In the past, I have had some pretty good show nerves. Nothing that made me puke, but I did have to watch what I ate for breakfast and be relatively close to bathroom if you catch my drift. So, since I would actually like to show my horse, I figured I ought to get some more experience in the show ring. However, I needed to keep it on the cheap.
With the expense of the new saddle, not to mention childcare (those kids are expensive!!), reality is that my show budget is *very* limited. So I did some looking and it turns out that the Hendrick’s County Horsemen’s Club, a local pleasure (aka 4-H / QH / Stock-type club) riding club offers a series of shows over the course of the summer at the local county fair grounds, which is only about a 25 minute haul from where I board. Its a nice facility with a covered arena and the option for stalls if one is desired. The best part: $5 classes. Pay-Back classes were just $10/class.
Now…remember, I said the club is a 4-H type pleasure club. In these parts, that means they’re essentially a pleasure Quarter Horse club. Now, I have no beef with the QH folks. I’m just not into the whole “peanut roller” type pleasure horse that doesn’t move out and wears a fake tail (yeah, they all had fake tails there). And therefore, I really went to this show with the mindset that I probably wouldn’t place at all. After all, I ride a very typey Thoroughbred. I don’t think she could ever be confused for a Appendix. So while I was really there to get my show nerves in check, I was also interested in seeing if I would even place. When I first got Jewel, I had been to pleasure shows where Jewel wasn’t even on the judge’s radar because she obviously wasn’t a stock-type breed. So while it didn’t really matter if I placed, it would be fun if I did.
I was really excited to go to a show and I didn’t sleep well the night before. One of the things that was unique for me about this show was that I went entirely by myself. I have never done that before. I have always gone with other people to any horse show I went to. This was just me and my horse and it was pretty fabulous. Since the weather was perfect, we did not take a stall, but rather, just showed out of the trailer.
Aside from one little freak out at the end of one class as results were being called, Jewel did not put a foot wrong. Even then, I think she must have gotten bit by something. Although I could find no evidence, I took her back to the trailer, untacked her, looked her over and she seemed fine. She was just fine for all the rest of the classes. I came to realize that a lot of her tension at previous shows was probably due to discomfort from poor saddle fit. Its amazing how something like that can create tension that undermines everything! Her tension led to my tension and nerves. Low and behold, when she was comfortable, she willingly did everything I asked of her. She was such a good girl! And best of all, while I was excited, I really didn’t have any horrid show nerves. It was GREAT!
English Type Halter Mare – 1st Place
Open Payback Halter Mares/Geldings – Did Not Place
English Walk-Trot – 2nd Place
English Schooling Pleasure – 2nd Place
English Pleasure – 2nd Place
Open Payback English Pleasure – 4th Place
English Equitation – 1st Place
Checkbook Walk/Trot (any seat, rider 35 & up) – 4th Place
I won’t be starting a career in pleasure horse riding, but will say that I had tears of joy as we wrapped up our day yesterday. I may have to look for a dressage schooling show next.