I designed a cow costume for a very compliant pony hunter in my trainer's barn. My victim? A pudgy gray mare named Amanda. I made my own pattern, holding tracing paper up to Amanda's body and measuring with a tape as I went along with a felt-tipped pen. Then I cut and sewed and glued felt together, also attaching wide strips of elastic to the "cow legs" so that Amanda could step into her "cow pants." The mask was the best part, as then Amanda was truly a cow and not a pony.
My trainer, Susan, dressed up like a farm girl. She borrowed a big brass cow bell from her neighbor and hung that around Amanda's neck, and then carried a real life baby calf bottle.
When it came time for the costume class, we all gathered at the back of the show barn to put the finishing touches on Amanda's get-up before she went into the arena. It was a melee of people wielding scissors, yarn, needles and thread and a very gooey hot glue gun. That's when this snapshot was taken. (You'll have to forgive the port-o-potty in the background, but then, what's a horse show without its port-o-potties, right?)
The class was huge! But Amanda was the only horse or pony wearing a costume from head to tail. That, apparently, disturbed the other entrants because as Susan led her into the arena there was much snorting and prancing and whirling. Poor Amanda! We could see the expression in her big brown pony eyes through the cut-outs of her cow mask. She looked as if she were saying, "Hey, it's just me: Amanda. I've been competing here all week. What's wrong with you guys?"
Obviously, Amanda was unaware she'd been transformed into a cow.
Fortunately the other four-legged entrants soon calmed down. I think they all acclimated to the bizarre outfits of all the other equines and figured it was simply the silliest darn horse show class they'd ever participated in.
When the awards were announced, Amanda had won. I was so happy! Even though I wasn't able to ride in the championship show that year, I was still able to participate, even if it was on the sidelines, and even if it was as the costume designer to the cow pony.
However you celebrate, I hope you have a happy, safe Halloween!
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