Adult Amateurs Bring the Fun Back to Showing With a Special Award

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BY MELISSA IOZZO

It’s 4:45 AM. Any other day of the week, this hour would be absolute torture (trust me, I get up for work at 4:30 every day!) – but not today. Because it doesn’t matter when the alarm rings on horse show day.

Somehow the stars have aligned. You’ve managed to escape to your car without waking the kids. Hubby agreed to babysit. You’ve been wearing your breeches twenty minutes already, and they are still clean (we know this won’t last, but it’s fine…). Everything got packed the night before. You actually managed to sleep a bit, didn’t burn the morning coffee, and upon arrival at the barn your horse is magically still braided and clean enough!  

It’s going to be a great day.

Granted not everything always runs so smoothly on the way to the show, but we are adult ammy’s—if we can do anything, we can make “fake it ‘till we make it” work! Sometimes that’s just what we have to do. Even when the stars align and we manage to mount our steeds not only on time for our class but also with a pretty dang decent hair net job with our boots on the right feet, we still manage to chip the first fence. Or we miss a lead change and end up out of the ribbons after weeks and months of practice and hard work.

Now don’t get me wrong, horse showing should never be all about the ribbons. We are all getting out there for different reasons, whether it be to qualify for something or beat our personal best score or just to get a greenie off property. But, sometimes, when you have been saving for what seems like an exceptional amount of time to be able to afford to finally go to a show, not to mention getting the time to actually get a day to yourself, that dang 12 cent ribbon at the end of the day sure would make things a bit brighter.  

That’s why AREA 1 is kicking off a secret “Phantom Gourmet” style award for our fellow Adult Ammys. The idea came to a friend and myself during the depths of the “Covid funk” as I refer to it. I was on involuntary hiatus from riding due to the shut down and my evenings may have been a little more wine and Netflix focused than I would like to admit (hey, we all went through it right?). We were missing our horses. Missing normalcy. Missing shows. We weren’t sure what was going to happen,  but one thing was for certain—when our local AREA 1 schooling shows started back up, we were bringing the fun back. 

The idea was simple—have a small crew already either participating in or volunteering at our local AREA 1 events be “secret shoppers” in a sense to give an extra end of the day award to someone who really deserved it. Fell off in your class?  No worries. You still showed up in your polished boots and swarovski crystal encrusted belt and looked great even in the dirt, so you are getting our award. You will never know which shows we will be at, or how many awards will be distributed. So look your best, and slap on that smile (even if you got a little dirt on your bum). As long as we can tell you are having fun (which is what horse showing is all about after all) you are definitely a contender.


Melissa Iozzo is an Environmental Engineer for the US ARMY who has been riding since girl scouts got her hooked at age 11. She has a 21 year old #Foreverhose, Shy, who Iozzo currently shows in open pleasure  shows and some dressage shows now that she is retired from jumping. She can’t imagine her life without horses in it every day!