Becoming a horse show husband

In Opinion

There are many different types of horsey riding people out there…mine, is of the dressage variety! This meant that I had to eventually brave the dreaded horsey competition…looking back, I wasn’t ready.

First of all, competition days are long with very early starts. I am never ready for early mornings no matter how good a horse husband I’m trying to be! Normally during the week I am the first up and out the door before Sam has even snoozed the alarm. Weekends are a very different matter. Mornings had no place in my weekend plans until the equine infestation!

I have found that competition days tend to start with a firm kick in the leg followed by a rude shove out the bed and some, rather uncalled for, abuse about being lazy. IT’S 5 O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING!!!!! Not the best way to start the day.

Looking at it now, this may have been a shock tactic that Sam employed to make me more open to suggestion. It explains why, when I eventually managed to focus, I found myself with a mountain of tack on my lap and a cloth in my hand! Something to keep me busy on a long journey I suppose.

The tack, cleaned and inspection passed, was put to the side just in time for us to pull up at the venue. Despite what, in my opinion, was still an ungodly hour of the morning, there was already a fleet of wagons and horse boxes parked up with an army of people milling about. Who’d have thought there were so many people mad enough to get up so early and already be here!! There was no time to stand watching though…now the serious business began.

With the horses unloaded and the time till the first test running out I got to the horse husbands number 1 job at a show….holding things! Horses, nets, water, phones, helmets, jumpers, jackets, polos…anything you can think of I had to hold it. I began to look like the old buckaroo game! With tensions running high it was best to keep my head down and keep on holding.

The time for the first test arrived. Out Sam trotted on Crunchie, the tack gleaming beautifully. The announcer came over the tannoy…”Next into the arena is Sam Lofthouse on Dancing Diamond.” Who the hell is Dancing Diamond?! “Sam has just returned from New Zealand where she has been breading pygmy goats for the last year.” Wait….what?! I hadn’t known Sam long but I’m pretty sure she’d have told me that…wouldn’t she??

I later found out that horses, like celebrities… have a stage name! How confusing. And apparently Sam knew the announcer, he always made up a story about her! So far she’s been a sheep shearer, a pygmy goat farmer and played in a famous brass band!

Round the test she went, looking very calm and serene. Kelly, Sams sister, next to me was deadly silent apart from the occasional squeak at something I must have missed. Finally, she walked down the centre line and it was over. I know I’m not an expert of dressage but she stayed in the square and it didn’t look like Sam was doing much…that was good right?? Wrong. Once out of the arena there was a few…frustrated words, which I won’t repeat! I decided it was best to stand quietly out the way.

After a short, but tense, break it was time for test 2. I decided it was time to give Crunchie a pep talk…motivate him a bit more, “Focus, visualise the win”. Back into the arena they went. Sam calm and serene again, the silence broken only by Kellys squeak. It looked the same to me so I could only assume me giving the horse a pep talk didn’t work. How wrong I was! Despite what looked exactly the same, Sam was beaming and won the class. I have so much more to learn.

So, the moral of the story is, I don’t know anything about dressage. Oh…and try to read the emotions of your partner before commenting on a test!!!


Originally posted to The Horse Husband

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