and look forward to seeing lots of Maryland barns represented at Barn Night!