Well, it has been almost a month since Tango and I went to the horse show, so I guess I’m recovered enough to blog about it.
1:00 p.m. Arrive at barn. Wash horse, shampoo and condition his mane and tail. Spray him liberally with Show Sheen (see previous note re: blinding judge). Polish his hooves.
2:00 p.m. Braid his mane.
2:40 p.m. Attempt to braid his forelock. Discover he has a severe phobia about having his forelock braided. This in spite of the fact that he loves having his forehead rubbed and his forelock fooled with. Apparently braiding is a very different and far scarier proposition than fooling.
3:40 p.m. After an hour of being flung around the barn during attempt to braid stupid, idiotic forelock, end up with a mild case of whiplash some blunt force trauma injuries and horse who needs to be bathed again due to layer of sweat. Forelock is now tangled and showing signs of wear. Horse has decided his entire head is off limits.
3:42 p.m. Decide that unbraided forelock may be secret signal to judges that he/she is viewing an entirely unruly horse.
3:50 p.m. In a fit of pique, decide to shave horse’s forelock off. Get talked out of that by Robyn, barn owner, who speaks in careful voice, similar psychiatric nurse. Decide that tomorrow will glue hair to horse’s head using powerful human hair styling products.
4:20 p.m. Drive horse to show.
4:50 p.m. Unload horse. Put him in stall.
5:22 p.m. Stand staring, dumbstruck, at extremely fancy horses from Victoria being ridden in warm-up rings. Realize that several of them cost more than our truck, trailer and horse combined. Feel intimidated. Wish was at home in bed. Wish horse’s forelock was braided. Call home to leave self reminder to bring Joico Ice Mist (circa 1990) and large bottle of Aqua Net Superhold to show the next day.
5:33 p.m. Feed horse dinner.
6:40 p.m. Ride horse for brief period after fancy horses have left ring. Feel slight return of confidence because horse is well behaved. Horse is apparently quite exhausted after battle to protect his forelock’s independence.
7:20 p.m. Hang out with horse until nightfall. Then return home to get a good night’s sleep before show.
10:00 p.m. Arrive home. Clean tack. Lay out show clothes. Premake coffee. Set alarm.
10:45 p.m. Retire to bed.
11:30 p.m. Wonder where sleep is.
12:42 p.m. Wonder what sleep is doing and whether sleep is having fun.
1:56 a.m. Still no sign of sleep.
3:45 a.m. Roll around in bed in mild panic.
4:30 a.m. Finally sleep arrives. Presumably.
5:00 a.m. Wake up to alarm. Shower. Put on heavy makeup. Not sure why applying so liberally. Quantity of blusher suggests I may be confusing horse show with fifth grade play in which I played the girl who wears too much rouge.
5:25 a.m. Head to show grounds.
5:40 a.m. Arrive to find horse with large wound on his forehead to which his unbraided forelock is cemented with congealed blood. Apparently he’s been visiting neighbors over the bars and doesn’t get along with one of them. Or, as an experiment, he stuck his head through the bars to see if it would fit and discovered it didn’t, really.
6:00 a.m. Finish sponging off horse’s head and applying antibiotic ointment. Hope horse doesn’t have a concussion. Just in case he does, try braiding his forelock again. Find self slammed against stall wall. Horse’s possible brain injury hasn’t affected his short term memory.
6:10 a.m. Having fed horse, huddle in tack stall drinking coffee and trying to control urge to vomit.
6:45 a.m. Begin using assortment of hair products to glue horse’s forelock against his head. Soon horse looks like Squiggy or Marc Anthony. His greasy, stringy forelock refuses to be tucked anywhere. Give up on forelock.
7:10 a.m. Tack up and then retreat into tack stall to put on new show clothes.
7:15 a.m. Feel regret on many levels at the need to wear white breeches in public.
7:18 a.m. Put hair into hair net. Wish was at a job as a line cook in a diner. At least then a hair net would make sense. As if horse is going to notice if my hair is messy. I mean, look at his forelock! If anyone should be wearing a hairnet, it’s horse.
7:20 a.m. Lead horse from barn, admit that he’s quite handsome and more shiny than average.
7:28 a.m. Warm up. Find we have huge indoor arena to ourselves! A miracle! The powers that be want us to survive this horse show. Horse is very agreeable while practicing test. Decide to go with “slow but sure” as the theme of our first test in twenty years.
8:06 a.m. Bell rings and we enter at A. Feel overpowering urge fall off thanks to violent stress-induced stomach cramps, but decide not to because of risk of falling on whipper in, who never did anything to me.
8:10 a.m. Test is half over. Realize we are going to survive it. Give prayer of thanks that we asked Joey, trainer and horse masseuse extraordinaire, to call the test because these was a movement in it we weren’t expecting. That three-loop serpentine was a total surprise!
8:11 a.m. Test over. Salute. Finally realize that at least eight or nine wonderful and supportive friends have arrived to watch. Pat horse four hundred times and feel tremendous love for husband as he takes approximately seventy-five-hundred photographs. Glad to be alive. Glad to be done the test.
9:32 a.m. Do it all over again. Only difference is, get order of riders mixed up and find self and horse quite some distance from ring when bell rings and name is called. End up trotting into ring entirely unprepared. But pull it together. Horse gives another very slow but steady performance.
9:39 a.m. More applause from lovely friends and family. Several pounds of treats for horse. Show is officially over for us!
12:04 p.m. Time to bring horse back home. Horse has other plans. Horse has decided that all those people gathered around giving him praise are right. He is a bit of a superstar! Like Johnny Depp, only with even messier hair and smellier boots. Therefore, horse refuses to get in trailer even though horse has been going in and out of trailer at least once a week for years. Horse makes quite a production about it, embarrassing owner. Many people watch and pass judgement on horse and owner. Eventually, four kind souls (Robyn, Rose, Pam and Colleen) from horse’s barn convince horse it’s time to go and we drive off.