I’m a little slow to post this recap since a) there’s a lot to say and b) I went to the beach immediately afterwards and didn’t want to do this post on an iPad. Now that I’m back, here’s the breakdown of how things went, prepare for lots of pictures.
Joey is the chillest, most awesome baby horse, as usual. This was pretty much the theme for his first show. On Thursday night we started prepping by grooming him thoroughly then clipping him. Most halter horses have their legs, ears, bridle path and all facial hair clipped off. While I did have a moment of silence internally for his baby whiskers, I did decide to cut them. K, who taught the vet assisting class I took this spring, and I have become good friends this summer and I roped her into going to this show with me. She shows locally on a regular basis and does really well so I challenged her to her first breed show and she did great. That was an aside…I brought K up because she came over to help me clip Joey. I didn’t know how he would do, and thought having someone to hold him while I clipped would be ideal. Since K shows so much more than I do, she also clips a lot more often, so she did the clipping and I the holding. Which was 100% unnecessary. Joey basically slept while K did his ears (just took the scraggly edges off since he lives outside 24/7) and ground tied while she did his legs-which, I may need some advice on for the future. Where he’s white legged completely, it was hard to determine where to stop when clipping his legs without it turning into body clipping. We basically just clipped the hair around his coronet band, but we may need to do more next year. I did body clip his butt a few weeks prior to the show where it hadn’t shed out, and it blended in nicely since I did it so far in advance.
On Friday, K and company (her mom and uncle), arrived to load Joey and hit the road. I followed in my car so that we’d have a convenient way to dart around the horse center without unhooking the truck and trailer. Joey loaded easily once I lifted his foot and placed it on the trailer. He and I are going to have to make a point to work on the whole lifting his own feet thing. We stopped and checked on them going down the road a couple of times and Joey was just digging at his hay bag without a care in the world. We did joke that we were glad we put his fly mask on him so we couldn’t see if he had an alarmed look in his eye or not. In reality the fly mask was to keep any stray hay out of his eyes going down the road. We made excellent time on the way to Lexington until we got 16 miles from the horse center and traffic was at a standstill. Since Joey was on the back of the trailer, I watched for the first 35 minutes or so as his hay bag swung back and forth while he ate. When it stopped swinging and I didn’t hear pawing, I assumed he was napping. K confirmed this when she came to sit in my car with me for a few minutes before traffic started moving again. Apparently hauling doesn’t phase him at all, which is good, because it stresses me out.
When we arrived, K bleached the stalls quickly while I started carrying in buckets, shavings, etc. to get the stalls ready. K’s uncle, H, loves Joey, and unloaded him and walked him around while we were getting ready. We then stuffed both boys in their stalls and went to set up camp.
When we decided to camp it was just going to be me and K, but then the group grew, so we decided H would sleep in the horse trailer (it is his trailer after all) and K, her mom and I would sleep in a tent. Generally this wouldn’t be a big deal on Labor Day weekend in VA, but it was cold and wet this year. So K came prepared and brought a regular camping type tent plus a bigger one like one that you’d see at a family reunion. We put the bigger tent over the smaller one and that kept us dry all weekend. Unfortunately our campsite was right beside the highway, so there was some road noise that woke us occasionally, but we were “horse show tired” so it didn’t impact us all that much. H also brought a big tarp and we looped it over the horse part of the trailer and used stakes to create an outdoor living area, where they set up the grill and all of our food for the weekend. Had it not rained, we would’ve been perfectly comfortable sitting out there all day, but the weather kept us up in the barns with the boys or watching the shows. Luckily the spot we scored had a giant grassy area that made it feel like we were in our own little world. We’ll definitely grab this spot again next time despite the traffic noise.
And when I say shows, I do mean shows plural. While we were in the big coliseum, there was also a dressage schooling show (I originally intended to watch this, but it was outdoors in the rain…), an Andalusian show (that must’ve featured several breeds because there were also Friesians), a halter futurity, and an open show. The Andalusian show was in the East Complex, which is where I’ve shown previously, and where the showers were located. On Saturday, we went over to scope things out past the showers, and we found out that the freestyle dressage and costume classes would be that night, so we decided to come back later for that and we weren’t disappointed. While there were only a few freestyles, they were very well done and varied between Elsa from Frozen, to a tribute to the versatility of the breed (dressage vs. cow horse), and a patriotic type tribute by an 82 yr old woman. The song choice for the 82 yr old’s freestyle was an upbeat country song (that I can’t find because I can’t figure out what it is called or who by) and was complimented by having on a white wig styled in a mohawk. It was pretty country but oh so hilarious. The crowd really went wild for her. She won and Frozen came in second. The Frozen themed horse was completely gorgeous and we all giggled a little when the big brave stallion spooked when his rider tossed glitter off to the side.
Sorry, back to Friday. After setting up camp and having dinner down there, we went up to the stalls with our bathing and banding stuff. Luckily there were zero games horses entered, so they announced that the coliseum would be open to schooling until 11pm, which was exactly what we wanted. We decided to postpone bathing and banding and to take the boys on a walk about the coliseum. I took Joey on up with K and Cherokee, then she went back to tack up so she could ride a little. Joey talked a little bit and I mainly struggled to hold him still long enough to get him set up properly. Holding still is never a problem we have at home, but so many horses and distractions were in the coliseum. K gave me some advice and he and I got to a functional point where I could set him up while she jogged Cherokee around me. Several other people with babies were in the ring and their handlers offered to circle him like the judges do during the class, which was very nice of them. All of the other competitors were very friendly, but I’ll admit it was a bit intimidating that every other one seemed to be wearing an APHA Top Ten or World Champion jacket and/or belt buckle.
Joey was very quiet and lots of people complimented him for it, especially once I told them that this was his first time off of the farm. When we got back to the barn to bathe and band he stood tied while I bathed him, though he shuffled around a little when I hosed him…I can’t blame him, it was pretty cold. I tied him in his stall to dry and he pulled hay out of his hay bag for a while, then fell asleep tied. Show life is hard for a baby.
I banded his mane while he slept tied. A couple of times his head started to drop and he dunked his entire muzzle in his water bucket and jumped out of surprise. I’ll be honest, I laughed at him. After we bathed, banded, and wrapped them up in pajamas, we headed to the trailer/campsite to gather our shower stuff, then we drove over the East Complex to shower. All three of us ladies had lukewarm showers that night. It was also rainy and in the 50’s, so I blow dried my hair so I’d be more likely to stay warm. We were cold when we got in the tent, but luckily my sleeping bag and the blanket I brought along kept me warm enough. Getting out of bed Saturday morning before light was a struggle though.
We drove over to the barn first thing Saturday morning to give the boys breakfast so they would be done eating before we started getting them ready. Then we went to the East Complex to brush our teeth, get dressed, etc. before going to the barn to prep for showing. Joey and I were in the first classes of the day, and the show started at 8AM. We got Joey ready quickly and I got dressed, then we walked on up to the coliseum to practice a little before going in. His mind wasn’t in the game really, and now I know that next year I’ll get up earlier and try to get him up there and lunge him briefly before putting his show halter on so that he’ll have a little bit of a better attention span. He wasn’t bad, but standing still while set up was hard. Our biggest issue is that I’ve never had to correct him at home because he’s so well behaved, so being out where there were distractions meant it was harder to keep his focus.
In case you haven’t watched a halter class before, basically you walk your horse to the judges, if a mare or stallion, you show their teeth to prove they don’t have anything wonky going on there, then you trot to the cone and around to set up. Joey wasn’t terribly interested in setting up in his actual class, and I didn’t want to correct him too heavily in front of the judges, so I kind of just got him as good as I could and took what I was given.
So our first class of the day was supposed to be amateur stallions, but the announcer said that the Color Classic futurity was the first class to start off. I was briefly confused when I heard the announcement while at the barn, but figured I was in the first class either way, so I needed to hustle. They ran the Color Classic futurity for colts simultaneously with the weanling colts APHA class, as I suspected they would. There were only two weanling colts at the show. We ended up getting first under all four judges in the APHA weanling colts class and reserve champion in the futurity, which came with A NECK RIBBON (and $122)! I have no idea if I’ve ever posted about this before but I really have always wanted a neck ribbon.
Trotting to the cone, then we turned to set up.
After this class, I went to the gate person to ask what the situation was with amateur stallions and long story short, the lady working the office was a little inaccurate with things and didn’t send the sheet for the class to the announcer, so they said no one was entered. Wompwomp. They attempted to squeeze me in and run the class since it was just me. The judges proceeded to argue about whether or not the classes could be run out of sequence while I was standing there somewhat awkwardly with my saintly baby horse.
They finally decided that no, they couldn’t run the classes out of order. Okay, that’s fine, I just wanted to not be standing awkwardly near them while they discussed rules. So I didn’t get charged for that class, but I’ve since realized that I completely wasted some money paying for a rush amateur card for that one class. Oh well…
My next and last class of the weekend was tobiano halter, which is judged solely on color. I looked in the rule book prior to the show and it states “all ages” and “yearlings and up.” So I figured I’d just ask in the show office prior to entering and decide at the show. The lady in the show office said I could go in it, I just couldn’t receive points from it since he was a weanling. No big deal…
Well, after waiting around with a most patient baby horse for an hour, I went in the arena when they called for tobiano halter and fell in line with several aged horses, many of which I’d seen their owners wearing World Champion or Top Ten swag earlier, and thought, here goes nothing. Instead of doing the actual halter pattern, apparently all the entrants just walk in one after another and walk a giant circle around the judges, reverse, stop their horses and set up. Apparently I didn’t read THIS part of the handbook. I followed everyone else in and basically did Simon Says with the announcer and decided to take on a “fake it til you make it” attitude. I followed everyone around and reversed well, then stopped, and waited for the announcer to ask us to walk again, then after a few seconds I noticed all the other horses were set up. Well crap. So I started frantically setting Joey up, then they announced to show the judges our numbers, so I just stopped with what I had and showed my number…only to overhear them arguing about me again when I heard, “yearlings and up.” Whoops. Despite the fact that they weren’t looking at our numbers anymore, I just asked Joey to stand still because our fates were sealed at that point.
Luckily a friend of mine was ring steward, so she came over to deliver the news by saying she had good news and bad news. I’m thinking, good news, I got to show my horse and practice, bad news, I’m dq’d. It was more like, good news, your horse would’ve won, bad news, you’re dq’d. I was like, ha, you’re funny. And the judges started to join us to walk me out and were like no, your horse was first under two judges and second under the other two, I placed him first. Bring him back next year when he’s legal. ha.
So that is how I got dq’d for the first time at Joey’s first show. Good news, they didn’t charge me for amateur stallions OR tobiano halter, so my show bill was $166 and I won back $122. So outside of travel expenses, a very cheap show.
Overall I couldn’t have asked for a more well behaved baby. He only had two tantrums, once when I tried to get his attention and his baby brain was fried (Friday night when practicing) and once when I passed him to Kayla and ran into the show office to grab his ribbons. How dare I leave him with other people?!
Speaking of other people, K, her mom and H were great company on this trip and I’m so glad I took that class and met K. We’re looking forward to more adventures together! It was also great to meet the ladies that own Joey’s sire. They drove down from Northern VA to watch Joey show and it was very exciting to them because this is the first of Tanner’s babies to be shown. They seemed tickled to meet Joey after hearing so much about him. I talk to S, who shows/manages Tanner on a very regular basis, so it was really nice to see her again in person. The only other time we’ve met in person was when I briefly met her in a Cracker Barrel parking lot to receive the box of semen that I won that later became this handsome little devil.
K and Cherokee also did well. They went in two showmanship classes and got second in one and third in the other, then went in a few riding classes and got mostly seconds in those. She was really nervous about showing at this level, so having a positive experience was the goal that she achieved this weekend, plus she got her fair share of satin!
It was a really great outing and we had a lot of fun getting out there and showing our boys what this breed show thing is all about. I’m really looking forward to doing the yearling stuff with Joey next year and K is looking forward to showing in the ranch riding division now that we’ve watched it in person and know what to expect.
Of course we had to take one last picture of the boys together before we left. Due to Harvey down in Texas, gas prices were crazy. We got off at three different exits on the way home attempting to fuel up. The first was crazy expensive, the second had the pumps shut off because they were out of fuel and the third was the charm. We opened the sliding part of the rear door on the trailer and Joey looked out at the Christiansburg traffic and just munched on hay like it was no big deal. If he’s this quiet and consistent as a weanling, I really look forward to seeing how he grows up and what we can accomplish together.