Who in their right mind wakes up at 3:30 a.m. to shovel crap? The answer: A select breed of human called the Equestrian. Yes, not only do we get up hours before the sun rises, but we also do it somewhat happily. Well happily considering that we usually do not go to bed until midnight or so. But hey, when you are in love (because that is what this is) things just do not always make sense. Equestrians love horses like Addicts love cocaine. On one hand it grows worse with every minute spent around these creatures, but on the other, extended time without horses can result in withdrawal. The life of an Equestrian is more than a balancing act of time between work, school, the barn, and a social life, it is balancing the amount of time spent with and without our beloveds.
Of course, it helps when you are getting paid to muck stalls, feed, water, and sweep. The money does go back to horses though; it is a costly addiction with the bill owed to new tack, board fees, and extra curricular, such as IHSA. It is all for the love of horses.
This weekend was our first IHSA western show for Region 3 Zone 8, my first show in over two years, first non-4H show ever. Our team came home with about 25 ribbons, two of the 3rd place and one of the 2nd place being my contribution. Some of the horses were nuts! We had horses that reared, horses that ran, and horses that could put their head in a myriad of positions except in your hand. A couple of us drew the only experienced western pleasure horse in the herd, Junior, who was a handsome fellow with a lovely frame and a careful gait. All three of the horses I drew, including Junior, were the better of the herd behavioral wise.
On the way home I decided that I want to do better. During each ride I found something that needed improvement, mostly little things and one major thing.With more experience I will be able to find exactly what is acceptable in the show ring and what needs to be hidden from the judge’s wandering eye. So, I made some goals for this year:
1. Place in every class
2. Win at least 3 blue ribbons
3. Attend and place at Regionals
They all seem pretty reasonable, right? There were 10 riders in my classes this weekend, six ribbons were placed, we have 3 more shows with ~3 classes each, I only need 35 points to qualify for Regionals ( I already have 13). I figure that if I ride more often and work on my equitation vigilantly during class, then it will not be too difficult to at least keep on track with everyone else.