It was really hard to get out of bed on Saturday morning. On a day that I should have been filled with hope and excitement, I was overcome by sadness. I kept replaying the events over and over in my head and was trying to redirect myself back to the real me, but the same thing interrupted me each time... Why Lord...did his final hours have to be violent and fearful? I know he was an animal and not a human, but I loved him so. That part really stung.
It seemed to take an eternity to get ready. It was a bad idea to drink so much wine as I was now burdened with a headache that matched my heartache. Thankfully, I had laid out my clothes a few days earlier, so nothing was forgotten. The weather was unusually warm, which is a blessing when showing a young unexperienced horse, so I just put on my show clothes, minus my hat, gloves and the skirt. I put little effort into the bun at the nape of my neck, but it stayed put.
A text message sent out the night before warned my beloved 'sisters' that I needed some real support and a lot of hugs. The drive over to the Equestrian Center takes well over an hour and on my way, I tried to convince myself why I needed to change my attitude. I was getting to wear my new brown suit for the first time. I was debuting my boy Sport, not only for the first time, but aside as well. Both my husband and my youngest daughter Joy would be there to cheer me on... but nothing helped. My eyes were downcast ..as was my spirit.
The phone rang and on the other end was a God-send...one of my best girlfriends, Shar was on the line checking to see how I was doing. I started to cry, telling her how torn I was over what had happened and how I did not want it to distract me from my purpose of that day. Shar is one wise woman! She told me that I was a business woman as well as an animal lover and I knew how to compartmentalize ...and that is exactly what I needed to do. Focus on the task at hand. She told me that by doing that I was not dishonoring my love for KC, but giving full respect to the animal that needed me the most that day ~ Equusport....and then she went on to say a prayer for me. I still cried, but when she was done, I felt a new life come over me and it was as if someone had lifed not only my spirits, but my chin as well. Before we hung up, she actually had me smiling. Aren't girl friends the BEST!!!
I got to the showgrounds just before the classes started. My class was not scheduled until mid afternoon, but I wanted to be there to help and to visit with friends I only get to see at these shows. I used to feel really self conscience about wearing my skin tight riding pants around in public, the same ones I wear under my riding skirt and what I take my lessons wearing. I still cringe a bit when I see myself captured in a picture.. but am trying to get over it. Here are a couple forwarded to me by photographer Cathy Ruby:
As I made my rounds and got so many hugs, my mind turned towards showing Sport. I was so very excited, yet quite anxious as well. My goal was not for a specific ribbon, but for a perfectly clean ride. In the case of a walk and trot only class, that just means no blow ups.
Pio is the Bluebonnet groom that rides all the young horses. In fact he was showing a very young horse later that day...and he won. I asked Pio if he would not mind taking Sport into the ring at lunch, keep him off of the rail to mimic how I would ride him, go both directions and then line him up. Joy had arrived by then, so I asked her to go into the stands and walk around and make noise. I placed myself in the announcers booth which stood high above the ring and next to the stands. Sport did everything asked of him without incident...and looked quite cute doing it. I was happy and you would think this would have settled my nerves... but not... ha ha..
TASHA is one of my favorite shows. They put so much effort into making sure the exhibitors are pampered..and one of those things is to have a catered lunch, free of charge for all... exhibitors and their family and friends there to cheer for them. Joy and I headed over to get something to eat. I nibbled at things that I thought would stick to me... like bread, mac and cheese.. things not normally on my diet.. you know - Starchy! It tasted good and felt good though. Announcements were made about the upcoming Pin Oak Charity Horse show, wonderful prizes were given away.. like bottles of wind and hand painted ornaments.. sadly I did not win one.
After lunch it was a countdown to my class. I went into the dressing room and put on the rest of my show clothes. Here is my new suit:
These 2 pics also taken by Cathy Ruby...
Love this back view of the draping when the skirt is buttoned up.
I did not want to spend too much time in the warm up arena. Seems that more incidents happen in the warm up ring than the show ring! Actully since he was already warmed up by Pio, I wanted to trot him from the stall area right into the ring.. but I was out voted for that move.
Mouting in the 1890's style habit is quite an event all on its own, not to mention I had never done it on Sport. It consists of placing a 3 step mounting block on top of a tack trunk. Genius idea from Sandy was to put a blinder hood on Sport! 3 grooms helped me. One at Sports head, holding the reins, one at his right side, pushing him over to the tack trunk and making sure he did not move and the last one helping me to get my behind up on the tack trunk so I could climb the mounting block stairs to get high enough to just sit atop the sidesaddle, hook my right leg over the head and place my left in the stirrup. There are a few seconds where I am completely helpless in this process, but it enables me to get my skirt in the perfect position to not only lay right, but to not disrupt contact with the saddle heads when I ride, which is imperitive!
Kari Ann is the trainer helping us at this show since Sandy was not there. She led Sport into the practice arena only after the academy riders were in the ring, which was the class proceeding mine. Sport looked around, but did not feel tense at all. Wish I could have said the same thing for me. I was so stiff and nervous.
..to be continued..