ODPOAC, you aren’t always perfect.
You occasionally have meetings where people snap at each other, or shows with jumps that are too small (or too big), or where the footing is too hard or too deep or too rocky.
You have broke ponies and silly ponies and quite a few really good, honest, hard-working ponies.
You have old show facilities and weird show facilities and the occasional big, fancy show facility. You sometimes have really good breakfast.
Most of all, though, ODPOAC, you have people. You have a wide variety of really good, kind, hardworking people.
Those people helped me get from here:
Those people told me that I did a good job when really all I had done was improve a little. They smiled and told me to try again when I did poorly. When I was truly successful, there was no comparison to the enthusiasm of those ODPOAC people. They made me feel like a returning hero when I got back from the 2006 international with a 4th place ribbon.
I shared one of my greatest successes with three of my ODPOAC friends. There are few kids with whom I’d rather have gotten Supreme Champion awards.
More important than successes, though, were the the friends I made at ODPOAC shows (above and below!).
It was ODPOAC people who made those shows happen–ODPOAC people who made those friendships happen. They ran (and still run!) show after show, for little thanks.
I remember that at my very first POA international show (in TN in 2005), I had just had multiple refusals in my equitation over fences class, on a fairly honest pony. I knew that they were my fault and I was feeling pretty terrible about myself. I went out to the outdoor ring to jump the warm-up fence. My mare refused a couple of times and I was mad at her, mad at myself, probably crying. Neither my mom nor my trainer/second mom were out there with me. Someone else’s mom (I still don’t know who it was) set up two extra rails to make a chute to the fence and schooled me over it until my mare and I were confident we could jump it. I went in my last jumping class, open jumping, and had a really good course (with the insignificant exception of a combination that even gave the most experienced kids in the class trouble). That anonymous mom really helped me have a positive experience at my first international show and I do not think that I ever even thanked her.
There are many, many people in POA like this woman. Everyone in the ODPOAC would do what she did for a kid who was having trouble.
Never mind the imperfections. POA people, especially ODPOAC people, are some of the best people you will find. Thank you.
ODPOAC, it’s been 10 years since this kid went to her very first POA show, on the late great Innkeepers Sailor Moon, at Farmingdale in Blacksburg, and she wants to thank you, from the very bottom of her heart. You helped her grow up.
And to the rest of you, I hope you got just a little bit of a sense of what another one of my dearly beloved communities is like.