Show prep countdown

It’s interesting juggling horse show prep with day job stuff in the fall.  Last time I did the OHA Gold Classic show, it was closer to the event and only a single day.  I followed G and his wife with the horse trailer over and we did our English and Western thing all in one day.

That was then.

This year, DH and I are going to a concert the night before the show.  G is judging, and since he’s Mocha’s ride, she goes over on Friday afternoon.  Because the show has Trail and Reining events on Saturday, then Equitation and Pleasure events on Sunday, we’re showing both days.  I’ve wanted to do some reining classes, not because I think we’ll knock anyone out of the park (I’m too much of a practical rider, not a show rider, and I think we’re still a bit jerky), but because I wanted the experience.

Reality is, we just don’t hit the show pen frequently enough to have the smooth, practiced, show ring glide to compete seriously in these particular Western classes.  I don’t spend the money on training fees, clinics, or other stuff that it would take to reach that level.  I do approach each show as a learning experience, and shows definitely make an impression on Miss Mocha with regard to her understanding of how/why we do things.  Then again, she’s bred to be a competitive show horse in Western performance disciplines, and to a certain degree I can see the stamp of those cultivated instincts in how she processes new experiences.  After last winter’s experience at the Mt. Hood Equestrian Center, I’m curious to see what she remembers of the Yamhill County facilities.  I didn’t expect her to remember when we went back to Mt. Hood, but she sure did.

That plus she seems to understand more about the show environment with each exposure.  She gets excited about the new place but she also isn’t upset by it.  However, this show is her first multi-day overnight, and she’s going solo.  Big changes for the little mare.  And G is dropping her in the stall, not me.  OTOH, she knows and trusts him.

But I do plan to spend time with her just grooming and getting to relax the next morning.  I know I’ll worry about her until we’ve had some time.  And that day is our big energy day with Trail and Reining–three classes of each, and the first Trail class is in-hand.

The next day is Equitation–one class, and three Pleasure classes.  I don’t expect much from the Pleasure classes other than a nice workout and maybe a ribbon.  She’s not built to be a Pleasure horse; she doesn’t move like a Pleasure horse.  If we get seconds or thirds, I’ll be thrilled.  It’d be cool if I placed well in Eq, but again, reality intrudes and I tend to be a practical rider rather than a pretty rider.

So a first multi-day show.  My goal is to keep it relaxed, have fun, and do my best to show off my pretty horse.  I have those fantasies about being the dark horse schooling rider who comes out of nowhere to blow everyone away at the show, but I also have a damn good grasp on reality.  This is just for the experience.  Doesn’t mean I won’t compete as hard as I can, but I want to have fun, too, with a horse who likes to put on that little extra pizzazz in front of an audience.

Not every horse likes it.  Out of the five horses I’ve owned, only two were certified showoffs, Mocha and Windy Foot.  Windy never made it to a show, but Mocha sure does like to strut a little bit in front of an audience.  She also likes to swagger when she’s had a good reining workout. Unlike the Sparkle mare, who sulked in the show ring, Mocha perks up a bit.  Plus it’s just fun because she’s so interested in what’s going on, instead of shutting down.  I try to encourage that pleasant attitude toward showing.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when strut meets swagger.  Could be hella fun.

Six days to go.

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