Archive for Wednesday, June 21, 2000

Horse show proves to be hair-raising experience

June 21, 2000

When I decided to show my Haflinger pony just for the fun of it on Sunday, I had forgotten how much hard work "just for the fun of it" takes.

To a spectator, my undertaking was a 5-minute halter class that I paid $5 to enter.

If only it was that simple.

I spent at least a week fretting over whether or not I wanted to enter Waldo in the pony halter class. What if we got last place? What if a cute little girl in pigtails beat us with a shaggy, Shetland pony? Do I really want to be seen wearing a cowboy hat?

When I made the decision that it would be fun, I spent the next week borrowing show clothes, a show halter and even a horse trailer. I provided my own boots and, of course, the horse.

OK, besides the actual grooming of the horse, I was ready.

Wrong.

The first 100 times I read down the show bill, I did not notice that Waldo would need to be accompanied by his coggins test a blood test. In what seemed like an emergency to me, I called my vet and arranged for Waldo's blood to be drawn and for the test results to be returned before the show.

Now I was completely prepared.

Nope.

It turns out that Waldo thought walking and trotting in a straight line besides me was beyond his ability. After two days and a little bit of progress, I started hoping that beautiful grooming would make up for any performance flaws.

Oops.

I used to be skilled with a pair of clippers that was a long time ago, obviously. There are not too many parts of a horse that need to be clipped legs, face, ears. I managed to make three of his legs look worse than a five-year-old child with a self-given haircut. Maybe the judge wouldn't look down.

On Sunday morning, I hooked up the truck and trailer, drove down U.S. Highway 59 without lights (another oversight of mine), and arrived at the show quite a bit later than I had planned. But I've never been to a horse show that started on time.

This one did.

Fresh out of the trailer, we entered the show ring, and I had to admit that Waldo looked beautiful. Maybe we wouldn't do so bad.

Well ...

Waldo walked and trotted perfectly. And he stood perfectly still in line except when the judge made her circle around us, when he danced a jig and whinnied to the other horses. I didn't care. I was so proud of him, and I accomplished what I set out to accomplish I had fun.

I didn't win, but at least I didn't get beat by a cute, little girl with a shaggy Shetland pony it was a boy.

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