While theoretically I’ve been planning and prepping for our 2019 show season since January, I’m utterly terrified that the first show is less than two weeks away. I know it all went wrong the moment I made the statement that I was on track to exceed my equestrian goals for 2019. First off, I devoted far more time to cart pony training than I originally planned. Secondly, Odessa’s surgery took far longer to heal than anticipated. Third, true to Comanche form, he showed great progress during the first two months of the year only to back slide over the course of the past month. One of my blog readers suggested that I jinxed myself by giving him the name Comanche, and I’m starting to wonder if she wasn’t spot on. I feel under prepared for this entire event.
In addition to playing catch up at work from my business trip last week and all of the non-farm activities I forgot were scheduled for the weekend before the show, I still need to find the time to clip both horses (shoot me), pull manes, and get my show gear back into some semblance of organization. It’s current state is closer to deposited by tornado than Marie Kondo-esque. At some point my show clothes migrated separately into different closets, so everything must be tracked down, dry cleaned, and put back into the garment bag for stress free access during the show.
There is no activity I loath so much as clipping for shows. I am completely OCD about having neatly trimmed bridle paths. Really, I will trim them once a week even on the horses/ponies that aren’t in work. Legs, ears, and faces are the bane of my existence though. While Comanche will tolerate clippers in his ears, Odessa practically needs to be twitched, and it’s not for lack of attempted desensitization on my part. She’s fine with the sound near her ears and the feeling of the clipper vibration, but flips out when the blades actually touch ear hair. Then there are the legs. Either a horse moves mid-clip or I slip and leave a clipper mark at which point I say F#ck It! The clip job goes down hill from there, and I walk away saying “Close enough for government work!”
There were things that could not be helped in the show prep. The spring grass has not helped Odessa’s figure. She now resembles a hippo, and is probably eating more than one. She’s practically out grown her western saddle, and it’s a large saddle. Darling Husband joked that I would resemble a piss ant riding an elephant if I use her for the hunter classes in my English tack. Then, I have the tall boot situation. The zipper in my current pair has pulled away on the calf, and while it is undetectable in the saddle, it will be painfully obvious during Hunter in Hand classes. I spent two months selecting the perfect pair of semi-custom tall boots with black crocodile Spanish cuffs and Swarovski crystals which should have arrived on April 1 (I ordered them on March 3). Due to unforeseen circumstances they won’t ship until the week after the first show (May 4), and I’ll be breaking in new boots during the next two shows (walking is overrated anyway).
So at best this first show will be a field trip for Comanche with maybe a few teaser classes, and an opportunity for Odessa to show off the new lope I’ve painstakingly installed while riding bareback over the past two months. She and I are spending our last few training sessions getting used to her lope with tack. It just doesn’t have the same feel in a western saddle as it does bareback or English. The stirrups are too bulky in western saddles, and the fenders block the feeling of my calves touching her sides. I feel like I have to squeeze harder to support her in the lope, and she is a horse that requires a supportive leg.
At worst this first show will be a disaster of epic proportions. If Odessa wakes up with attitude, we can write the show off. You just never know whether you are going to get the rampaging hormonal T-rex side of her or a giant marshmallow. Comanche will most likely do the always entertaining impression of giraffe with a cocaine habit. The upside is that no matter which horse ultimately gets entered in the hunter classes on Sunday, due to the show schedule (Western on Saturday and English on Sunday), I’ll actually have the opportunity to braid. Yes, I’m a masochist and I do derive pleasure from creating thirty plus minuscule braids down a horse’s neck using yarn (rubber bands are for half-a$$ers), and then pulling them each up into little plaits all while balancing precariously on a stool with the animal in question yanking hay from a net threatening to knock me off said stool.
Hopefully the stall drapes will be here in time for the first show, and in time for me to figure out how to install them. It would be nice to have an enclosed tack stall to change in rather than just ducking down below the stall bars a little as I strip down to bra and undies for outfit and tack changes. It will also provide a nice space to corral Offspring with some trucks and snacks rather than chasing him up and down the barn aisles. Darling Husband even got me a hammock in my signature colors to hang in the stall, as if I’ll have a chance to use it with two horses to manage at this show (a girl can dream though). Maybe Offspring can use it for his nap.
In my head I know this is just an open show, I won’t be participating in all of the shows in this series, and since my only registered prospect will most likely leave his brain on our farm it’s not exactly like I’m competing to collect points for year end awards or qualifying for Worlds. We are simply competing against our last performances, giving Odessa and Comanche show mileage. I’m saying that like I’m not an equestrian, that there isn’t the tiniest hint of a competitive streak, and nothing justifies writing a big fat check for membership, entry, and stall fees like a seventy five cent ribbon. What’s the point in all of the time and money I spend on these animals if we don’t at least try to make a good showing when we enter the arena?
So in between the Rosebud Volunteer Fire Department gun bash on Saturday and Darling Husband’s family (I’ve not met the relatives in question yet) visiting on Sunday, I’ll be wrestling with two 1200 pound beasts to get the fuzz out of their ears, trying not to make their legs look like they’re healing from a lost battle with barbed wire, and reorganizing the show trunks/tack racks. The house will ultimately be a disaster for the next two weeks, but I’m only in it long enough to sleep and take a shower. I have something more important than dirty floors to worry about, living the equestrian dream! The majority of the weekend will be spent in the barn so I won’t even notice that my house is a wreck.
Right before every show I say “It doesn’t really matter how we do, I’m just going to have fun.” I really mean it this time. My goal this weekend is to just remain in a zen like state through it all. Frustration is not allowed. Hopefully I don’t live to regret transporting, setting up stalls, grooming, and managing a hippo with her coked out giraffe sidekick while Darling Husband and Offspring sleep in enjoying a leisurely weekend!