It was a much anticipated event. After months of preperation it was the day of my five year old daughter Annabelle’s (aka Horsecrazy’s) first horse show. She had been practicing non-stop, both on the back of her horse Grumpy (every single day, rain or shine, cold or colder….she was out there….just ask me, the groom and saddler.) and in the evening she practiced by running around the house with a large red halter strapped to her torso, wielding dog-leash reins as she did sliding stops on the kitchen floor and spins in the living room.
She was very very excited, and I was very very excited for her. And nervous. Because a horse show is a very fun and social event, but there is a lot of waiting around. And it can get pretty boring even for those of us consumed with catching up with friends we hadn’t seen since last year and scoping out other people’s new horses. And did I mention Horsecrazy is five?
We started out early on that sunny Saturday morning. It was the usual horse show morning rush to get out the door, and I was glad I had taken the time to get things organized the night before. We had spent the previous evening getting the trailer cleaned out and packed, and laying out our clothes so that all we had to do was get up and load Grumpy for the forty five minute drive to the show.
Once we got there, we had to groom. Annabelle insisted on taking Grumpy’s tail out of the wrap and brushing it out. His tail was wavy from being braided in the bag and reminded me of a 4H steer tail at the fair – all fluffy and teased looking. She thought he looked grand.
We saddled up and went inside. Annabelle sat on Chic since I was going to ride Grumpy in an early class to school him. Did I mention that there is a lot of sitting around at horse shows? Annabelle was just one of the girls. Well, one of the girls who sent people at her beck and call for “Hot chocolate please!” and “Could I have another doughnut?” By the end of the day she had eaten four doughnuts. Good thing my friend was running concessions. I’m pretty sure she didn’t put all the doughnuts on my tab.
Of course she couldn’t resist a little pre-class spinning. And spinning. And spinning.
As it turned out, Grumpy was a little, well, grumpy, and didn’t behave himself in the show pen at all during my schooling class. So adopted auntie Kris decided that Annabelle should show her horse Chic instead. Did I mention that Chic is an NRCHA World Champion Bridle Horse? Yeah, well he is. Kris had formerly (and very kindly) offered to let me show Chic in a small local series of shows since I was without a show horse this season. I have been very excited about that for weeks. Somehow during the day that all changed, and I was bumped off the world champion by my own daughter, who will now show Chic in the small local series of shows. She did tell me that I could show Grumpy if I wanted instead. Sigh.
Annabelle’s excursion into the show pen went very well. I ran into the ring with her and stood in the middle, giving her directions with which to execute a short and simple pattern which vaguely resembled the pattern the rest of the people in the class were doing. I wouldn’t recommend this sort of approach during a regular horse show, but in this small “Wooly Mammoth School ‘Em and Fool ‘Em” show everyone was very indulgent.
When she was finished everyone cheered and clapped. I believe she felt it was only her due.
Chic was leaving for a horse show series in Arizona the next day, so after the show was over he needed a bubble bath. Annabelle was up for the challenge. Even when he stepped on her boot with a hind foot and she fell over flopping like a fish until I could come and rescue her by pushing him over a step. He didn’t even realize that he was standing on her or why she was squalling. He is calm that way.
After Chic was all cleaned up and drying in the sunshine, it was time for more socializing. And who better to visit than the nice concession lady with the puppies! She offered Annabelle some free chili, but my little darling politely declined. Thank heaven all the doughnuts were gone.
The drive home was filled with excited conversation and many questions about “Who won mom?”, and “I really think that I was the best one out there and I was definitely on the nicest horse, wasn’t I”?” Ye gods, I have created a monster. Well, Kris has.