Friday, August 2, 2013

Horse Show Prep: I Don't Have Enough Wine For This!

Have you ever noticed how horse shows are a lot like labor?  After they are over you forget how truly painful they can be and start thinking it wouldn't be such a bad idea to take another stab at it.  I was thinking about that tonight as I helped the kids get ready for tomorrow's show.  Both kids are showing: Noah is riding The Sainted Mare and Sophie will be piloting James. 

You'd think that since the kids are the ones who are riding that they'd be doing all the work and I'd be sitting around, glass of wine in hand (something white, as that's my summertime go-to beverage) and overseeing the preparations in a purely supervisory role.  You'd be vastly wrong.

After their lesson they brought the horses into the wash stalls for s pre-show shampoo.  Simple, yes? Not so much.  I was sitting on a tack trunk gabbing with our trainer when I casually glanced over and noticed James was getting soaped up although much of his body was still dry.  "Soph, he needs to be wet before you add the shampoo.  You know, kinda like when you wash your hair?"  The blank look I got informed me the message wasn't going through.  "Soph, hose him down, all of him, before you start to wash him." 

She proceeded to get him wet, but only his body.  "Soph, you have to do his mane and tail, too."  Again with the 1000 yard stare.  I took a deep breath and counted to 10.  "Soph, get his mane and tail wet.  Just like you do in the shower with your hair when you wash it."  For whatever reason she understood me this time and did what i told her.  James looked over at me gratefully.  I looked over at the next wash stall.  Sugar's mane was half wet, half dry as the Sahara. "Noah, did you hear what I just said to your sister?"  The slack-jaw and blank look let me know a little repetition was in order.  My trainer, who had stood silently through all this, started laughing at this point.  She knew I was in for a long night.

About 20 minutes later I wandered down to check on Noah and Sug.  He was washing her tail.  At least, that's what he thought he was doing.  He was standing a few feet from her side with her tail held out between them, and he was running a soapy sponge up and down sections of her tail.  She had her head turned as much as the cross-ties would let her and was watching him with a bemused expression on her face.  "Noah, what in hades are you doing?? You wash her tail like you wash your hair!"  I then showed him how to wet it and massage the shampoo in.  I also showed him how to swish the skirt around in a bucket of clean, soapy water.

Seriously, I'd gone over this stuff with them a zillion times before, and they've certainly seen me doing it a lot.  I think it's like that Murphy's Law thing that says every time you need to print out a report for an important meeting, the printer/copier/computer breaks down.  You know, things go wrong in proportion to how badly you need/want them to go right.  About this time I turned to see what Soph was up to.  A soapy James was standing quietly in the wash stall.  Alone.  No little girl in sight.  "SOOOOOOO-PHIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEE!"  Turns out she'd gone off in search of a towel and gotten distracted by some of her barn friends.  I told her if she disappeared again before he was sparking and her tack was pristine that she wouldn't have a cell phone until she graduated college.

I sat back down on the tack trunk and counted to 10, then 20.  A friend of mine, mother to one of Sophie's barn buddies, commented that she'd never realized how much work went into show prep.  "Yeah, well, it goes a bit quicker if you're not dealing with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb," I drawled.  Hmmm, Mom's getting snarky.  Might be time for an attitude adjustment.  Time for another glass of wine? 

Sadly, the answer was no to the wine, as while the kids cleaned tack I needed to do a bit of touch-up clipping, wrap Sug's legs, and braid the portion of her mane that lies on the left side over to the right so it looks somewhat organized tomorrow.

"Mom, where's my show pad?"  "I dunno, where'd you leave it?" 

"Mom, where do we put our stuff?" "Well, if your goal is to use it at the show, you might consider how you are going to get to the show and start with that."

"Mom, should I bring my girth?" "Only if you want to stay on the horse, sweetie."

By the time we'd finished, I was practically twitching with the effort to remain calm and fantasizing desperately about a tropical island with no signs of children or horses and a cabana boy who brought me wine and rubbed suntan lotion on me.  I made the kids go through about 15 "final" checks to make sure we had everything.

"Mom, we've got it all.  Everything is on the trailer!"

We'd only gotten half a mile down the road before we had to turn back and get the crop, spurs, and girth they'd forgottenIt should be an interesting show tomorrow.  Any bets on how long it will be before I say, "Gee, let's go to a horse show!" again?

1 comment:

  1. You made me smile tonight reading this. Been there done that but daughter is almost able to do it all herself now at 15.75 years old...and I'm starting to miss it already!