Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Morgan Show.........The "Real" Show Begins

Friday morning I arrived at the horse show before 7. Since that was the time posted on the show office door the office would open that day, I wanted to be sure the exhibitors didn't get caught in anymore confusion than necessary about the discrepancy in the start time.

I'd already begun spreading the word at the motel before I left. I'd stopped into the brunch room to grab myself some of their nice "continental" breakfast and told the exhibitors I recognized there about the scheduling snafu. From there the cell phones popped out and calls were made spreading the word of the 9 o'clock start.

By the time I arrived at the show it was evident that many had already gotten the word. The fairgrounds were pretty quiet and only a few were taking advantage of the open arena to school their horses.

However, the officials hired for the show were another matter. Other than the judge who was going by the time in the prize list (which happened to be 9) the rest of the officials showed up for the 8 o'clock start time. Most of them were gracious about the mistake. There really was only one complaint and that was from the steward but then since I didn't have her cell phone number, I'd no way of contacting her about the error anyway.

By the time the show office did open, I had figured out where the problem had originated in the first place. It was actually on the Morgan horse website. The prize list had the start time listed at 9 while the class schedule had the time listed at 8. Both the show secretary and I were relieved to know it wasn't something either of us had done.

Locating this issued disclosed another problem as well. The start times each morning changed. They went from 9 on Friday to 8 on Saturday and back to 9 on Sunday. There's not better way to confuse exhibitors than start times jumping back and forth. I made an executive decision to start at 9 on Saturday as well for the sake of consistency. Besides since the number of horses for this show was down, the schedule would tolerate the hour shorter schedule and there's nothing that makes more points with exhibitors than giving them an extra hour to sleep.

From that point forward the day went pretty well. The only real issue was yet another accident. We had just been going over the new USEF rule that states an exhibitor who is injured by a horse and doesn't follow the recommendation of the Medical Assistant for treatment can not be allowed to compete. We were still debating exactly what this rule means and who is accountable if the exhibitor doesn't take kindly to the rule when the accident happened.

Out in one of the warm-up arenas a horse threw her head up into the air and hit her rider full in the face. The force of the blow had nearly knocked the woman off the horse but she had managed to stay on until she got some help to dismount. Someone took the distressed horse while the woman's husband came running for the EMT.

At the sound of that page, I exited the show office to investigate the call. I'd already seen enough hot, heavily on the muscle horses to know anything could happen. I wanted to be sure we weren't walking that fuzzy line we'd just been discussing.

I found the woman with the EMT at her vehicle. Her face was already beginning to bruise and blood was still running from her nose. I wouldn't have been surprised if the nose was broken although a deviation wasn't obvious. The skin on the woman's nose had split open and it was bleeding pretty profusely.

The EMT was suggesting the woman go to get maybe a me it looked more like 4 to 6 stitches would be needed but then neither of us is a doctor. It didn't sound like the woman had any intention of going to a doctor, yet this injury didn't qualify as serious enough for the "new rule" to apply. The woman was scheduled to ride in a couple more classes, however, she scratched just before her class entered the arena.

I checked in on her a couple of time. She was having problems getting the bleeding to totally subside. About the time she thought she had it licked, she'd sneeze or have to blow her nose and the thing would start up again. I encouraged her again to think about stitches telling her to scar from the wound would be more unsightly than the smaller one caused by the stitches. With time the scar from the closed wound would be almost unnoticeable while the scar caused by a gaping wound would always be a constant reminder of stitches she "should" have had.

A couple of hours later the woman came to the show office to let us know she'd gone to the doctor. The injury had required 5 stitches and the doctor had pretty much told her the same things I had. The wound would not have been pretty left to its own devices.

The doctor also told her she couldn't ride for at least one day. If she felt well enough to ride on Sunday that would be ok. However, even by Sunday the woman still had a bad headache so riding was out of the question.

I had a chance to talk with this woman about her horse, a pretty buckskin mare. The show secretary and I had noticed this horse from the first time it entered the arena ato school, not just because of her unusual color, but because the horse was definitely having issues with being at the show.

The owner said the horse was calm and quiet at home but definitely terrified at the show. Asking a terrified horse to go around and do it's job quietly can sometimes be just too much to ask. This mare couldn't hold it together under this pressure and protested the only way she knew how. It's too bad it took the accident for the owner to realize that maybe they had asked too much too soon from the stressed horse.

By this time we are into day three and there has been a wreck each day. Both the show secretary and I were hoping that this was where this trend would end. Neither of us wanted to think about what might happen next.

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

Wrapping Up

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  1. It sounds like things were humming along pretty smoothly.
    Could you tell if this Buckskin was at the beginning of her show career? Just curious...were these saddleseat classes?
    To level the competition (from the western classes mixed w/ stockhorses), my daughter specilized in saddleseat classes with our Arab. There are more on the edge of 'out of control' the horses pretty much need to be more 'up'. The thinking side of the Arab made that fun for us...daughters horse always liked Western, but after we started Saddleseat she delighted and excelled in Western.

  2. "I encouraged her again to think about stitches telling her to scar from the wound would be more unsightly than the smaller one caused by the stitches."

    and it will heal quicker/better witht the edges next to each other. It would not be so likely to open up again.