Thursday, May 10, 2007

Rachel and Grandma and How NOT to Prepare for a Hunter Pleasure Class

I've been posting about the fall that Dandy and I took at the horse show. It was hard to stay on track (something I don't do well talking either) because I'd get reminded of something that happened at the show and what to go off in that direction.

The incident with my Arabian gelding falling and trying to save me in the course of that fall was serious. I felt the story warranted not getting cluttered up with the little goofy things that happened along the way.Now that the story has been told, I'd like to go back and share a light hearted moment at the horse show that still has us all giggling.

Going into this I want to say upfront that this is all done lovingly and in fun, horse show humor so to speak. Rachel was an active participant in getting pictures taken to post along with this post.

Now that I've got the disclaimer out of the way, I want to add that in all my years of showing horses I've never quite seen a bun like the one Rachel did that is pictured here. Yes, this post is about a bun. Now that may not seem important but in the big scheme of things the little details like buns are part of what tells the judge you know your business and you belong out there or that's what I preach to Rachel anyway.

When I first got started in the Arabian show scene, I had all kinds of people telling me you couldn't be successful if you didn't have a $50,000 and a top trainer (who of course charged big bucks for training and showing that horse) Winning was based on politics and you had to play the game.

Well, over the years I watched this closely and I've bucked it plenty. From my very first horse show I was able to see that this negative statement just is NOT true. If you do your homework, have a great horse, work hard and look the part, you can win no matter who you are.

Right from the beginning with Rachel I have had her and her mom run everything by me before they purchased anything that had to do with Rachel showing. Equipment on down to clothes, and even hairnets.

There is a "look" that the well turned out rider has in the show arena. You can tell the kids and amateurs from the big barns because they all have that "look" right down to the last detail. If you want to play with the big boys, you need to look like the big boys.

There are lots of people out showing who think they have the "look" figured out. But they don't. It's the little details that give them away. Sometimes it'll be the way they hold their romels (yes romels, this info is good for western riders too), or the type of jewelry they wear, the way their horse is turned out or the way their do their bun.

That may sound silly but there's definitely a 4-H bun and a high class bun in the show ring. If you want to have the "look" on the Arabian show circuit you have to have the high class bun.Who dictates this? Don't ask me but The Hat Lady does a mean bun and many, many riders at all levels of competition sport a Hat Lady Bun.

While all of my preaching about buns may sound silly, just imagine what a failed bun looks like in the show ring. When the hair starts to fall out of the hairnet, it flops around with the horse's cadence looking totally out of place drawing the observers eye to identify what the problem in the picture is. I know people can sneak out of a class with an undetected wrong lead, seen it happen many a time. But I also know that the failed buns I've seen over the years have all been the talk of the show grounds.

After our near bun failure on Saturday, I decided maybe I needed to be paying better attention to Rachel's bun. We were working awfully hard to have her got out there and have bun failure and look like a beginner. Our goal has been to have people not know that Rachel is a beginner and we've been doing a darn good job of it. Bun failure would tell them otherwise.

So Sunday before Rachel got on the horse (even though we were rushed - or maybe because we were rushed) I did bun inspection.What I saw was the funniest bun I have ever seen. This is the best example I can think of how not to do a bun (well that and using one of those little snood type bags with the bow on them, that's a big no no too) Sorry the picture does not quite do it justice. The dimension of lumps doesn't show and then the pins coming straight out are sticking as far out of the bun as the ones on the side. It reminded me of chopsticks sticking out of the buns of the Oriental ladies dressed in their native costumes, only the pins are not as long.

Once I had determined the bun was secure, I turned her around to see if there was anything else that needed attention and that's when Colleen and I both found the pin on her rat catcher was on at a precarious angle as well. Both pictures are good examples of how NOT to get ready for a class and great examples of what happens when you get behind at a horse show.

Rachel, I love you! You are a great sport when it comes to your crazy grandma and a pretty darn good kid (most of the time anyway!)


  1. This makes me totally laugh. I remember being taught how to do a correct bun, complete with proper color hairnet, two kinds of bobby pins, and a bun form if the rider didn't have long enough hair to make a nice big fat bun. Gotta have that huge bun under your hat.

    A friend of mine who rides with me also has an arabian and I got her into dressage showing. She is the most unorganized person and at her first show I had to keep on her about what she should be doing at what time to get ready for her class. Less than five minutes before she was supposed to get on to warm up, she walked up to me with a brush and two rubber bands and said "Can you do something with my hair?" ACK! Luckily her helmet was big enough that I was able to braid it up and stuff it under the helmet for that class. The next time I was sure that she had a better plan for her hair, and I always carried backup supplies.

  2. Lots of info here - thanks!

  3. LOL MiKael, tell Rachel from me too she is a great sport!!

    When I rode English or what you call Hunt Seat here, we only had to have our long hair in a nair net, it didnt have to be done up in a bun. I never really rode competitively so have never had to deal with this sort of situation.

    Hope you and Dandy are both feeling much better.