Monday, May 19, 2008

The Judge is Melting

I call this snapshot "Still Life of a Sweaty Judge."
Yesterday (Sunday) I judged a hunter schooling show in Pasadena, which is a lovely old town situated at the base of the foothills just outside Los Angeles. There's quite a contingent of dedicated riders in the area. In fact, this particular show ground is a stone's throw from the famous Flintridge Riding Club. That was the home of world-renowned hunter/jumper guru Jimmy Williams, for those of you from my era.
At any rate, making the day extra special was the fact that we're in the midst of a godawful heat wave. I kid you not, it's been over 100 degrees for almost a week. And it doesn't cool off much once the sun goes down. Needless to say, I sweated through much of the day at the horse show, even though I sat beneath a canopy of shade cloth and I was kept well-hydrated by the show staff. There were times when my pen wouldn't write on my scorecard. (Hmmm... Was that due to overspray from the arena sprinklers at lunchtime or due to the sweaty residue I'd inadvertently wiped across my clipboard?) At least it was a pleasant experience otherwise. The competitors were primarily novice riders mounted on good ol' school horses and well-trained packers. Since the participants were so enthusiastic, I made an effort to unstick myself from my chair and saunter out to the line-up to give a few pointers to the riders in the equitation classes. The management encouraged me to do so, and plus, it gave the faint breeze an opportunity to cool me off by evaporating the sweat that had collected at the back of my knees. I lost count of how many times I dashed off to the clubhouse's bathroom to sponge myself off with my dampened washcloth. Yes, it was that bad. Normally we all get used to this heat and live with it. But it came on so quickly that no one--- horse nor human--- had a chance to acclimate. And naturally, it's supposed to cool off and perhaps RAIN on Thursday or Friday. That's so typical of my life with horses.


Jessica said...

EW Yuck! Our summers are getting like that too here. Although, I feel SOO fortunate that we've actually had a Spring here in Charleston, SC - the first in years!! :-)
I just got done w/ a dressage schooling show that was in the pouring rain (albeit not cold.) Unfortunately, my Arabs were not thrilled about trouncing through puddles, and alas, forward was not in their vocabulary that day. Good spirited judges are always a blessing though in that environment, and mine was fantastic and incredibly encouraging.

I know you don't typically write on training tips or show tips (although I think a while back you wrote on some "Judging Pet Peaves"), but I'm about to take my Arab in a couple baby green hunter classes at a schooling shows in two weeks. I know Arabs aren't typically the desired mount in those classes, so do you have any pointers you'd be willing to write about? :-) Or perhaps some qualities in riders, or riders you've judged in the past that really impress you as a hunter judge?

Anonymous said...

Sorry if this makes you jealous Cindy, but here in IL i've woken up at 6am to a 40 degree temp that only goes up to a little bit over 60 degrees. I'm happy about the warmth in a way after that long cold winter! it was so cold here. Hope it cools off a little by you .

Anonymous said...

Here in Arizona it was 103 yesterday, and right now we have rain drops starting to fall! It's probably down somewhere around 85 to 90 right now, so I know how you feel (almost-it was only above 100 for two days)!

Cindy Hale said...

Ya' know, my sister would just die laughing, because no sooner will it cool off than I'll be complaining that I'm too cold! But honestly, I prefer cool weather. I can always pull on a sweatshirt or a jacket, but other than a tank top there aren't many clothing options to wear when you're riding and it's 90+ degrees!

JESSICA: Personally, I like Arabians, especially Polish Arabs. Keep in mind that in hunters (or any class, for that matter) you're being judged against the other competitors in the same class. So remind yourself to focus on being "the best of the bunch" to get a high score, especially over fences. But you gave me a good idea for a blog topic... or for an article for Horse Channel. So there will be more info soon on the question you asked. Thanks for the idea!