When both sides of your family are made up of horse people, it’s really hard to escape it. Luckily for my family, I never tried. Horses were just part of life.
(That’s my great grandmother, Nanny Myrtle, on my mom’s 16th birthday – Ginger was the first horse I sat on many years later.)
As I got older I started to appreciate the things I never had to beg for. I never had to fight for lessons, fight to get a horse, or another, or another. I never had to fight to go to an event. Hell, half the time my mom drove me to a track meet and we would meet Daddy with the truck and trailer at a horse thing later. My parents raised the bar on “supportive”.
Now, I don’t want you to think my ‘rents were rolling in extra cash – they weren’t. I didn’t come out the womb with a silver spoon, but that’s totally cool if you did. My parents just made our “horse life” a priority. It was something we did as a family. It taught me skills, kept me busy, and gave me an identity. We had nice horses, not fancy ones. And they usually came about in some strange way that ended with Daddy getting a good deal – problem horses with potential.
But eventually college happened.
And while I rode for Virginia Tech, the Daddy/Daughter late nights in the arena ended.
Then I went to work.
Then I moved away and got married.
Then I had a kid.
Even though I’ve continued to ride, judge some shows here and there, and root on the hubby at events – Mommin’ and horsin’ is tough.
But today was a good day. Sorta…
Munchkin and Momma went horse showin’!
And it didn’t come without its trials. Get ready…
First, I had to get ready by myself with a recently-turned three year old. Are you kidding me?!?! I’m trying to wash the horse while Munchkin’s taking a bath in a mud puddle. Thank God I packed extra clothes.
Back in the day I had a mommy AND a daddy getting me ready. Where the heck were they today?!?! Do they think their adult daughter has it together? She doesn’t. Pageant Moms – try being a Horse Show Mom. Got that covered? Try on Horse Show Mom that’s showing too…. Then we can talk. (PS my mom was once a pageant mom…she failed BIG TIME hahahahaha – but that’s for another time.)
So we’re ready. Horse is braided. We leave. We get to the grounds. I go to tack up….I left the freaking girth at home. Ya know, the thing that holds the saddle on… Kinda important. Had to load the horse BACK on the trailer and go back home to get it. I swear the horse looked at me and said, “You’ve gotta be kidding me…”
Get home. Grab girth. Drive back out the driveway with dust blowing in the wind and my mother-in-law trying to figure out what the heck is going on…
Return to show grounds. This time I didn’t have to pay money to enter, just pay with my pride as I sheepishly admit I’m a flipping idiot. Who goes to a horse show without their girth for Pete’s sake? (Side note: this may or may not be the only time this has happened to me…)
We unload. Journey’s braids have come out.
Good Lord in Heaven, are you trying to kill me?!?!?! I’m starting to regret this whole idea. I mean, here I am BY MYSELF trying to horse show. What an idiot.
I’m also thinking…At what point did my parents think it was acceptable to retire from show-parenting?!?!?! I mean COME ON. Who gave them permission? Can we revoke it?!
Anyway. I did have some help. Mommy-in-law showed up. My sis, with my precious niece on her FIRST BIRTHDAY! Hubs showed up too.
And Journ (the horse), oh how blessed I am to steal him from my father-in-law. And suddenly I’m no longer regretting my decision to be a Show Mom and a Horse Girl.
You see Journ is 21 now, but in his glory days he won a Reserve World in cutting. He has points in Hunter Under Saddle, can hop a fence, and is probably the most show-broke horse I’ve ever backed…and I’ve ridden some cool ones. Too cool for me to own, but crazy nice nonetheless. Journ still takes the cake. If you don’t win on him, it’s your own fault. (Aka, we didn’t win our first class and it was definitely my fault.) This horse is a machine. Even now.
He’s a little older, a little rounder, a little shaggier, but he’s out there showing you he’s still got it. And so do I. My horse girl is still in there, just buried a little deeper than I’d like.
Maybe we wouldn’t be successful at a big show now, and that’s ok. But when the judge comes up to you to tell you how fancy your guy is – you take the compliment and run. Somebody recognizes the old you.
Maybe it’ll be different when Munchkin is older. I hope so.
But for now, I’m good.
I’m good with going to a little show and coming home feeling like I must have just returned from World’s. I’m good seeing Munchkin refuse to be led in the leadline class – because he doesn’t need help. I’m good with ribbons. And fun. And having family there to watch.
One day, it’ll be different. And one day I’ll miss this chaos.
– Stilletos/Helmet Hair Don’t Care
PS, I backed the trailer into its tiny freaking home in my father-in-law’s barn on the FIRST TRY. I deserve a medal.