Saturday, May 31, 2008

Rachel & Grandma and Arabian Horses - Salem - First Day

Part One Salem

Once this baby boomer grandma and Rachel got the Arabian horses schooled in the arena, we took them back to the stalls and got them bedded down for the night. I always keep hay in front of my horses at horse shows so we stocked them up and then headed off to our tent.

I don't know if I've said this before but I'm really a light sleeper. I rarely sleep the first night when I am away from home. Even in this tent with my own pillows and bedding (and teddy bear), I knew it was going to be a long night. Then throw in Rachel's snoring and the bright light of the parking lot and counting sheep wasn't going to help much. It was a nightful of tossing and turning, not a great way to start off a four day horse show.

The next morning Angie and Richard feed the horses but it didn't matter. I was up anyway. I went on up to clean stalls and figure out our schedule. It looked like Angie and I were the only ones to have a class this day and that would be in the afternoon session. At least that made the effects of my sleepless night seem more manageable. Maybe I'd be able to get to bed early and make up some of that much needed sleep.

Making a run to the arena to find the complimentary morning doughnuts (a must at any horse show), I passed the vendors booths just setting up. There in a corner I spied a red, black and creme western pad. I had been looking for a nice pad to match my shirt for three long years. Now here in Salem when I was broke the pad materialized. I hate to admit to this but I whipped out my emergency credit card and bought the darn thing. Salem would not be a total loss.

Sometime before noon, my friends arrived from Washington. Both Bev and Wendy had horses showing in the afternoon session as well. I think this is the first time we have all been showing at the same show and we weren't even going to see each other's classes. It's funny how showing horses is also supposed to be this social thing and yet the schedule is always getting in the way.

At the lunch break I schooled Legs in the arena again. With all the other horses out there, the stallion was much braver. There were no indications that he had ever been anything less than brave. It was our secret. I wouldn't tell if he didn't............

Looking around the arena, there were some big name western trainers here. Bret Becker was here from California, Russ and Mary Jane Brown and Karla Moffitt from Oregon and Washington trainers Jeff and Mel Lee, LaRae Fletcher Powell and Ron Copple. (Just for the record, I'm referring to them as big names based on their success in the show ring.) Competition would be fierce in the amateur divisions.

The nice thing about showing out of a barn with someone in the same class is there are two of you watching out for the schedule and keeping track of the time it takes to get ready. That makes the possibility of missing class calls and getting behind much less likely. For me that is always the biggest stress about showing, getting ready and worry about missing my class. Anything that can relieve stress is a good thing.

I had decided to show Legs using split reins. Because the horse is still dealing with being intimidated by the curb bit, I was doing all I could to make him more comfortable. The split reins not only weigh less than my silver romel reins but they are much easier to use on a horse that needs "extra support."

Since the rules allow for one finger to be between the split reins, it makes it possible to creep up or down the reins making adjustments along the way. If the horse looses his steering, it's easily correctable by lifting up on a shortened rein. Being able to make these minor adjustments also aids in keeping the horse round while riding with only one hand.

In the Arabian western pleasure show ring, split reins are hardly if ever seen. Since I was here for schooling and hopefully sucking up a few points to get qualified, I wasn't going to worry about show ring decorum or fitting in. All I was interested in was getting the best ride from my horse and staying within the rules if possible.

When the paddock announcer called out the opening of the gate, I rode my horse up through the Pavilion headed to the ring. Picking up the jog as we hit the rubber mats leading into the arena, Legs was a bit sluggish about rounding up. I pushed him harder with my legs and picked up on the bridle as we made our entrance into the arena. The first 40 & over amateur to ride into the ring.

I hadn't really thought what the horse might think being alone in this arena again. As we jogged past the judge heading for the rail, I heard a deep sigh from my horse. I guess there was enough "normal stuff" going on around him, Legs wasn't worried about the goblins of last night coming to eat him again. Thank goodness for that...........

To be continued...........

Part 2

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  1. You get complimentary doughnuts?? That's my kind of show...!
    Good on you for doing what makes your horse more comfortable rather than adhering to show etiquette - too many people don't.

  2. Yeah I was also gonna ask did u find the complimentary doughnuts LOL.

    The Mistress of suspense strikes again. Looking forward to the next instalment.

  3. Meant to add that if that new saddle pad is the une in the picture it looks stunning!

  4. haha! that 'sigh' is always a welcome feeling isnt it?

    I too am a terribly light sleeper. I sympathize w/ you 100%

  5. Wow, complimentary doughnuts! We've only ever had soggy or burnt or undercooked something or other we had to pay a fortune for at horse shows. It's clearly time to switch to Western shows!
    I'm sure that saddle pad had your name on it, and why not get it, even if it was a little pricey so what, you deserve it for all you do for everyone. I'm glad to see you treated yourself to it.

  6. Love the doughnuts thing! Yum! Is that the new pad in the pic? Beautiful, must admit, I would have pulled out the credit card as well, So far, so good, Again, waiting for the next installment.

  7. Your new saddle pad looks wonderful...

  8. echo, yes, complimentary doughnuts at all of the Arabian shows I have ever been to......except maybe Nationals. If they had them, I didn't even find them. lol

    lori, you bet I located them real quick! And yes, that is the new pad. I really like it.

    barngoddess, yes I love that sigh. Nothing like the horse telling you up front that things look good. lol

    I remember my grandfather snoozing in an arm chair at our house at the drop of a hat. So guess I always thought when I got older I'd sleep better......but it doesn't work that way at all. Instead I'm an even lighter sleeper. lol Sorry you have the same problem, I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

    grey horse, they actually had a pretty decent breakfast at this show was 2 eggs, hasbrowns, biscuit and choice of bacon, ham or sausage for $6. Not bad for horse show food.

    The pad looked like it was just waiting for me but it wasn't pricey...about $50. For show pads that's cheap but it was a nice weight so I went for it. I'm really glad I did.

    lovelee, thanks, it doesn't look as good in the pictures as it does in real life. It looks like it was made to go with my shirt. I'm not much of a clothes horse and all of that stuff but I just couldn't resist this pad.

  9. Buying that pad at a time when you really couldn't afford it is actually a very good move. I've learned that when you find what you are looking for, you have to grab it before it disappears. A couple of months ago my daughter found a pendant that she loved, but I couldn't afford it at the time. Now that she's graduating from high school, I wanted to get her something special, so I returned to the store to pick up that pendant. Of course, it was gone and they did not order more. Now I'm kicking myself for not just thinking about her upcoming graduation and buying it when she found it.

  10. Dear Mikael

    I want to thank all those folks that were and are keeping us in their hearts. We are grateful and thankful there are good people out there caring for the little farm trying to get to a young girl's dream. Nationals.
    It may be too far to reach. But we are committed. the task took a bad turn in the fall. We are wiping the slate clean. We have a good memory. We, like Rhythm, learn better with pinwheels and carrotts than with something less....We are
    still very excited about the future with our great horse. He will bring us many great memories. This one we want to forget. I hope you can understand our "damage control". We need to heal our wounds and get back to a young girl's dream. Get on board the trains leaving in the morning....

    Love Rich