Wednesday, September 3, 2008

We're off to the Show

There is nothing like the anticipation of going to show your horse! I raced motocross once upon a time, for nearly four years, yes it was fun, but bikes just can't seem to give you that same warm and fuzzy feeling like showing your animal does.

Yep, we give baths here to horses. I once had a man here to do some tree removal, he was a big horse rancher from Montana. He looked at my cross tie posts with the mat on the ground and asked me if that was some sort of horse torture device? I had to laugh, I said why yes sir it is to some horses, that is where they get bathed. His eyes got real big and said "Bathed!?, Cain't say I ever gave a horse a bath, don't know why you would either." Well that was funny and all, but yes, we bathe horses here, right down to squeaky clean pink skin. Appaloosa horses, like Paints, either have some white or are mostly white and if you have ever tried to show a white horse, well, they just don't show well without a bath. The day before a show is busy with bathing, main and tail combing, braiding and clipping/shaving. Yep, we do that nasty unwanted hair removal too! Mostly because Judges like a well turned out horse, if you dress nice and your horse is "dressed up" nicely, Judges appreciate that!

The horses that are being shown will get stalled after their baths, tails bagged and vet wrapped and sleazies on if we are doing Halter classes. No, they do not particularly like wearing all that garb, but they tolerate it quite well!

After the horses are all taken care of and bedded for the evening, attention turns to packing the trailer. OMG, you would think we were leaving for a month! But I just hate getting to the show and not having what I need. Bandages, vet wrap, braiding kit, ice packs, leg wraps, leg boots, hoof boots, blankets, pads and oh my, yes the list goes on. I invariably will forget something, it never fails! But the more I do this, the better at it I get. The horses only care that I brought them enough feed and a bucket for water. They are pretty light travelers! Haha!

I pack my show clothing (which is another subject altogether) and then food. I try to sleep....I end up going over and over the classes I am going to enter the next day. What order were they again, how should I dress in the morning? Can we do that Western Riding Pattern class yet? Should I scratch that one? Oh, the mind just is so very busy thinking about what is coming. Yes, it is exciting to go and show. I like to groom up my animals and take them out in public, but the pressure we put on ourselves is much too intense.

Early in the morning I load up the horses I am taking. My little dog goes along too, he is a good traveler and keeps me company. I feed and pet the horses I leave behind, promising to take them too someday, 'cept for the old gal Josie, she just does not need to do this anymore! Then we pull out and head down the road. Sometimes our drive is only a few minutes and sometimes it can be half a day. But it is always the same upon arrival......find the stalls and get them out of the trailer. My horses all travel well, but if we are at our destination I want them off the trailer asap! Watered and fed, they are one less thing to worry about while entry fees are paid and paperwork is dealt with!

Taking your horse into an "unknown" arena is an experience all by itself. I try to take them in as soon as possible in their halter and lead ropes and we walk around the entire arena, getting to know the banners and gates and judges stands and whatever else might be interesting or worrisome.

Then it is saddle up and ride, practice, warm up or just mosey around. Once that is done, they are off for the evening and I can relax.

Show morning is usually a mixture of half dressed, half tacked and hurry up, your class is on in ten minutes.......aaaaaahhhhh! But we get our butts in line, on time and I am usually excited to the max then! Smile Casper, perky ears and he does it, right on cue!

We have fun, we laugh, we make mistakes and we don't always win, sometimes we don't even place, sometimes we learn from the judges what we both can do better for next time. And sometimes we go back to the stall wondering what just happened in there, we were good, we looked good, we were turned out super.......but every judge is different and we have learned to accept that. Lots of times it is all my fault, I ended at the left of a cone instead of on the right, or something stupid and idiotic like that. But we always have fun! I believe my enthusiasm rubs off on my horses......they feel it and they too are happy to perform for me!

After the first day, I am tired, the horses are just happy to stand in one place and eat. We do so many different classes, the running back and forth for tack/clothing changes wears us out! But it is a good, worn out feeling. We accomplished the task we set before ourselves and it always feels good!

Some of the shows we go to are two days and some are three, but most are only one day shows and the last night is usually spent hanging out with other horse people, eating, chatting and laughing about the days events. Sleep comes easily after a long day of riding in this that and the other. Packing up in the morning, feeding, cleaning stalls and saying good bye to folks I won't see until next year. Yep, another show behind us and another coming up. Spring and Summer is a wonderful time for Show people and their horses!

next blog..........Training, the whys and hows comes!

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