Last year was a banner year for many Howard County horsemen.
County residents garnered top honors in many events and competitions, including hunter shows, jumper shows, dressage shows, Western shows, combined training events, steeplechases, flat races, carriage-driving events, jousting tournaments, competitive and endurance trail rides, reining competitions and cutting competitions.
But now the time has come for local riders to look ahead to 1992 and to set goals for themselves and their horses.
Combined training competitor and Pony Club mom Ann Brown of Glenwood says, with a laugh, that she has made a resolution to "stop being such a wuss."
"But seriously," Brown continues, her grin growing, "I just want to become one spiritual unit with my horse. I want to take energy from the universe and return it well-used."
Brown's 12-year-old twin daughters Leathy and Megan take a somewhat more practical view of their 1992 resolutions.
"I want to teach our new pony Destiny to be a slow and easy pony so that Leathy will have fun riding her," says Megan ofthe family's new acquisition, the buckskin Anglo-Arab mare, Must Be Destiny.
"And I want to get to the point where I can take Dipper into a jumping show," Leathy says of the family's long-time little pony mare who competes under the name of Honey, I Shrunk the Horse.
Another mother-daughter team, Ann and Jacqueline Andrews of Glenelg, engage in different sports with their horses, so they have slightly different resolutions.
"I resolve to lose weight, exercise more, exercise my horse more, and compete more with my horse," says Ann Andrews, who does competitive trail riding with her 10-year-old gray Arab gelding, Flick.
Jacqueline is the dressage rider in the family, andher goal for 1992 is to compete at First Level (which comes after Novice and Training levels, so it's more advanced and harder than it sounds.)
"In order to do well at First Level, I have to resolve to do lots of work on transitions," says Jacqueline, a 17-year-old Glenelg High School student who rides the 8-year-old gray Thoroughbred mare, Wave of the Future.
Bobbin Kreider of Dayton is another dressagerider who has set a goal of competing at First Level this year, but she also has a more fundamental resolution.
"My husband says I have to resolve to worry 10 percent less about my horses," she says witha laugh. "I worry about them 24 hours a day, and they are right hereat home with me. Can you imagine what I would be like if I boarded them out? I'd get kicked out of any boarding barn!"
Kreider has taken one of her father's former timber-racing horses, the 6-year-old Gratitude, and converted him into a useful dressage prospect.
"He was really wired and ready to go to the races when we went to our firstdressage show this year, but then he settled right down in the ring," Kreider says of the 16.2-hand chestnut.
Howard Pony Club District Commissioner Sharon Brown of Daisy has a personal resolution as well as resolutions for the 60 Pony Clubbers in the county.
"For myself, I'd like to train my daughter's pony to drive (pull a cart)," Brown says. "First I think I'll borrow a harness and a cart just to makesure that Jay likes it."
Jay is a 12.2-hand, gray Welsh pony who belongs to Brown's 7-year-old daughter, Valerie.
Brown would like to see all the Pony Clubbers resolve to compete in at least one combined training event this year. She also has a resolution for them thatwill require some hard work off their ponies.
"The Pony Club national competition will be held in Lexington, Ky., year and it's going to require a lot of fund raising for everyone to be able to go, so I'd like to see everyone resolve to work really hard to get there this year."
But most of all, Brown wants each Pony Clubber to resolve to "just go out with their horses and ponies and have a lot of fun."
That sounds like a resolution that we can all take to heart.