Yee-haw, guys – it’s the first show week of the season! That means I’m making lists and re-making them, while checking off items every day. I love the lead-up to a show. There’s so much to do, I guess you have to enjoy the preparation on some level. But I’m a planner and I really like organizing myself and getting ready for the weekend.
But it hasn’t been smooth sailing over the last week or so. A week ago I got a text from Leanne that said Husky couldn’t be jumped for awhile…meaning he would be out of commission for all of our over fences classes this weekend. He has been struggling with some on-and-off soreness in his shoulder lately, which seems to be aggravated by jumping.
I was really disappointed and considered scratching altogether. However, less than an hour later I learned that I had won a free stall from the Early Bird Registration drawing they did. That’s a big expense for the weekend that I didn’t really want to waste! I started thinking about taking Little Joe instead of Husky.
That night I had a lesson on Joe and it just didn’t go how I would’ve liked. Simply put, Joe and I just aren’t a place where I would want to show him. We would need to work together a lot more to get him softer in the bit and moving off my leg properly. While I’m not one to care much for ribbons, I do want to feel that I’m in a good place to show off my partnership with my horse. I am definitely competitive, but more so with myself; as long as I feel I’ve done everything I can, to the very best of my ability, I’m pretty happy. And with Joe and I, we just aren’t in a place that lends itself to a positive show experience for either of us.
I felt very frustrated. I’d been looking forward to this show – literally for months! Husky and I were doing really, really well, and we’ve been making big strides (so to speak) in our jumping lately. It’s not perfect but it seems like we’d have been poised for a successful show. On top of that were some frustrating things at work, and all of this piled on me within hours of each other. It was not my favorite day.
I took a day to figure out what I wanted to do about the show. In the meantime, an article drifted across my Facebook News Feed, and it really helped me put things in perspective. It’s called “How to Win at Losing” from the Chronicle of the Horse and I highly recommend you read it. I had a good laugh, particularly at this part:
Well, I had a really horrible day. I took my giant expensive pet horse to another state to play in the sunshine and grass and see my friends, but my horse didn’t prance as fancy as she has been prancing at home. Further, my horse has been a great stick jumper but today it was muddy so my horse hit three of the sticks. Then my horse decided that it did not want to go into the water, even though I have trained it to go into the water. Worst day ever!
It helped me remember that shows are supposed to be fun. That’s the reason why we do it! It helped me reset my priorities. There’s always another show. And anyway, it’s the first time out this season, so it could very well be an “interesting” day. Hopefully it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: Husky’s health is always my very top priority. I would never do anything that would put him in jeopardy or compromise his health and safety.
With my head cleared, I made the decision to do only flat classes. That means we’ll only be in four classes, and only will show on Saturday, instead of both weekend days. All of this is good: it keeps my costs down even more, and doesn’t push Husky too much, while giving us the chance to get out in a big show with absolutely zero pressure or nerves. It’s going to be fun, as it should be!
With those priorities sorted, I turned my attention to prioritizing my list of things to do before the show. There’s a lot! So far, I have reorganized my tack box, gone shopping for all the grooming extras like touch-up spray and chalk, cleaned and organized the trunk of my car (which is always full of horse stuff!), cleaned and polished my tall boots, washed my show clothes, tried on the new sheet when it arrived in the mail (too small), and washed my sleezy and polo wraps.
Still to come: cleaning tack, packing up incidentals like rags and paperwork, getting my own “grooming box” ready with stuff like sunscreen and chapstick, shopping for day-of food and drinks, and getting in one last lesson. We’re trailering up to the grounds on Friday to ride and then bathe and braid.
Tonight was laundry night. I knew I needed to wash my show clothes, sleezy and polo wraps. My new red polo wraps came in the mail and I’m so excited to use them! But last year we learned that a new red horse item + a white horse = a pink horse. I also needed to do some regular laundry, but I wasn’t sure how much I had left on my laundry card (the machines in my apartment building take these special cards, no coins, and you have to fill them with cash, which I never have when I need it for that purpose), but I knew I had at least 2 loads worth on there. My laundry priorities were:
- My show clothes
- Sleezy and polo wraps
- Regular/non-horse/work clothes
- Random load of towels
Of course, all the horse-related stuff needs to air dry, and I have a curious/devious cat. So the bathroom became my temporary clothesline room since I could shut the door and keep the kitty away from all those new toys – I mean polo wraps. It was quite a sight.
Talk about explaining weird things to non-horse folk.
Yes, I washed all my strips of colorful polo fleece and hung them up to dry, then stayed up past my bedtime to roll up each of the strips of colorful polo fleece. And I stayed up even later to write a blog post about it so that other horse people could read about my clean, rolled up strips of colored polo fleece!
We certainly are a strange breed. But you know what? I like my clean colored strips of polo fleece (and my slightly murderous-looking curious cat, in the background of the photo above). But we understand each other, and just how important every last detail is.
Shut up, Ron. Clearly you are not a horse person.