October 3, 2009
First Canadian Evaluation - Almonte
I had to wait for 23 years. The first one was held in
For the last two years Canadians and Americans worked on this project together. A joint evaluation meant Canadian and American registered horses could participate in the same evaluation. This was a great idea because it allowed a person owning both Canadian and
To drum up support for this first Canadian evaluation, I held a pre-evaluation clinic this past March. 12 Canadian Fjord owners showed up wanting to know what an evaluation was all about. I asked for a show of hands. “Who would commit to bringing horses if I hosted an evaluation in the
All 15 horses committed at that time participated in the evaluation.
To cover expenses for a two day evaluation you need at least 25 horses. We had only 15 with a total of 27 tests between them. I contacted Mike May about the possibility of a one day evaluation. Mike’s answer was “Keep expenses to a minimum and we’ll try.” It was a go.
I found a very good facility for $300. Jane O’Brien, one of our exhibitors, offered a room for Curt Pierce, our TD. Karen Cabic one of our judges, used her own car, so that meant no car rental. We also had some outside help for our other judge’s airfare. Jane O’Brien donated home-made sandwiches, snacks and beverages for the judges, TD and volunteers. Pinching pennies here and there, we were determined to make it work.
Friday was move-in and set-up day. Curt Pierce, evaluation chairman for NFHR and Dan Watanabe, President of NFHR, were on the grounds Friday afternoon. With the help from Gunnar Rogstad and Russell Brenneman, they set up the driving dressage ring, driving utility ring, and the draft ring. Cones were also set up in the main driving ring for the conformation tests. The outside riding dressage ring had been set up by the owner of the facility. Having everything ready the day before made things run smoothly.
While the rings were being set up, the exhibitors were arriving. Renee Lafleur drove nine hours from Timmins, Ontario with four home grown CFHA registered mares. Renee rode one of her mares in the intro riding test and put the other three in the conformation test.
Andrea Thiel from
Russell Brenneman from New Hamburg, Ontario drove six hours with his rescued stallion Scotty. This stallion had lived in a box stall without a window for four years, only allowed out for breeding. He was underweight and hadn’t had his feet properly cared for. Two years ago Russell acquired Scotty as a nine year old and has done so much for and with him. Russell showed Scotty in the conformation class.
Gunnar Rogstad and his two girls, Quinn Rogstad and Casey Rogstad from the Toronto area, brought two CFHA registered mares. Gunnar showed the mares in the conformation test and both girls rode the mares in the intro riding test. It was wonderful to see young people so involved.
Cheryl Beillard from
entered two CFHA mares in conformation and intro driving tests. I brought two NFHR registered mares and entered conformation, driving and draft tests.
Friday afternoon at 4pm, I gave a hands-on conformation clinic in the conformation test ring. All competitors had a chance to do the conformation test with their own horses, in exactly the same way they would be doing the test the following day.
Evaluation day began with brilliant sunshine, donuts and a hundred cup thermos of Tim Horton’s coffee donated by Cindy Duffy, this despite a weather forecast predicting driving rain.
27 classes in one day meant a tight schedule.
The day was to begin at 8:00 am with a chat between exhibitors and the judges. There was one slight problem. The judges were late. “Oh no,” I thought. “Here goes my planned schedule!” I had allowed 15 minutes per test, plus 20 minutes after each division for the judges to explain their scores to the exhibitors. Another 30 minutes was set aside for a lunch break. All the times added up to 8 ½ hours. That meant the last test should finish at 4:30 pm.
Well guess what? Mine was the last horse to do the final test of the day and I finished at exactly 4:30. By 5:30 all the rings had been cleaned and all of the exhibitors were headed home. The timing worked so well because Brian Jenson, one of our judges, asked me if we were still on schedule every time I went into a class, all 11 of them. The exhibitors really helped with our schedule too. They were always ready when their classes were called.
Barbara Neufeld, a director of the CFHA was our whipper-in, Alison Bakken, chairman of the CFHA evaluation committee was assisting our TD, Curt Pierce and Unice Bosomworth a director of the CFHA and her husband John Bosomworth were measuring horses and manning the information booth. Denise Lauzon was our official photographer.
All in all, the day went off like clockwork. Everyone went home happy, many commenting on how much they had learned from the day. And expenses came in within our limited budget! The evaluation was a complete success, and all the effort of so many people to organize, to participate, and to help out was worth it, even though I had to wait for 23 years!