It’s easy to be a good sport when you really never win anything. When you know you don’t have a chance, the words “good luck” and “congratulations” come pretty easily. Whey you actually do have some success and can still say “good luck” and “congratulations” (and really, truly mean it), it often is harder.
This year’s recipient of the GSDHJA Sportsmanship Award epitomizes the meaning of the word “sportsmanship,” which is “conduct becoming to one participating in a sport.” She is the biggest cheerleader for everyone competing at our shows and her trainer says she is the most positive and forward thinking person that she has ever met.
In her own riding, and win or lose, she is always the optimist that sees every class as a learning opportunity. Everyone who knows this person knows she loves her horse to pieces. This year, she had remarkable successes, but her attitude toward her fellow competitors and her own progress has been positive and inspiring through many years of less fun results. She roots for everybody and she genuinely wants everybody to do their best, even when she’s riding against them.
This year’s sportsmanship award recipient was year-end champion in two divisions. Typical of this nominee’s constant generosity, she loaned her beloved mount to a competitor and fellow barn mate at the Championship Show, and her horse carried the rider to the top in the Equitation Challenge and the Adult Medal Final. That rider would have been on the sidelines had it not been for this kind gesture.
To see her come out of the ring with a HUGE smile on her face after a good trip is a treat for those who know her and who know how hard she has worked to put in consistent winning rounds. It’s great to see someone who has nurtured so many in their successes, in and beyond the show ring, get well-deserved ribbons and rewards of her own.
This candidate’s support for horse sports has also included Greater San Diego Hunter Jumper Association itself. When the Green Rider Medal was without a sponsor, she immediately stepped up to the plate. She also makes sure that Green Rider class is something special for the winners by providing extra prizes for the finals.
Ladies and Gentlemen, with pleasure I would like to introduce you to the Greater San Diego Hunter Jumper Association’s 2008 Sportsmanship Recipient . . .
Mrs. Cheryl “I Love Abbie” Erpelding.