Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Season

Considering that in June of 2012 I we could barely get Prairie around a course of trot poles at a schooling show, I would have never guessed that 2013 would have brought such a fabulously entertaining (and educational) show season. (not to mention enough ribbons to wallpaper a small room)

I also wouldn't have guessed that I was going to dive head first into the Hunter world with such gusto (checkbook and tailored sportsman's firmly in hand...).

But it's been a very enjoyable experience.  I've found that some of the things about Hunter Land that seemed so unappealing as a wild-teenage-eventer are actually not so bad as a significantly less wild thirty year old with bad knees and a cranky back. 

The beautiful $$$$ horses are fabulously entertaining to watch, the fancy stall set ups are not only wonderful when you're exhausted, but fun to put together and organize.  The obscene amount of ribbons help ease the pain of entry fees and the pursuit of relaxation and rhythm are something this girl can get behind.

Of course everything seems more rewarding and fruitful when you're winning, so Prairie's impressive twelve (what?) tri-colors over the season have certainly helped indoctrinate me.
2013 Tri-Colors *minus* hideous novelty color ribbons.
I was rearranging my ribbon walls in the garage to accommodate her latest haul and was hit by the fact that everything that's (proudly) tacked up is the result of essentially one season of showing.  There are a few ribbons from November 2012 (most of them default for last place, ha) and a couple from our early dressage outings last summer - but for the most part the loot in our trophy room garage is all the result of Prairie's 2013 run. 

I will spare myself the agony of calculating how much that satin cost me per yard, since that's neither helpful nor uplifting - but instead focus on how lucky I am to have put a season like this together and to try to not take it for granted.

It's so easy in the moment to be constantly assuming that there will be a next show, or a next season or a next five seasons - and while I'm the first one to write down goals and constantly have the next step in mind (3'6" A/O's... 3'6" A/O's...) The past month of nursing both Prair and Gus a bit more than I'm used to is all it takes to remind me how fragile our competitive aspirations are.

Lameness.  Life.  Money.  Family.

The amount of stars that have to align to even get to the point of sending in an entry form and walking your horse on the trailer is sometimes dizzying.  As I was rearranging ribbons and moving horse crap around the garage The Boy asked me "um, where are all the ribbons from next year going to go?"

My first thought was "crap, we're almost out of ribbon walls." 

But my second thought was "who knows if there's a next year."

I don't mean to be overly morbid, but I do think it's realistic never to plan too far in advance when you're relying on the participation of a giant, easily broken animal.  Overlay that with my own ailments and conflicts, and it's a miracle we even eek out our weekly lessons.

In that spirit, I'll impede on the current Blog Hop post a bit and put something out in the universe:

We're aiming for a trip to HITS Thermal this winter.

I always told myself that I wouldn't travel (or rather I wouldn't travel, travel) for a show until I was reasonably competitive in a rated division.  It's always just been hard for me to justify the time, money and stress of the BIG shows to play around at 2'3" or 2'6" or Training level Dressage.

But, as S planted the seed of "just think about going down to the desert" in my head, I began to have thoughts....

Who knows how long I'll get to enjoy showing Prairie.  Who knows if/when kids will crop up and exponentially complicate showing.  Who knows if in a few years I'll still have the flexibility at my job to up and leave for a couple weeks.  Who knows?

So, while I doubt that Prair and I will have confirmed our right to strut in the 3' AA ring by January - if she's sound, and I'm able, we're going to make hay while the sun shines even if it's in the baby leagues.


  1. I have so enjoyed reading about your showing adventures this year. :) And if you do make a trip to HITS, we expect proper photos and blogs. :)

  2. YAY!!! I love it! Just like Karen just said....I've loved this year for yall! And you know, we have to think about things realisitcally and you hit the nail on the head. I thought the same thing when I was deciding whether or not to take Olivia to Warrenton. We only live once. And they only live once. And life in our next years will no doubt be more complicated than they are now. I'm only a tiny bit younger than you but feel like I am kinda in a similiar life stage. We need to not take for granted the gifts we have :). Great post! Love her ribbons, they are all WELL deserved!!

  3. Wooooooooooo!! Thermal!!!!! You guys have worked hard to have a great year and you deserve every ribbon.

  4. Congrats on all those ribbons. I loved reading this post. :)

  5. I've always loved what great care you've taken with your ponies. You always put them first. Congratulations on all the ribbons! Wish I could have gotten out to see another show post baby and pre-move. Miss you! (OH, changed my profile name since I'm no longer Denali's mom. Kid isn't as exciting to blog about but we're trying. Luckily he hasn't tried to kill me...yet.)

  6. That's so exciting and awesome! HITS Thermal has always been something I've wanted to do even as a not-really-exactly a hunter rider. And I'm so jealous of your ribbon haul this year, it's quite impressive, Prairie has come a long way!

  7. That would be awesome! Can't wait to live vicariously through you!

  8. Impressive haul, and HITS sounds exciting, and very blog worthy. You are right, its not a sport to plan too far ahead in, but its always fun to dream and tentatively plan :)

  9. What a year you've had and it's great to see you keeping everything in perspective & your feet firmly on the ground. Thermal sounds awesome & I completely agree with making hay while the going is good.
    Keeping everything crossed that all continues to go well with all beasties and yourself!

  10. :D I love keeping up with you guys. I vote yes to HITS!! What a blast.

  11. That's super exciting! I think that's a good mind set to have

  12. How exciting!! HITS!!! Ill love vicariously thorough you too :)

    It's awesome to see how far you guys have come!!

  13. Long time reader, maybe first time commenter? Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for writing so thoroughly and candidly about your show season this year. IHSA hunters was my first exposure to horse showing of any kind, and it left me with a bad taste in my mouth - girls not pinning because their legs weren't long enough, wearing knockoff breeches, etc. I'm now happily an eventer and never going back, but I've loved watching your journey and seeing how happy you are in hunters, plus I'm learning a lot about REAL hunters! Thanks for changing my mind about it, congratulations on this year and good luck next year!!

    1. Ha. speaking from my own experience, IHSA is about as far removed from normal showing as underwater basket weaving. :)

      Always glad to provide a different perspective on the Hunter ring, it's not nearly as scary as I thought it would be!!


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