Saturday, August 24, 2013

Showing for fun

By Gayle Carline
Author and Horse Owner

Before I tell you about our recent horse show, I'm having a special - FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH: ONE LUCKY MEMOIR is only 99 cents this weekend only! Such a deal!

Snoopy and I went to our last show of the season last weekend. It was the Pink Show held in Burbank, California at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. The Pink Show honors competitors who have survived cancer and remembers those who did not. Much fundraising is done for the City of Hope.

How was the show? First of all, it was hot. As in, dress rehearsal for Hell. It might have only been in the high 90s, but I felt like a hamster in a microwave. When you added long sleeves, suede chaps on top of jeans, and a felt hat, standing out in an uncovered arena in full sun turned us all into sweat puddles.

Black horse + Hot sun = Misery!

Snoopy was, well, Snoopy. He was happy to be at the show. Perhaps a little too happy. His body was too hot to be perky, but his brain was on Red Bull. Everything was something new to look at. Every horse was someone to whinny to.

For my part, I rode well, by following two rules:
1. I rode every obstacle (instead of defaulting to autopilot and letting Snoopy decide what to do).
2. I never took my eyes off my horse at the gate (the special Gayle rule, after Snoopy has grabbed too many gate ropes in his mouth).

Even riding well, on the first day, I managed to look away just long enough for Snoopy to shift his hip left and kick a pole. And on the second day, he got a fly on his back leg, which tormented him to the point of slamming us both into the gate. The rest of both courses were fabulous, though.

After we had both finished our classes (there were two of us from our barn showing), we packed up all the racks we had set up in the tack room, plus our saddles and clothes and stuff, then drove back to the ranch and unloaded everything.

On Monday, I collapsed.

When people asked me how the horse show was, I said, "Fun!" I spent four days in unrelenting heat, doing manual labor, riding an uber-excited horse and didn't win anything.

How can that be my idea of fun?

First of all, I love being in the middle of the show grounds. I like the sight of other people with their horses, talking to them and bonding with them. I like going out on the trail course to see if Snoopy and I can do the pattern. And I don't care about winning. I care about fun.

When Snoopy was rehabbing from his injury, I just wanted a horse that could be kept comfortable. When he was able to be ridden again, I still just wanted him to be comfortable. Now that we're showing, I'm not in it for the blue ribbons. I do it to test myself and my horse in a fun environment. And when his leg and hip are too tired, we don't do it.

My goal is to keep him as sound and healthy as he can be for as long as possible.

Do you show? What kind of goals have you set for yourself and your horse?


TBDancer said...

First of all, congratulations on surviving an August show in Burbank while wearing leather and felt. My discipline of choice is dressage and form-fitting breeches with black boots and black coat aren't much cooler. Trust me.

Second, good for you on having "flexible goals." My goal now is to be able to saddle my horse without him having hysterics (he has an ulcer, or so the vet tells me). Then I need to ride regularly to build up his muscle tone (and mine as well). After that, we'll see what floats my boat ;o)

Gayle Carline said...

Good luck in your dressage and with your horse!

I think it's important to have flexible goals in general, but especially with animals. I'm not the person who casually sells her non-winning horse to buy the winning one. I'm the person who is going to give her horse a forever home and work within their limitations. After all, I've got limitations of my own!

Joyce Reynolds-Ward said...

My goal is to have fun and try hard at the horse shows. I don't show enough for consistency, and I don't feel like hammering on my horse like I would need to do to get that level of consistency. We do one, maybe two shows a year, and I don't want her getting sour.

A lot of schooling at home is to keep her muscled up and fit, as well as engage her brain. And keep me in shape as well ;-)

hammerhorses said...

The only reason I show is to gain insight on what I can improve on... plus I like to get dressed up and win pretty ribbons :)

Laura Crum said...

I don't show any more--haven't for many years. I did it a lot at one time and got completely over and done with it. When I did show my goal was always to "get my horse shown"--basically have him work in the show situation just as well as he worked at home in practice. If I got this done, I was happy. Whether I won or placed didn't matter nearly as much to me as just doing a good job of showing my horse.