It seemed like every time I turned around on Sunday, there was Lauren Wood tacking up a horse.
This was interesting to me because I knew that Lauren wasn't actually a part of the Performance Challenge.
I did a little investigating, and here's what I learned: Lauren had been working closely with multiple entrants in the Performance Challenge, helping them with tack, ideas and - most importantly - pep talks.
Allie Davidson writes, Lauren is the best and really deserved the sportsmanship award. I was not feeling well Saturday night, and was still under the weather Sunday morning. I met Lauren at breakfast and let her know that I wasn't going to be in to the show hall right away and could she please collect my Jackpot horse and put it on my table. She did more then that! I got into the show at about nine and my model was out of the box and tacked up for the first class. Lauren helped me throughout Saturday and Sunday, giving my entries another look and giving me some pointers on classes that I wasn't so familiar with.
Christie Richardson adds, Lauren is just fantastic. All the Performance Challenge showers went out of their way to help and support each other (Anne glued multiple pieces of tack back together for me), but Lauren was especially amazing. Like Allie, I hadn't been feeling well at all weekend - always remember to drink water!! - and Lauren gave me a hand when my English bridle was giving me fits. I'd swapped out the noseband because I thought it was going to be Thunder, and I couldn't remember where I'd put the original. After forty five minutes of looking, I finally found it, but my hands were shaking too much to put it on, plus I still had to set up the rest of the entry. Lauren jumped in and saved the day!
Laura Skillern also chimes in. Lauren has always quietly been my head cheerleader, she writes. While she took a bit of a break from performance to pursue custom work, she was always there to give me advice and support when I needed it. She is 100% the reason I bought my first Rio rondo set and started making tack. That wonderful scene entry of the sheep hanging off the cliff? That was her genius idea. At the Jennifer Show, I was close to putting my harness down and crying quietly at my table when she not only rescued me, but several other showers, too. She was also feeling the affects of altitude and hadn't slept the night before, and STILL she was helped us get our entries together.
Thank you, Lauren, and congratulations. You are a worthy winner of the Jennifer Show Sportsmanship Award!