I recently spent 5 days at Tryon International Equestrian Center, where I got to help Jackie with Hamster. I showed him in two undersaddle classes, rode him multiple times a day and was his groom for the Baby Green Hunter division. I had a blast and gained some much needed confidence. Most importantly, however, I learned a really valuable life lesson and got a first-hand reminder to never give up.

Hamster is very talented and Jackie and I knew he was something special the moment she first sat on him. The whole car ride back from Aiken, SC, where we went to see him for the first time, we strategized about how she could fit him into her program. The following day, he was in her barn. By the end of the week, we both were in love.

The first day of the Baby Green Hunters was not one of Hamster’s best days. He wasn’t listening, was grumpy and quite frankly didn’t want to work. Jackie’s first trip left us both underwhelmed and the next two left us disappointed and even mad at him. So mad in fact, that we scratched him from the undersaddle and I took him back to the stall. An hour later I remember watching the undersaddle for the division and thinking, “Hamster would have won that”. I was sort of bummed that he missed a chance for a blue ribbon at his first AA rated show, but much to our surprise, Hamster would walk away with a blue ribbon regardless. The next day, when we were back at the ring for the second day of the Baby Greens, we learned that the day before Hamster had actually WON one of his jumping rounds and grabbed ribbons in the rest. We couldn’t believe it. We had let our disappointment completely keep us from remembering why we were there in the first place: to put mileage on a 5 year old! Our own expectations and personal feelings kept us from finding the good in his trips and from acknowledging that they were still good enough to come out on top.

Needless to stay we completely changed our attitudes for Day 2. Hamster won more classes and had the most points of the all horses at the end of the division. However, because we had scratched the undersaddle class on the first day, the required amount of horses were not met in order for them to award Champion and Reserve Champion. Poor Hamster missed out on his first ever Champion ribbon and a beautiful monogrammed scrimsheet.

While the story still makes me sad, I am thankful for it. I know Hamster will have hundreds of Championships in his future. I also know that there will be plenty of show days where I feel like things aren’t going as well as they could be and learning how to regroup and move passed those mental hurdles is crucial. Life is full of mistakes and disappointments but that is how we grow and improve. It’s so important to try to find the good in everything and to be grateful for all the little successes you have. You never know what the next day may bring you. It very well could be a blue ribbon.


Andrea Wise graduated from Wake Forest University School of Law in 2007, where afterwards she spent 7 years as a commercial real-estate attorney.  In 2012, she launched the equestrian company, Pony Glam, which makes and sells the only colored hoof dressing for horses. She is also the voice behind the new equestrian lifestyle blog, Horse Glam. Andrea lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, Zach, two young children, cat and horse, Chloe.