blog hop · showing

FCE Blog Hop: Favorite Prizes

Really nice blog hop from Fraidy Cat Eventing.

What is your favorite ribbon / prize / award that you’ve won in relation to horses? Is there a story behind it? Or was it a bucket list prize you’d been chasing for ages? It doesn’t have to be from a traditional horse show, and ribbons that are the favorite bc they are the prettiest are just as awesome as awards with a great story.

Here’s my favorite prize in a purely materialistic sense. At my old barn, the barn manager was a wonderful potter, and she would gift these amazing mugs as prizes in the schooling shows. I won this one for a combined test on Tristan. Not our most spectacular day ever, but I remember it as fairly workmanlike, which is basically our wheelhouse.
The mug in question, last winter.
I may have to think a bit more on this question, though, because I have a longer story about another ribbon. I need to get a picture of it and pull some photos together to tell that story, though.
fashion · showing

In Praise of the Show Bow: 3 Reasons They’re Awesome

Will today’s blog post be the most controversial one I’ve ever written and hit publish on? Stay tuned.

I enjoyed Lauren @ She Moved to Texas’s thoughts on how horse people always seem to be chasing the next trendy thing in tack. Someone in the comments made a disparaging note about how even show bows used to be the hot thing to wear.

I’m going to come right out and say this: I love show bows. I own one. I use it on a regular basis. (Well, I use it when I show, which doesn’t happen often.)

Yes, you heard that right. I love show bows.

Yup. Those things.

If you’ve somehow managed to avoid knowledge of this sadly misunderstood piece of showing apparatus, and its polarizing influence on equestrians, take a seat. I’m going to tell you why they’re awesome and then I will serve popcorn for you all to throw at me in the comments.

Here are three reasons I love show bows.

1. I don’t have to put my hair under my helmet.

My helmet doesn’t fit when I put my hair under it. It slides. It slithers. At the same time, it’s so tight it gives me a headache. I have to re-do it constantly. I have to use bobby pins, or double or even triple layer hair nets. Speaking of…

2. I only have to use one hair net when I use a show bow.

One hairnet to keep the side wispies in, then a pony tail, then twist the rest in the little lace holder and clip on the bow. BAM. Ready to enter the ring.

3. I think they can look really classy.

Specifically, I think they look nicer than hunter hair. Yes. I said it. I’m just horrifying people all over the place today, aren’t I? But think about it: they allow people with long hair to clip that hair up neatly and quickly. Done well, they have a simple velvet bow that blends right into the helmet, and the pouch part is basically a black hairnet. Having it attached all together reduces the chances of it flopping around.

There are bad apples in every bunch that ruin it for the rest of us.

Like people who wear this. This show bow is UGLY.
Yep, this one too. Blech.
But are you really going to tell me that flyaway hair is better than a show bow?

So, there’s my spiel. Does anyone out there wear one? Do you now want to set me on fire? Why do you like or dislike them?

dressage · showing · winter

The Great Migration

Trainer left for Florida yesterday. This picture is from the first set of horses leaving on Friday, who are shipped commercially in the huge shiny trailer you can see behind trainer’s four horse.
I’m always torn about this annual migration. On the one hand: it’s really sad to see everyone go, and it means that winter is well and truly on the way. I really like my trainer and her assistant trainer, and they always have great working students. I miss seeing horses in really high level work, every day, and there’s a fun buzz of activity around.
On the other hand, there’s a soft calming quiet that settles in once the “show barn horses” head to Florida. Our barn is only about 2/3 full during the winter, and it feels cozier and smaller. There’s less to worry about in terms of activity – all the dogs, all the horses going every which way, always hunting out the right parking spot. It goes from being a barn chock-full of fancy horses to being a barn of lesson horses with quirky, wonderful personalities. Some of them are very fancy, too, but I just feel like I fit in better with the quirky horses.
Does anyone else have a barn that empties – or fills – over the winter? Anyone else’s barn winter in Florida or elsewhere?

show planning · showing

The Grieving Process

So, Tristan has Cushing’s. I’m reading, and reading, and reading as much as humanly possible.

Today, I came across a new piece of information that I hadn’t had before.

Pergolide is listed as a banned substance on the USEF medications list. It can be considered a “therapeutic” drug, which means that it can be used under certain conditions:

– it must be used for a legitimate therapeutic use only, ie directly for treatment of a diagnosed illness;
– it must be withdrawn within 24 hours of competition;
– it must be stated with a report documenting therapeutic usage.

As best I can understand, this is because pergolide mimics dopamine in the equine system, which is what horses with Cushing’s are missing. Here’s an excellent COTH article outlining the biology at work.

I know that my chances of making it to a USEF/recognized show with Tristan were slim, but this dashes them entirely. I’m not willing to withdraw him from the medication in order to compete. There is an outside chance that I can rig the medication so that he gets it say 25 hours before a class and then immediately afterwards, or I can just show on it and keep my fingers crossed that he’s tested, but neither of those options is a good one.

I’m sort of unexpectedly heartbroken, all over again. I’d been slowly accepting that my hopes to show him were fading with age, opportunity, and my own funds, but it was nice to have that out there, to think that someday I might take him to a USDF show for the heck of it.