A little over 12 years ago when I was getting into dressage I started looking into some show options. There were a few that were available the first year I looked and then the dressage group folded. After that there were none. And there was no longer any group promoting the sport in my province. There were lots of people who loved dressage and some great coaches but I couldn't find any shows. Now I've always enjoyed showing. For me it was a fun way to get together with other horse lovers. When I didn't own a horse and was at a lesson barn having a whole day immersed in horses was pure heaven. The ribbons were secondary. I also enjoyed showing as a way to check in on how my horse and I were doing.
I was not the only one missing having a group of people to enjoy Dressage with so a small group of us got togehter and formed a club. After some thinking we called it R.I.D.E.R.S. (Riders Interested in Dressage and English Riding Society). Over the years we have fun get togethers (lunch, trail rides etc) but our main focus has been to put on a series of entry level dressage shows to get people out and in the ring. That first year we did a lot of fund raising and managed to get the money to buy a bunch of cones and chain link to make a ring. Over the years I have stayed pretty much involved. I've always showed and have been very involved in planning and running the shows. In the first few years I did the show scheduling while others ran the office as I wanted to be in the show.
This year I don't have a horse to show- Irish cannot do it and Steele is 2 1/2. Others in our group who had run the office for many years wanted to show so I volunteered to Show Secretary and Manager. "It'll be fine" I thought.
The week before the show there were times I regretted that offer. I was going to work in the morning, coming home, feeding the critters and then working on the show- mostly with the scheduling. But also calling people back, calming some down, reassuring others, answering questions etc. The show was Saturday and Sunday. Friday I packed up after work and headed to the grounds. To be honest I was unsure of what I had agreed to. I was going to be away from my horses for 3 days, I wasn't showing and it was my responsiblity to make sure that things ran well. I was more nervous over this then I've ever been entering at A (working trot, X halt. salute).
Do you know what? Ihad a great weekend. Yes I worked hard but our group is made up of a bunch of very dedicated, very nice women who are all interested in making the show a success. The riders were easy to work with and seemed to have fun. There was lots of laughter in the show office. And the food. My god, the food. Sharon made these brownies. I call them 'crack brownies' because once you have them you are addicted.
Some highlights :
A rider was in her very first dressage show. After she came up and told me that she had been worried that she wouldn't 'fit in' but all the other competitors had been so welcoming and supportive that she couldn't wait to come back.
Seeing a little girl in her first show ever win her first ribbon ever and how excited she was and how proud her parents were
Watching as one young competitor entered the ring right after her friend had finished her test. They walked side by side smiling and laughing and wishing each other luck.
A competitor won a reserve award in her division and as I made the announcement she stood there stunned. I had to say 'yes, I said you'. "no" she said "are you sure you have that right?"
Seeing all the competitors laughing and calling to old friends in the show.
The volunteers. All the people that stepped up to help make the show a success and gave up hours of their free time.
Seeing the beautiful horses - that is always a plus.
I finally got home at 8 sunday night. I was exhausted. AS I got out of the car I spoke to Martin the cat and Steele called to me from the barn. That night I laid my head on each of their sides and just breathed in 'horse'. I had missed them but do you know what?
I'm looking forward to the next show. I really am.
|from our last year of showing and just after Martin came home|