I saw a clever line somewhere about horse shows: Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it rains.
There are seven stages of grief, whether it's incredible loss, or something much more mundane. First there's shock and denial. That was the not-knowing-what-to-say, the silence as I came out of the ring on Sunday. What the heck was that? What just happened?
If you've been following the shenanigans on Facebook, you know that earlier this week, I put on my show boots to discover that, thanks to my new exercise regime (P-90X, which I LOVE), my calves have gotten a wee bit bigger. Which means that my boots do not fit. At all. Three days before the show.
It's been a rough week.
Step 1: Go to local tack shop and buy everything dedicated to making boots bigger and easier to get on/off: Fiebing's Boot Stretch, Fiebing's Boot Spray, boot stretcher gizmos.
Ever seen the Christopher Guest mockumentary "Best In Show?" It's a hilarious film that everyone should watch. But I particularly prescribe it to people who don't know much about the horse business, because if you were to switch terriers for Trakehners, hounds for Hanoverians, you'd get a pretty smashing look at all of the caricatures present in our weird little world.
As I've just returned from my team's third horse show in practically a row (oof), I've had a lot of time to dwell on what makes horse shows great, the details that separate the wonderful shows from the chaff. And while the Wellington shows are great productions and make our little Morven Park affairs seem quaint, the big shows aren't necessarily the most memorable. It comes down to some small points that make a competition wonderful, and worth coming back to.
It's almost 6 a.m. on a gorgeous Thursday morning, and I'm sitting here in my PJs with my morning orange juice, answering emails and looking at all the horses out in their fields. No, I don't make my girls get up at some ghastly hour to turn horses out. They've been out all night, each and every one, even Ella and Midge.
Anyone familiar with Chaos Theory? I was a Liberal Arts major, so my stupendously basic understanding of it is this: When you step back and look at all the things going on, you can start to see patterns, even beauty, in utter mayhem. This horse show weekend, though certainly filled with its share of mayhem, was also rather beautiful.
1. As soon as ride times are out—all 41 of them—make a list of all your students' times, what tests they're riding, and in what rings. Make several copies of this—one for the tack room, one for your working student, one for your pocket, and one for your pocket after you misplace the first one.
Since my weekends tend to be dominated by horse shows, clinics and other general pandemonium, people tend not to schedule lessons with me on the few weekends I'm actually around—I guess my peeps are used to my absence. And it's nice to have a quiet weekend, especially on weekends when there's terrific live coverage of some little local horse show like the Rolex Kentucky CCI****.
Ella hasn't had a day off since the middle of last week, what with our trip to Michael's, and since it's going to be rainy and foul over the weekend I decided to let her take today. So she went out first thing in the morning, about 6:45, in one of our nice big paddocks to the right of my indoor, where I can keep an eye on her. I got on Fender about the same time, working him out in our front fields (he was great), and then did the same with Midge (he was great too), before starting teaching at about 8:30.