Horse shows are always an exciting experience for horse people. Whether you are just beginning or if you have been showing for nigh on 40 years, there is something about a horse show that just gets you all hyped up inside. Maybe it is the adrenaline rush when you finish a reining pattern or the pleasure in picking up the correct lead. Maybe it is the elation you feel when your horse does a perfect pivot in showmanship. Or maybe it is the delight when he does everything just perfectly all day. Whatever it is horse shows are days that most horse owners look forward to and plan for all year, ok that’s a lie, I know it is coming all year, I start planning the week of and am usually franticly packing the trailer the night before at 10 pm. Either way show day is always fun. You get to see your fellow horsey friends and when you say something like, “Silver has not been soft on his vertical lately.” They know what you mean and are ready to offer advice about what to work on.
I show a variety of classes, and my horse is an overall good horse to do anything on. I ride English, Western, do reining, and I love showmanship! I train all year for showmanship, I think that being able to get on a horse and look good is hard and for the most part takes talent. But if you can show a horse on the ground, that looks amazing, and professional, and *sigh* a great showmanship performance makes my heart go pitter patter. The only other thing that can do that is watching Andreas Helgstrand ride Blue Hors Matine in the 2006 freestyle. …. Yeah…… back to reality. My horse and I have gotten to be fairly good at showmanship. I can do a pattern without having to hold onto the lead rope, and I think that shows the bond that my horse and I have.
I also really enjoy reining, the fast circles, the slow circles, the run downs and the roll backs. We aren’t great at reining, but we are decent enough to do well. I prefer pattern classes to rail classes. My horse isn’t what judges think a pleasure horse is, but he is obedient and does well in a pattern. Unless it is trail. We suck at trail. Like crash and burn, hope the earth swallows you whole kind of sucking. We can do trail at home and he will back through the “L” and over the bridge, side pass over the log, dude he would probably do a back flip, he also does really well on an actual trail (except for rushing water) but as soon as he gets in an arena we are lucky if we get to open and close the gate.
Getting ready for the classes is also a fun part of hors e showing. Horse showing is really the only time I do anything to my hair except for the occasional times I flat iron after blow-drying. For a horse show I blow-dry, flat iron, pigtail braid it and put it into a long bun across the nape f my neck. Using a total of 3 bazillion bobby pins and 2 cans of hairspray, my hair does not move, and the hat does not come off. After having my hat fall off once and having four strands of hair keeping the hat hanging from the side of my face, I use bobby pins like they are staples. My hat does not come off….. ever! I love the feel of my freshly pressed jeans and button up shirt. Pulling on my boots and mounting to quickly warm up and memorize my next pattern. Waiting outside the gate for my name to be called, last minute pattern reciting, checking collars, cuffs, pant legs and the horses gear.
Then riding into the arena with a smile on your face to show off your horse and do your pattern flawlessly. Standing in line and listening to the names being called and counting off the people in the class, “and in fourth place number 241 not me! At least third) and in third place number 102 (not me! In the running for first!)” If you have ever showed you know the feeling of realizing that you may have taken the top placing.
If you own horses and have never shown in a horse show,, it is something you should look into. It is a wonderful experience, and if you have friends to go with it is even more fun. I mean, come one, hanging out with a bunch of horsey people and gorgeous horse butts, what could be better? Well except for watching Andreas of course.