Field Trip No. 008 | The Middle of Nowhere

What began as waiting to see if any photos surfaced from a show I attended several weeks ago, I got busy and discouraged and subsequently fell off the face of blog-land, but Hi, Hello, Welcome.  I didn't really mention it in my last post, but after our local show in August didn't go so well, I decided to drive 2.5 hrs to attend another show the next day in a neighboring province.  It was a teeny-tiny 4H type show somewhere I had never even been before, but it seemed like a good schooling opportunity and the likelihood of knowing anyone there was slim at best.  


I loaded up and hit the road the following morning around 7:45 Alberta Time and finally located the Show shortly after 10:30 AM Local Time.  The grounds were described to me as "a short distance out of town, about 10-15 minutes" but it was actually more like 30-45.  They were not taking pre-registration and riders were supposed to register by 10:00 AM but I had previously spoke to the organizer and she said she could slot me in whatever classes I wanted when ever I got there.  It had been drizzling off and on and the grass that surrounded the grounds was tricky to navigate but luckily I was able to park comfortably before unloading and walking over to see out the arena and check in.  The Show Office was empty so I wandered to the announcers booth where a rather brisk woman promptly told me I was too late to sign up.  Luckily, once I explained I had already spoke to one of the organizers previously, she huffed and shoved some paperwork in my face before taking my money and walking away.  I pushed her attitude far from my mind (or at least, I tried to) before walking back to my trailer to see how Sierra was settling.


As I began moving things around in my trailer, I realized my Show Coat, which I thought was in my trailer, was not.  Luckily, Show Clothes were not necessarily required however I have always been of the mind set that turn out is important so I was a little disappointed.  Sierra was calling to every horse she saw in the distance in between aggressive bites on her hay net and continually swung her butt left and right, occasionally pawing.  Her anxiety was making me nervous, so I decided to go watch the show for a while. Upon making my way over towards the In-Gate, I saw a few ladies I recognized as they often come to the shows I run.  We chatted and watched for some time, before I headed back to my trailer.  Sierra had settled some, so I gave her a brush before making my way to the canteen for lunch.


The English was supposed to begin around 12:30 but having more entries than expected, they were significantly behind.  As the early afternoon approached, the weather took a turn.  The wind picked up and we were quickly covered in black, angry clouds full of precipitation.  Along with forgetting my show coat, I realized I also did not bring any sort of Blanket for Sierra.  I pondered putting her back in the trailer while we waited out the storm, but instead I dug through my box of stock items and found a discontinued rain sheet.  It happened to be hot pink and Sierras colour, so feeling sorry for her being pelted by sideways rain, I refilled her hay net and threw the blanket on before retreating to the comfort of my front tack room.  By now, the show had come to a screeching halt and everyone could be found cantering across the slick grass to their trailers seeking cover.  I climbed up on the bed and considered calling it a good learning experience and going home.  


Just as the skies seemed to lighten and hope was restored, the show would begin again before opening back up and ending things again.  I had finally decided I would go home but I didn't particularly want to do so in this rain so I waited it out.  By 2:00, the sun peaked through and I decided I wasn't ready to give up just yet so I hauled out my tack and began getting ready.  By now, Sierra was standing quietly with a leg cocked, but by the time I had tacked up and gotten ready, she was getting anxious again.  During the rain storm I had been texting two friends (who were also hiding out from the weather) and they decided to tack up at the same time.  I was ahead of them and as soon as my butt hit the saddle I felt Sierra tighten up her back (unusual for her) and she refused to stand still so I got her feet moving. Once we began moving about on the grass she settled and remained quite ridable at the trot, however I wasn't willing to canter on the sloppy footing.  By the time I had ridden Sierra down to a satisfactory level, my friends were on and we continued to ride around together, chatting casually and waiting for our classes to begin.  


There was no warm up space besides the grass around the trailers, but we did get about 2 minutes in the show ring before the class began. Sadly, it really wasn't enough time for more than half a long side of trot before we were asked to leave only to be put right back in, but at least Sierra got a chance to see things before the class began.


Our first class was English Pleasure and we were in a large class of 7 Seniors.  Sierra started ok, but was certainly looky and distracted; I could tell I only had about 1/3 of her brain but she did her best to comply with my requests until the end, where she got very tight, swishy and cranky.  The judge was a Western Rider, and naturally my two friends on their incredibly well broke WB's and some other wonderful ladies on their extremely Western Pleasure/Reiner type horses placed well.  Our number wasn't called, but I wasn't surprised and I was only there for the experience.  We had quite some time before our next class and Sierra stood relaxed at the in gate, chatting with friends.  Our next class was Equitation but I was satisfied with all that I had accomplished and decided to forfeit the $5 entry fee and scratch the class and head home.  By now it was after 6:00 PM and I still had a nearly 3 hr drive home and I felt as though I got what I came to the show for.


I headed back to the trailer and untacked Sierra in preparation of heading home.  I was a little disappointed but that seems to be the norm and the consensus of our summer, but I was proud of myself for pushing onward and accomplishing my goals.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't care that I am having to do all these 'schooling opportunities' but it is what it is.  I know Sierra is worth the frustration and struggle and we will get there.  At our very first show in March she literally tried to buck me off so at least we have progressed beyond that, right!

Relaxing in between classes

Watching the show in the morning

Waiting for the rain to start ..

Angrily eating

Almost home

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