This past weekend was the kickoff weekend for Poplar Place Farm. It was more than just the first show of 2018 for the long time facility. It was the first show for new owner Launa DesPortes. It was the first show without Donna & Gary Stegman having a hand in everything from registration to scoring to announcing. It was the first show with new jumps, a freshly pressure washed barn, and the first event in many years for about 50 competitors in the “Seasoned and Sexy Amoeba Challenge”. Despite some learning experiences for the staff, all of whom have taken on fresh responsibilities, it was a fun and entertaining weekend to enjoy the updated grounds of Poplar Place Farm.
While there was still very much a 185 competitor schooling show going on, with Jennifer McClure stepping up to office manager, Stacy Duncan handling/acquiring volunteers throughout the day, and Shelly Page did scoring while trying to keep everyone going in generally the same direction. A far more difficult task for a schooling show than recognized event. The real thrill for the day was the “Seasoned” crowd.
The “Seasoned and Sexy Amoeba Challenge” was the brain child of Mikki Johnasen. The premise was that a competitor had to be over 40, and not competed for 10 or more years. The Empty Nesters, whose love of horses never flew the coop, jumped on the chance to compete again against their peers instead of the under 10 crowd that usually dominates the Amoeba division. A Facebook group became dedicated to the challenge and comments, questions, and pure joy of working towards their own equestrian goals had my phone pinging, and me smiling, multiple times a day. These ladies (And men! Go Clint Irvin and Patrick Vin Zant! ) all showed us they’ve still got it.
There was an FEI Style “Formal” jog (PC Stacy Duncan)
Complete with Ground Jury and Peanut Gallery (PC Stacy Duncan)
Teams were encouraged and the riders delivered (PC Lucile Flournoy & Alex Sabren)
For some riders it was their first ever stadium course, for others it was the first in years. (PC Stacy Duncan & Jessie Rudelich)
Cross country, the most dangerous phase, was completed and enjoyed by all at their own pace (PC Betsey Flournoy)
All in all it was a wonderful day. Thank you competitors, volunteers (we can’t do this without you!) and Poplar Place Farm!