Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rachel and Grandma and Arabian Horses at the Daffodil Summer Show.....a whole herd of them! Sunday Morning

Part 1

I don't know what got into my head or for that matter what I could have been possibly thinking (or maybe even if I was thinking at all!) when I entered classes for that Sunday morning session because I entered 7 classes. That's read 7 classes in one session on Sunday morning.

That might be the norm at some shows where horses get ridden over and over in class after class but it just doesn't happen at the Arabian shows. The only exhibitors that show in that many classes in one session usually turn out to be the professionals who have all kinds of help and are used to that kind of pressure. Yet it's still the exception and not the norm.

I guess because the first 4 of those classes were trail classes it just didn't seem like that many classes to me. Any reasonable trail class would consist of a 2 minute course. Riding 4 of those would only amount to 8 minutes of riding not counting the warm-ups of coiurse. That seemed reasonable to me and I've done it before although that was years ago.

The remaining 3 classes were halter. I originally had entered Hope because Rachel didn't want to show her. I guess I thought it might be fun to show myself now that I feel like I finally know what I"m doing. Also there was the new scoring system and I really wanted to see how that worked from the inside out and how my horses fared under that system. With that thinking I decided maybe I'd enter Legs too. But where did the third horse come in?

Well, are you sitting down? That third horse was Dandy. I'm pretty sure you must be wondering what in the heck I was doing showing an 18 year old gelding in halter. Had I lost my mind? Well......I was wondering that myself. But the truth is I was doing it as a favor for a friend.

Angie still needs about 3 points in halter for Eclipse to earn his Legion of Excellence award. (That's where you see a +// appearing at the end of an Arabian horse's name. This is the highest achievement award that can be given to an Arabian horse.) It's been difficult for her to earn those final 3 points with the horse getting older (he's 12) and small class sizes.

I'd suggested to her that stacking the class might help in this endeavor. By getting the kids in the barn to show their geldings in the class that would make the class large enough for Eclipse to earn the points he needs. None of those geldings are halter horses (and Dandy was one of those geldings) so it should be a shoe in for Eclipse.

The problems came in when the class turned out to be an AOTH class.....Adult Owner to Handle. That meant that Rachel couldn't show that left only me. Since Angie had already paid the appropriate fees, I was left to me if Dandy was to show. Also one of the barn geldings didn't have an adult owner to handle so Dandy's body count was essential. Talk about pressure!

I agreed but insisted that Angie was going to owe me..... BIGTIME. Poor Dandy, what will I do to him next??

Like all of this wasn't enough for one morning I told the show manager that I would help them set up for trail. Sure, I've done it for them lots of times in the past, it's a peice of cake. But this was different. First off, someone else designed the courses, not me.........and this time I was actually showing in trail.

As if that wasn't enough to make my morning nuts, I was also drawn as the first go in the very first class for trail. That meant I had no time to spare. The course setting needed to go promptly and smoothly so it got done well before the posted starting time. If that isn't a set up for Murphy's Law, I don't know what is.

Even though the courses had been available the night before the classes, I had not gone over them. I'd figured the show manager would have copies of the different course available for me at set-up. That was my first mistake........assuming anything that made sense. Things only went down hill from there.

I had asked Cody from our barn to be there in the morning with Rachel and me to set the courses. Since he's ridden trail too and did quite well I figured he'd have a feel for how the courses should flow. That knowledge would be helpful for setting up as well.

The problems came in when they only had one course available for me to see. The show manager and his crew figured since all the obstacles were the same that should be enough. They didn't understand that the way those obstacles were to be navigated over the different courses also affects how the distances between them should be set.

For me working under conditions like that was really stressful. I'm a perfectionist and I don't like to be involved in things that are sloppily done. Not taking into account all uses of an obstacle is sloppy......very sloppy. It makes for poor flow from obstacle to obstacle and doesn't give the exhibitors the opportunity to really show off what they know. Instead they're forced to stumble from one obstacle to another with no balance or rhythm......definitely not my style.

As I tried to wade through this mess and make it work, my stress level went up by leaps and bounds. By the time we were finished setting up these obstacles, the riders were beginning to assemble to show........and I wasn't even dressed to show's a good thing my horse was tacked up!

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

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