Thursday, August 4, 2011

I'll Show You

We are having a horse show at my stable in a few weeks. And by we, I mean me. Thankfully, there are many of the stable patrons who help out with the thousands of tasks involved in running a horse show, without them there wouldn't be one. However, the whole thing was my idea and regardless of potential hindsight, I will go forward with the shebang.

The very best thing about running my own show, is that I get to make the rules. As much as possible, I try to stick to the standard horse show regulations and requirements. All the classes will come in the ring and go left then right. There will be a judge. English riders will have English clothes and tack, Western riders will have Western clothes and tack. The things that I can shake up a little are just some things which I feel ought to be allowed, or not allowed, at shows.

All of our riders will have helmets on. Yes, even the Western ones. Yes, even the little princess on a unicorn in the costume class. Even the showmanship handlers. Everyone. I, and my insurance company, feel that it is a small inconvenience to pay for your ability to walk and talk. No one will incur brain damage on my shift. I apologize if the rule infringes on your right to have neat hair and a coordinated outfit.

As for the tack, as specified, English riders have English stuff and Western riders have Western stuff. Jumping is considered an English class and horses should be tacked as such. You wouldn't think that would have to be mentioned, but not all of us are horse-show proficient. However, being just over the rebel line, I do allow snaffle bits on Western horses (regardless of age), hackamores in either discipline and flash nosebands on English horses. These rules came from trying to keep the welfare of the horse in mind. The flash noseband thing can go wrong though, if the noseband isn't adjusted properly or the rider has rough hands, but I'm taking a chance on that being a kinder gentler option to a strong bit. We'll see how that pans out.

We are offering four "jumping" classes. I am a firm believer that walk/trot riders should not be jumping so we have a ground poles class for them. All other jumping classes are for canter riders. For goodness sake, if a rider can't handle a horse in the canter then she certainly shouldn't be sailing through the air with one.

In addition to our rule deviations, we also step outside the box for leadline class. We have leadline classes for all ages. That means the cheruby 4 year olds can have their limelight as well as the boyfriends of some teenage girl riders or Moms & Dads even. It's a lot of fun and a chance for other family members to get off the bench.

Other than that, we offer standard horse show classes, Equitation, Pleasure, Showmanship, Costume, Road Hack and some more. Of course we have Road Hack! It's my favorite!

Horse shows give ribbons or rosettes for prizes and occasionally you get a trophy too. At our show, we give ribbons through sixth place (and if there are 7 or 8 riders in a class then we have "ties" for 6th place) and first place riders also get a small prize. My idea again. I'd rather have something useful that I could take home rather than a trophy so our first place finishers get brushes, trinkets, chocolate bars (yes, chocolate bars are Very useful), and other little items.

If only life were as easy as hosting a horse show. If I think tax forms should be different, I'd just make up my own. If the question on a test doesn't make sense to me, I'd write a new one. If the jeans are over-priced in the department store, I'd mark them down. Most importantly, chocolate bars would be the reward for every job well done.

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