Monday, August 10, 2009

The Region 4 Championships....Big Day....Rhet's Class

I didn't think I was going to make it out of the rest room to even make it to see Rhet's class. It was a good thing I had gobs of those Pepto Bismol tablets in my pockets. Who knew showing this colt was going to be so stressful? Certainly not me, this kind of reaction was new to me.

When I did get out of the rest room, they were just calling the yearling colts. The winning horses from the previous class were just exiting the arena. I raced up the stairs and into the stands looking for a seat with clear vision to the entrance and the place where the horses would stand up...........oh yeah, and I was looking for a place by myself. I wanted to watch this class closely, not talk my way through it out of nerves and miss everything.

To find a place on the rail I had to go clear down to the middle point of the arena. Not the usual place to find me at the regional championships.....but then I rarely enter this late to watch a class this important to me.

I sat down and laid my arms across the rail with my hands supporting my chin. It was time for some heavy duty focusing. I really wanted to be sure about how my colt compared with the others in this class.

I got settled just in time, the first horse entered the ring. Led by Terry Holmes the colt was circled right in front of the entrance and paraded on down the wall. I wondered if this was the colt my friend, Chris, had been telling me about. This particular breeder had a colt she was pretty proud of as well.

Then there was a lull. I don't know why but the next colt must not have been in position. It seemed like forever before the next colt hit the ring. My stomach was doing flips again just waiting for the horses to enter the ring. I was grateful after the second horse there were no more lagging horses.

It seemed each horse had enough time to make a showy entrance before the next one followed. Somehow I managed to loose track and I began to wonder when Rhet would emerge.I knew Rhet's position in the line-up was right in the middle. I thought he should be the fifth horse to enter in a class of nine and yet it seemed that more colts had entered and still no Rhet.

I found myself holding my breath waiting for each new colt to enter. My eyes glued on the entrance not wanting to miss a single second of the entrance of any horse.......and certainly not mine. I haven't watched a class with such intensity since my last trip to nationals.

The crowd seemed to feel the same anticipation. With each entrance a cheer arose, followed by hoots and hollers. The handlers strutted their colts around like each was the best horse they'd ever seen. The whole feel of the night helf the hope and promise for future generations of the breed.

Then it happened. One instant there was a white void at the in gate and the next Cheryl with Rhet in hand erupted on the scene. With his tail over his back and his head high, the crowd exploded before the colt even crossed the thresshold of the arena. It sounded like the entire arena was cheering for my colt.

I remember thinkg the whiteness of the high in gate doors intensified the darkness of the colt's coat. It even startled me how dark the Rhet looked in this arena.........but it wasn't just his color. Rhet came through those doors really looking like a show horse.

Then it seemed Rhet ran right smack into the wall of sound emitted by the crowd. For just an instant the colt stopped dead in his tracks throwing his head up to its highest point. I could see him looking around trying to understand what has just happened. Cherly urged him on and Rhet proceeded as he was told.

As she trotted the colt down the wall, I spoke to him as they came near. Rhet looked at me when he heard his name and his eye softened just a little. I saw a look that said he was beginning to figure things out. This crowd was here for him........and in his mind...........for him alone. It was obvious from his carriage Rhet was going to give them a show.

By this time my heart was pounding right out of my chest. Yet there were four more colts to enter. You'd have thought my heart would settle but it didn't. The crowd was still cheering for Rhet when the next colt hit the ring.

From there it seemed like forever before the rest of the colts had entered. Then it was time for them to parade past the judges at the obligatory walk, both ways of the arena.

I marvelled at Rhet's manners. He really behaved like he belonged out there. He walked straight with his head in the air. He didn't crowd his handler, nor pick at her. With all of the issues I've had with this colt since I got him, you wouldn't have seen a single one of them there in the ring that day. Rhet acted like a well trained horse.

Once the horses returned to their original position on the rail, the first horse stood up on the wall and showed. It used to be that all of the handlers in the class would show their horses at this point but the rules have changed. Now it's only ok for the horse showing in the middle and the one on deck to strike a pose. Schooling on the rail is no longer allowed. (although it is up to show management to enforce this rule)

I studied each colt as it was shown. With some the angle for me to see were better than others. It all depended on how they stood up in the middle. It was the view on the rail that gave me my best look at each horse. Although at this distance I couldn't tell much about their legs.

When a horse is taken into the middle, the announcer calls out the name of the horse, its sire and dam, the owner and the handler. Then people in the crowd will voice their approval with more hooting and hollering. Usually, you can tell where the owners of the horses are by the direction the noise comes from......but not always. Sometimes people in the crowd will get behind a horse they like even if it's not a horse they know.

That's how it was when Rhet showed. When the judges turned to look at him on the rail, the crowd exploded just like they had when he'd entered the ring. As Cheryl was instructed to bring the horse forward to be judged, the crowd got quiet as his pertinent information was announced. I can remember the lump rising in my throat as I heard the annoucer call out his name..........Secret Envy............

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

Rhet's Class Part 2

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  1. You must have been so proud! I can't wait to hear how he did!

    My stomach gives me fits like that too. Takes me days to recover once it's out of whack like that.

  2. Oh girl! I can't stand it!!!
    I was wondering if he would get a big ego boost when he realized all the comotion is for him.
    (oh tomorrow hurry up and get here...I want to know more)

  3. wonderful description- it's just like being there!!!
    Keep going, keep going...

  4. Seriously. You kill me. I love that you give us so much detail about how your horse is reacting and how you are reacting and how the crowd is reacting, but the anticipation is killing me!

    I am SOSOSO glad that Rhet behaved himself. Nothing worse than your horse embarrassing you in public. I don't like my horse misbehaving at home either, but behave well in public and that horse is going to get a lot of treats and a lot of love.

    I don't like to generalize, but every Arabian I have ever known has loved applause. There's an old gelding used as a lesson horse at my barn and sometimes he doesn't want to trot when asked by his little riders. All you have to do at that point is start clapping and he perks right up and gives you the prettiest trot he's got!

  5. Aaaakkkk! You're killing me!!!!

  6. Ohhhhh...I'm on pins and needles here!! Uggghhh!!! :)

  7. Ooooh, I can't wait to hear the rest.

  8. From the way you wrote this, I have a suspicion your colt Secret Envy took first place... what a thrill that would be to find out my suspicion is right... cant wait to read your next post and find out!

    BTW... you have everyone on pins and needles! or the edge of their seat! And for sure suspense!