Sunday, October 14, 2007

Is there anything cuter than a bunch of horse crazy little girls? I don't think so.

I spent today, Sunday, at a little schooling show here in town with the 5 girls that I teach. Each Horse Show Mom confided how her anxious daughter couldn't sleep the night before. It wasn't fear of riding or jumping or showing, but sheer excitement. One mom told me that her daughter was so concerned that she'd be late that she stayed up almost all night, and then physically pulled her mother out of bed.

Each one of my riding students was a bundle of energy. As for me? By the end of the walk/trot classes I was dragging myself from horse trailer to backgate, my feet throbbing inside my paddock boots. By the conclusion of the crossrail division I was glancing at my watch and thinking, "When I get home, will it be time for a nap, or should I just take a hot bath and go straight to bed?"

The horse crazy little girls? They were still be-bopping around like crickets at the end of the long, dusty day.

Don't get me wrong; I had a great day at the show. My kids did well, but more importantly, each one got to practice what they'd been learning in their lessons. And they were safe and they had fun. But I was amazed at their youthful exuberance that lasted all day long. A day of horse showing was just so much fun!

When I related the day's experience, my good friend Debbie said, "Don't you remember when we were perfectly happy to get up on show days before sunrise and hitch up the trailer in the dark?"

Yes, I do. And I have a bittersweet fondness for those sleepless nights. I, too, would toss and turn, just aching for the alarm clock to announce that it was time to head off to a horse show while there was still dew on the ground. It was, indeed, a very special era of my life. But it's certainly not one that I could revisit. My aching feet wouldn't allow it.

Were you a horse crazy kid who couldn't sleep the night before a show? Are you still that way? Or are you now at the point in your life where you don't compete in any class that's scheduled before 10:00 a.m.? If you'd like to share your thoughts, click on the "Comments" link below or email us at: .


Anonymous said...

I have always been one of those girls who bounces off the walls before a show, and I don't think that will ever change! Shows are just so exciting that it's hard to calm down before the big day. I remember my first training one test in dressage when I was maybe 10 or 11. I set out letters on the family room rug and walked, trotted and cantered the course around and around until I was dizzy; I would NOT embarrass myself by forgetting the course. I proceeded to stay up all night dreaming about a blue ribbon, then got up as soon as there was a semblance of light outside and decked out my gelding, of course. Above all, I had an amazing experience that day!

Although I don't show much beyond schooling shows now, with all the demands of high school, those memories remain some of my favorites. And what's not to love? Prettifying yourself and the horse, testing and demonstrating all that you've learned, and having fun with friends, both human and equine: this all sounds fabulous to me!

HBhillbilly said...

Yes, I remember those sleepless pre show nights! Some of them I was even lucky enough to "sleep" in the same bedroom that you used to be in Cindy! Still covered with the adorable Thelwell wall paper, I imagined that someday I might be as good a rider as my famous cousins. I remember laying in bed hearing the buckets bang outside in the barn. Then I would try to get comfortable to go to sleep but that would send the JRT's on each side of me into a growling frenzy- so I learned to lay still ;D

The show day was always wonderful no matter how I did. You, Jill and your mom were so encouraging. I always felt great at the end of the day which left me wanting to do it over and over again(which we did over the years). You guys taught me so much about horses and through that I learned lessons about life.

Now I'm up most nights for one of six other reasons, but that's for another Blog...

I miss you Cindy! Thank you for all the horsey wisdom you have passed down to me. This is a great Blog, keep it up!

When you get a chance, give my boy a hug.


Anonymous said...

My daughter has literally drug us from one horse event to another this summer, I even found myself thinking Snow may be a nice relief! Ok, that is taking it a little far! However, she could go from one thing to the next as long as it involves a horse! Now if I could only get her out of bed in the morning with the same exuberance!

Cindy Hale said...

The image of a young aspiring dressage star practicing her test afoot is just too cute! Hmmm... How do I work that into a movie script or a novel?

As for the mom who's been dragged from one horsey venue to another by her daughter, well, that inspired another blog entry. I'm sure there are other Horse Moms who share the same sentiments!

And I'm glad to see that my cousin, who has moved to the other side of the country (almost) has taken her fond horse show memories with her.

It is true that even if we leave behind our competitive careers, the lessons we learn in the show ring-- or in preparing to enter the show ring-- stay with us forever. And I mean that in a good way.

Anonymous said...

Your blog about horse show jitters has instantly sent me into a replay of all my "night-before's" when I was a child.

I was indeed one of those girls who would get anxious and giddy over a schooling show. The day before was always a buzz of excitement waiting to get out of school so that I could go start the whole bathing, trimming and braiding process. I wouldn't say that my jitters came from being nervous about the show, but more of excitement and the thrill of that blue ribbon. Thankfully I had very supportive friends who would stay up late with me cleaning tack and dreaming. I wouldn't pass up those times for anything :-)

These days I have a pair of 2 year olds, and I am just starting to take them to shows for ogling experience (haha). Somehow, even with that, I still manage to find myself laying awake and dreaming.

Cindy Hale said...

I was also the type of competitor who wasn't "nervous" but excited about the prospects of showing. I, too, would lie awake and dream of winning a blue ribbon the next day. Or, if I were riding one of our green horses, I'd dream of at least staying on and not humiliating myself! As far as I'm concerned, there isn't any adrenaline rush that compares with entering the arena and performing on horseback in front of a judge and your peers.

Anonymous said...

Awww, I loved this blog. Thanks for bringing up such wonderful memories. When I was a kid showing my little POA gelding "Twister" I was always dressed and ready to go by the time my parents had gotten up. My school friends thought I was crazy for waking up so early so often in the summer, but they of course did not know what it was like to be horse crazy.

Horse show mornings are some of the best memories of my life....the excitement, the outfits, the friends, the competition, and of course the horses! I was in a very close-knit horse group where it seemed as though all of us girls took turns winning. It was fun to relish in our accomplishments together. Ahh how I miss those days!

EmmaK said...

I have ALWAYS been that way. Always. In fact, I stil am (I;m a teenager)! I just got a new horse (Talk of the Town, a.k.a Wally), and his first show is on Sunday. It's not even the day before the show, and I'm already nervous. I'm just praying that everything goes all right, and that we beat the girl with the 12,000 dollar pony. But I remember when I was 8, so nervous about the upcoming show/clinic and proceding to annoy my parents to no end, with eaither "drive faster", "mom, really, you NEED to get up - now!"