Watch out world, this team is now mobile!
Well, we have the ability to become mobile.
Okay, Nautica and I now have some of the required equipment to potentially leave the property for competition and recreation pending Nautica’s ability to become really cool with some things he has notoriously had issues with in the past.
I purchased a horse trailer!
I’m just going to jump right in. One big difference between saddle seat and the sport horse disciplines is horse showing logistics. I learned this all at once last spring, one week before my first recognized horse trial when I ran out to purchase a wheelbarrow’s worth of stabling equipment, all but the wheelbarrow included… before promptly forgetting half of everything I needed at home.
In my experience, saddle seat and other “show horse” disciplines—with the exception of my beloved AOTs, or amateur owner-trainers—run more of a full-service operation in terms of horse shows. Typically, the trainer or instructor acts as the horse owner’s manager and takes full responsibility for the showing process from the animal’s preparation and turnout to ringside coaching and post-class cool-down. In these cases, riders only have to worry about what happens once their foot hits the iron at the mounting block. There are, of course, variances in owner involvement from barn-to-barn. For instance, the saddle seat barn I come from has a high level of hands-on horse owners, and these riders really take an initiative to make the horse showing process a supportive and fun team effort. However, the general theme seems to be that the barn provides the hauling and stabling supplies and also deals with the horse show management on the owner’s behalf.
Dressage and eventing shows I’ve found work a little differently. Even before show season begins, the sport horse disciplines tend to follow more of an independent process. Whereas saddle seat riders for the most part always ride under the careful instruction and supervision of a barn, dressage riders and eventers like to take more of a hands-on approach with their horses. Obviously, we all try our best to work regularly with an instructor or horse trainer, but in the world of dressage weekly lessons are oftentimes a luxury and much of our ridden work is done entirely on our own. While many of us do board with a barn that promotes our horse’s lifestyle and training, as far as competitions are concerned, we are horse show DIY-ers.
As for me, gone are the days of barn-provided equine transportation. I now supply my own buckets, tack racks, and stall cleaning gear. I fill out my own entries and for better or worse I make my own decisions on which classes to enter. I walk my own stadium courses, and nod to myself in feigned confidence when I walk a distance that measures a solid 4 1/2. Twice. “Yep, this is the fate I’ve chosen. This is how I die–In the 2’3 starter division against 12-year-olds.“
With my thoroughbred event horse, I was very lucky to have an amazing friend who let my mare and me tag along on road trips. Unfortunately, having a horse with Nautica’s specific issues, ride-sharing isn’t an option. So I got us a trailer.
Here’s to 2020, and a horse who at the age of 13 will hopefully, miraculously decide he’s chill with traveling in a giant rolling metal box.
Let the normal begin!