Everyone who has won rosettes, has a story to tell about a special one, whether it’s the first rosette you won, or one which brings back special memories. Here are a few:
My first show was many years ago in the 60's. It was the Weston-super-Mare Horse Show and was held on the Beach Lawns, on the sea front. Hard to believe these days! There was 'big' show jumping and all kinds of events. I didnt own a pony then at about the age of about 11, and I had practised for weeks at gymkhana with my friends at the local riding school, on an old grey pony called Smokey. The great day arrived, but the rain was pouring down. We duly hacked the few miles to the show (you hacked to all shows in those days) and waited for the gymkhana to start. There were dozens of horses and ponies in each class, including the big, rough boys on their super fast ponies who toured the show scooping up all the prizes. You had to get through at least a heat and a semi-final to be in with a chance of winning a coveted rosette. The practice had paid off because Smokey and I ended up with not one but four rosettes - a 1st, 2nd, 3rd and a 5th. The 1st was for the mug race I think. Deliriously happy but soaking wet, I put the rosettes in my pocket and hacked home. Imagine my horror when I pulled them out of my pocket when I got home to find them dripping wet and all the colours had run onto each other. Rosettes were made of corded ribbon then and were not colourfast like today's. I carefully pulled them apart, dried them and pinned them to my bedroom wall. These stained and multi-coloured rosettes formed the start of a very large collection.
I remember winning my first 1st rosette. I thought I was doing the lead rein class but just as I entered the ring the lead rein was unclipped and we were shoved into the ring (thanks Mum). This was when I was about 7 or 8 by the way, not just last week. It was the 'Best Rider' class and the naughty little pony I was riding tried to bolt out of the ring, I managed to stop the little blighter and therefore won the class! It was a little pink and red 1 tier rosette. Nobody forgets their first win!
I vividly remember winning my first rosette. I was 8 years old, and I had been having riding lessons at the local riding school for about a year, when I got the chance to take part in a four day camp during the summer holidays (it wasnt really a 'camp' as such as we only lived about two miles from the riding school!) The camp involved many riding activities and lessons in stable management and horsecare. We were allocated a pony for the duration, and I was paired with 'Tawny', a very laid back Exmoor Pony. The culmination of the four days was to be a kind of handy pony competition, to demonstrate everything we had learned during the four days. Although I loved riding and caring for ponies, the thought of a competition, and more importantly the thought of winning a rosette was thrilling. I had seen plenty of photographs of rosette covered children and ponies in magazines, and I longed to be one of them. At this point it was just a pip dream, as I didnt even own my own pony.
On the day of the competition, I was highly excited. I had already spotted the box of rosettes at the side of the arena, the multi-coloured tails wafting in the breeze and I was determined to win one! I was drawn to go last, and a judge marked each element of the course, so I knew Tawny and I had to impress. I watched each competitor avidly. Bending through some cones, taking a potato from an oil drum and droppit into a bucket, a couple of small jumps, halting between 2 poles, and finally getting off and leading the pony to the gate. Nothing too difficult, but I had noticed that not one of the competitors had run up their stirrups or taken the reins over the pony's head to lead it. We had learned the importance of this during the camp tuition. I knew this would give me the edge, especially as I was drawn last to go, and no one could copy me! Finally after what seemed like an eternity , it was my go. I concentrated so hard, as I had that rosette in my sights. We completed the course well, and a collective groan came from the ringside as I ran up Tawny's stirrups and took her reins over her head to lead her. The other children had all reaslised their mistake
We won the competition, and I got to choose my very own rosette. For reasons I cannot explain, I chose a brown one. (I think because Tawny was brown and it matched her coat!) That one tiered, brown corduroy rosette is the reason I now have several native ponies and a horsebox, instead of a big house and an expensive car! It gave me a taste of competition, and a sense of what can be achieved if you work hard enough. A rosette is so much more than a piece of coloured ribbon, it is a symbol of hard work, sacrifice and dedication. Since that day I have won many more rosettes at many different shows, but each time I am presented with a rosette, I am reminded of that little girl, who won her first rosette by remembering to run up her stirrups.
Suzanne (age 35 and a half)
My most memorable rosette was with my New Forest pony, Forrest (aka Moorcorner Minstrel II). Forrest's journey started when he was bought at the New Forest sales as a foal for 14 guineas. Sadly he was destined for the slaughter house, but fortunately he was rescued by one of our friends. Later, when our old connemara passed away and I had nothing to ride, my mum heard that this New Forest pony was for sale and that he might be big enough for me to ride, and more importantly he was cheap! (He cost less than his saddle!) We went to see him and I must admit that I wasnt that impressed by the awkward 2 year old we found, though mum liked him and said that there was just something about the way he moved across the field. We bought him as I needed something to focus on after the loss of our old boy. I have never looked back since.
He was the easiest pony to break in and I literally just got on and rode him, whatever I asked him to do he would do without question and we had brilliant fun doing cross country showjumping, all as a four year old. He also began to grow into his frame and started to do well in the showring, winning many rosettes and proving himself to be a great showman with manners to burn. As they say, the rest is history and over the years we went on to win 9 championships at the New Forest breed show, win the intermediate NPS final and qualify for Horse of the year show to name but a few. At the age of 10 when we had been together for 8 years, he won us the ultimate prize, winning his Olympia section at the Royal Windsor Horse Show with an audience that included the Queen. It was one of the proudest moments of my life being presented with a rosette by a red jacketed Coldstream Guard, with all my family to support me and riding my horse of a lifetime.
This is my most treasured rosette.
Having taken part in several 'Online Horse Shows' I decided that it might be fun to try and run my own. As one of the fundemental ideas behind this type of show is to have large rosettes, I set about the challenge of finding some suitable rosettes from a reliable supplier. Following a search on Google, I telephoned Janet at Champions Choice Rosettes and we discussed how online shows run and how it all works, and Janet said she would be pleased to supply the rosettes for my shows. Janet was really great with her help and suggestions for frill type, centre printing and colour schemes (this being vital as I am colour blind!), and the first 'batch' were sent to me. I was delighted with the quality, colours and speed that my order was dealt with. All of these rosettes are currently being competed for. There are going to be some very happy winners.
My first rosette was back in the early '80s, in a riding school show, in the trotting race. It was a white "special" we came last, but In was still proud to have that rosette on my wall. My first 1st came in a riding school show, in the jumping on 3rd June 1983, the day the showjumper Caroline Bradley died. That was a bitter sweet day These days I compete dogs in affiliated agility and obedience and *every* rosette is so special.
If any readers would like to have their stories published on this page please email it to me HERE and I will be pleased to add it to this section. Please state if you would like your name at the bottom to appear as First Name, Nickname, or your full name.