Another Op’nin’, Another Show

I love Horse Showing.

LOVE. IT.

Today, I had the pleasure of attending an Open Horse Show in St. Johns. My friend and fellow barn manager, Sara, from Sandalwood Ranch, was kind enough to let me tag along.

Sara’s shown horses all her life. I began showing as an adult. As I grew up, I rode, certainly, but always on a borrowed horse. Once Melody came into my life, I trained her with the intention of showing her as my personal horse someday.

Rain, heat, cold–none of these matter. The desire to attend a horse show outweighs any temporary discomfort I might feel. I distinctly remember my horse-crazy childhood. I used to beg someone, anyone, to let me ride their horse.

To let me enter a class in a show.

To have the chance to win an all-important ribbon–a talisman to show my love for horses. Deep down, I’m simply happy to be there. When things go wrong at a show, or life isn’t perfect, I laugh.

Today I laughed a lot.

During the Showmanship class, the judge commented about Melody’s long tail. I turned around to look–and wouldn’t you know? The top of her tail wig broke and all 3/4 of a pound of hair was falling out. I untangled the mass of hair, but the judge and I had a chuckle. I was fortunate enough to win 6th place. Fortunate, because there were only 6 horses in the class.

During the English Equitation class, Melody was performing a pattern and my foot slipped out of the stirrup. This distracted me enough that I forgot the pattern. I kept going with the pattern from my fragmented memory, keeping my foot between the stirrup and Melody’s body. I must remember next time that the bottoms of my show boots are slippery, and I should practice riding with my show boots a week before the actual horse show. I was pleasantly surprised with a 3rd-place ribbon. (I probably shouldn’t have been surprised at that point because only 3 people were in the class.)

When we performed for the judge during the English Pleasure class, the judge walked over and mentioned that Melody was swishing her tail and opening and closing her mouth. I explained that with all the ultrasounds poor Melody has been enduring, her back hurts. I knew she’d been fussy, but I didn’t know it was so obvious. Once again, we won a ribbon–4th place.

Although it sounds impressive to win 3rd, 4th, and 6th place, I won those ribbons in very small classes. Tiny classes, really. Melody was off all day. She fussed and fretted and wrung her tail. As Pat Parelli says, the judge has to give ribbons to the people who show up, and that can be the best of the worst.

Poor Melody was at her worst today. She was achy and sore, and I didn’t have any way to alleviate her pain. Therefore, we elected to end our showing today after 3 classes. (It helped that the jumping classes were cancelled due to mud.) She seemed relieved, and I knew I’d made a good choice.

One highlight of the show was seeing the sister of a Riverwalk Theatre actress. The former Riverwalk Theatre actress is currently on the road, singing and dancing with a company who will be traveling to Japan for 2 months and China for a month, performing and teaching kids. I’m so happy for her. It’s amazing to hear someone I know is also living her dream.

I live my dream every day. I can’t wait for the next horse show!

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