Friday, April 28, 2017

Crying in Public

The 2017 show season has officially commenced, but I wanted to share a little bit about our 2016 successes.

We had a good year within our state association and ended the year as the Reserve Champion Novice Amateur All-Around.  For those non-horse people out there, this basically means that we didn't suck too bad!  :)


To finish up the 2016 season, we loaded up to compete at the American Paint Horse Association World Show in Fort Worth, Texas.  Yes, Texas.  For inquiring minds, that's a 15 hour drive with a truck and trailer, four people and Horse Show Haddie.  It was a LOOONGG trip, but so worth it!

Quick recap:  We left Thursday night.  Hauled through the night.  Pulled into Fort Worth at lunch time Friday.  Settled in and rode.  Ate amazing Mexican food.  Slept.  Rode Saturday morning.  Eat some steak.  Practiced Showmanship.  Washed, banded and prepped for our class.  Practiced again.  Slept.  Woke up at the butt crack of dawn.  Showed Sunday.  Made the Finals!!  Placed SEVENTH at the World Show!  Took pictures.  Loaded up and were leaving at 11:30am Sunday.  

Quick trip, eh?  But it was so worth it!!


While we were in Ft. Worth I'd met a reporter for the APHA Journal and she mentioned that our 'story' might be in the World Show issue of the magazine.  I eagerly waited for the issue to hit the western store in town!  

  video

As I flipped through the issue that water works really started...



Last season was pretty remarkable, but I've set some big goals for this year too!  I made the decision to 'level up' my riding and show full time with a the trainer that helped me prepare for the World Show.  She is really helping my riding and I'm already noticing a difference in just two shows.  It's a long season and I'm very excited to see just what Louie and I can accomplish together this year!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

That Time I Wore a Speaker Ribbon on My Conference Badge



The 2017 American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) annual convention was marked by the word ‘UNITE’.  In an opening statement by AFBF President, Zippy Duvall, he said “Our annual convention is about uniting members from across the country to celebrate the importance of agriculture to every American’s life…”  



In my work as an agricultural literacy coordinator I know this to be true.  As a way to broaden the impact we can make through our agricultural literacy efforts locally I worked with a colleague to create a 4-H Ag in the Classroom (AITC) Teen Teacher program.  Our 4-H AITC Teen Teacher program has more than 30 FFA members from four schools that create and teach lessons focused around agriculture and the environment at six After-School programs.  Our teens have worked to generate more than 15 lessons that are fun, hands-on and engaging for youth, while educating these soon-to-be consumers about the importance of agriculture and the care that farmers take to grown the food needed to feed the world.   

I won't lie, we had big expectations for this collaboration!  We wanted to impact and teach youth about agriculture, but we hoped to inspire teenagers to advocate for agriculture too.  Through their volunteering our Teen Teachers gained important skills like teamwork, responsibility, patience, public speaking while also exploring a possible career in agricultural communication and education!

Our passion for agricultural education was nationally recognized when our Teen Teacher program was selected to present at the AFBF annual convention in Phoenix this past January.  I was honored (and a little nervous) to share with a standing room only audience about how others could replicate our program!  I'm hopeful that those in attendance were energized to recruit teens to create their own Teen Teacher groups to deliver lessons about agricultural commodities and the care taken to preserve important natural resources.  



AFBF President, Zippy Duvall, went on to say at the convention in Phoenix that, “we want the public to understand that we (farmers and ranchers) share their values of safe and healthy food and a healthy environment.”  Our Teen Teacher program strongly believes everyone from kindergarteners to consumers should know that their food is responsibly grown and cared for by farmers as it comes from the farm to their tables.  

My trip to Phoenix wasn't all just sweating over a presentation and work either!  I had an opportunity to get out of the city and see some of the beautiful terrain the Southwest has to offer.  The purple cactus' were my favorite.  Obviously.


I also had the opportunity to connect with some other agvocates like Marji from FarmHer and JPLovesCotton


Next year's AFBF annual convention is in Nashville and I've already downloaded the Speaker Proposal.  I guess you could say I've gotten the bug!  That and I know my Kimes Ranch Jeans, Aaron Watson shirt and turquoise jewelry would fit just as well in Tennessee as it did in Arizona...