Beep Beep Beep. It’s 4 am and my alarm clock is blaring in my ear signaling that it’s time for me to leave my comfy bed. Now most of you are probably wondering why someone would get up at the butt crack of dawn on a Saturday, well you see the reason is simple…
It’s horse show day!!
It’s the day we work for all year, the day we prove that all of our blood, sweat and tears have been worth it, that it means something, it’s the day we get to show how hard we’ve been working, the day that shows everyone who we are at the top of our game.
While showing certainly isn’t everything, it means the world when you succeed and that’s all anyone really wants is to succeed in the show ring and out. Success is not always the ribbons you win but also how we compete, how we compose ourselves, and how we support our teammates, and treat our horses.
The show day starts, we arrive at the barn dressed in our best breeches, clean white show shirts, and polished black boots.
I walk into Darla’s stall to say hello and give her a good morning kiss and treat, she immediately comes over waiting expectantly and puts her warm nose to my chest in greeting, she knickers softly to say hello back, I give her a pat and go to get all the feed so that I can then begin getting them all cleaned up, wrapped and ready to be loaded onto the trailer.
It’s now 6 am I’ve washed 12 horses times 4 legs which makes 48 legs I’ve scrubbed and wrapped, but now we can finally begin the process of loading all of them onto the trailer. One by one we walk them up the ramp and coax them back into the stalls on the trailer, we lift and pull the hay nets looping them so that they don’t fall. When all the work is finally done our white show shirts are a bit of an off white (but that’s ok our show jackets will cover it) and we all jump down from the trailer, wave a final goodbye to our horses before we shut the door and head off to the show grounds.
Once we get to the show grounds it’s immediately go time I’m doing ten things at once putting my show coat on, tying my hair back, getting Darla’s bridle on, so that we can make it up to the ring on time. She’s all tacked up, I look her in the eye and whisper “we’ve got this” she just shoves her face into mine in response telling me to get a move on.
Darla’s hooves thudded the ground in an even beat, I sang row row row you boat to keep my mind clear and steady, all that mattered in that moment was this course and getting all the correct distances, I count down to each jump and smile each time we fly over them, the feeling never gets old going over a jump never gets any less fun and it never fails to bring a smile to my face. I guide Darla around the course, and finish with my closing circle, and it’s only then that I register the clapping around me and the smile my trainer and friends give me as I walk out of the ring while patting Darla’s neck for a job well done…
This is home because home is where the heart is and my heart is always with Darla (my horse), and my equestrian friends because of they joy they bring me everyday.