So far we have 14 participants in the Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange! Help me get up to 20 by sharing this contest on your blog/social media and I’ll send you an extra present. ‘Cause, ya know, I’m not above bribery!
16. One thing you’d like to change about your horse
I wish Miles wasn’t quite so grumpy about all things grooming. I don’t mind that he doesn’t love it, but I hate that he doesn’t even like being brushed AT ALL. It makes spa time much more difficult and much less enjoyable for me. Plus it sucks because I love having a beautifully groomed and well-turned out horse… which can be a challenge when he doesn’t even want to be brushed with a soft brush.
17. Your horse’s future
The more time that I own Miles, the more I see us doing some of the things I had imagined with Visa… which I both love and hate. I hate that Visa isn’t here, but I love that I’ve found another horse to bond with. Most of these things have nothing to do with my riding or showing goals, ironically: I hope that I can do a trash the wedding dress session with Miles; I hope I can teach Sam to ride on Miles; I hope I can teach my kids to ride on Miles.
But most of those things are still fairly far into the future. So what do I see more immediately for my horse? Rocking the 2’6″ hunter ring, carting me around my first Hunter Derby and maybe even teaching me a thing or two about equitation.
18. Your worst show ever
I’m not quite sure if it counts, but this is my most vivid worst horse show memory. At the time, I was showing in 4-H and my big aspiration was to qualify for State Fair. I tried with my horse, but we didn’t make the cut and I was pretty disappointed. However, that year I had also joined the judging team (which is like a future open show judge competition) and we did qualify for State Fair. So we make the trip 140 miles south horseless, but I was so. freaking. excited.
Until I got there.
And then I saw every horse looked like it had just won the Quarter Horse Congress; Seriously, every single one was so beautiful and all the riders were so well put together and I just knew that me and my horse were never going to make it there. I cried the entire time we were at State Fair. It was horrible.
19. Favorite horse show venue
I haven’t shown at very many different venues, but my favorite is definitely Far & Away Farms, where our local Equivents Show Series are held. It’s a private farm, but it’s so gorgeous. They just built a new indoor arena, which they clear out and put up temporary stalls for all of the horses that haul-in, so even though the stalls are temporary, we’re in a permanent structure and not a tent.
They have one indoor for warm-up, as well as a smaller section of one ring. They have two rings going throughout the entire show, and the jumps are always beautifully maintained, with boxes and fresh flowers and greenery for the hunters. They also have a gazebo inbetween the two rings with directors chairs for spectators, as well as a small tent with lounge chairs.
The show management is very friendly, but they run the show efficiently and are constantly giving updates via loud speakers to the barns about what class is going on. The prices are reasonable for the area, the competition is good, but the atmosphere stays more or less relaxed… which is the most important to me!
20. Your show day routine
We usually haul up to the show sometime on Friday, and I school all the fences in my ring, just to get over everything and feel my horse’s rhythm in the show environment. It’s also nice to ride the lines and see where I need to half halt or where I need to push.
Most of my divisions are in the afternoon, and usually I’m lucky enough to have someone else from the barn feed in the morning, so I try to show up around 10am or 11am. I unload all my stuff (I usually take my saddle and show clothes to and from the grounds) and take my horse for a walk, and let him eat grass for about 15-20 minutes.
Then I hang out. I usually get an estimated time for my classes from the show office, but I’ll check back periodically to see how the ring is running. When my division gets close, I’ll put myself in a rotation, usually the first one if that works with my trainer’s schedule. If my division is going to go really late in the day (like 3 pm or later) I try to leave the grounds for lunch, just for a change of scenery.
I don’t need much warm-up, just about 15 minutes or so to get my horse loose, and jump a fence or two in the warm-up. I always memorize my first course well in advance, but I can only memorize one at a time. Then I go in, discuss my round with my trainer, and take a breather before completing the rest of my trips.