I don't show any more, but at one time I was a regular in the show ring. While I did have a goal, promoting the versatility of my breed of choice and earning Versatility Certificates, I never was a truly serious competitor. I just wanted to have fun. Plus, I know from my life experiences, if I took myself or my showing too seriously, the Universe would take her revenge!
My first show I was too broke to buy a morning coat to show in, so the night before the show I was up until 3 am sewing a skirt suit into a morning coat. it worked so well I had people asking me where I got it. This was the same show where I borrowed a western saddle for the western classes. The saddle didn't fit well, and my horse wasn't happy. (yes, it was Shadow) In the 3 gait class, when the judge called for a canter, Shadow bucked all the way around the ring. on the reverse, she did it again. Of course I didn't pin, and in the line up the Judge told me with a grin that he couldn't place me in the class, but he would give me an 85 on the ride. I loved that judge, he was sensible, fair, and funny.
I have shown at fairground with ground bees and the ring plowed like a field with huge dirt clods. (Anne Arundel fairgrounds) I've shown at the Howard County fair, which always seems to fall on the hottest most humid day of the year. One year a friends horse coliced and impacted. As we waited for the vet, she suddenly got a brilliant idea, loaded him in her trailer. He immediately pooped, and colic was over. Made perfect sense once we thought about it.
I have shown up at a competitive trail ride without a bridle for my horse. Yes, I know, brilliant. Fortunately it was the mighty pony Iceman I was riding, and I said what the heck and jumped on him with a halter and two leadlines. We got third.
The most fun was the larger shows, where we trailered up the day before, stalled the horses and stayed there for the weekend. Lexington, VA is a favorite. We rented an extra stall, and camped in the barn. They had hot showers, and food, and Domino's Pizza delivered to the barns. We rode our horses bareback in the dark around the rings, stopped by all the other barns to chat, and stayed up most of the night talking and eating pizza. It was great fun.
Lexington is also where I got a blue ribbon in western reining because according to the judge, we were the only ones who got the pattern right. Who knew all those years of having to memorize a jumping course in 5 min. would come in handy!
Remember as you show to think about your partner. You horse doesn't understand about ribbons, they only do this to please you so make sure you keep the show fun for them. Bring them hay, water, flyspray, and some treats. Don't tack them up at 8am and sit on their back all day, give them a break to graze, take them for a walk. At a show is where I have found out the most interesting things about my horses. They will eat ice, drink out of a cup, drink Mt Dew right out of a bottle, eat pretzels, and are very patient while little kids pet their nose of sit on their backs. If shows stay fun and interesting for your horse, they will do better.
Everyone have fun out there this summer!
James Kofford at Dressage at Devon
1 week ago