dancing horses

dancing horses

Thursday, August 2, 2018

What We Do

Thank you everyone for your kind comments on my show post. I have purchased some photos and am waiting for them to arrive. In the meantime, if you are suffering from insomnia here's a video of First Level Test 2 that I rode on Saturday (thank you Karen for taking the video).

There can be a lot of negativity in the horse world: younger riders are 'entitled', dressage riders should only show if they are perfect, etc, etc. I'm not naive enough to believe that horse world is all sunshine and people holding hands singing 'kumbaya'; but the truth is that there are a million acts of kindness in the horse world that goes largely unnoticed. This post coalesced for me at the show last weekend and I think I'm ready to put it down in writing.

When my friend Paula first floated the idea of Carmen and I going to the show I was hesitant. I explained that it would require me to get a hotel room which makes the show even more expensive. Next thing I know she has messaged me that she has a tent and it's in her trailer for me to use. Julia loaned me a sleeping bag and next think I knew I was going to the show and camping!

my home for the weekend, it worked pretty good- well once I figured out how to stop it from
collapsing (which I figured out at midnight.....)
Before the show another competitor messaged me and asked if I could spare a bale of hay (she didn't have hers in yet). 'Of course' I replied and threw it into the truck. The weekend was going to be hot and I tried to find a fan to buy for Carmen's stall but none of the stores had any. I figured she would be fine but once I told Paula that the next time I came into the barn Carmen was enjoying the breeze from the fan set up for her stall.

Tanya was also camping and made a lovely little set up outside her trailer and was giving out yoghurt in the mornings and beer in the afternoon (seriously- always stay near Tanya, that's what I learned!).

I give both horses a magnesium supplement and the only place I can find that carries it is in the same town as the show. I called ahead and arranged for them to have the bag ready for me on Saturday morning so at 8 a.m. I was there bright and early to get it. Unfortunately, no one could find it's special hiding spot and I had to get back to the grounds. No problem, one of the workers was going to the show on sundae to help a friend and would bring it with him. Sure enough on Sunday there he was with the bag and a nice smile. Huge shout out to Clarence Feeds in Truro. It's a great store with excellent customer service!

During the show I saw many other competitors helping each other: reapplying fly spray, reading tests last minute, wiping rain off of boots. I both received and gave this help and it made everything so much easier. One young woman went back to the show committee because she thought that they had given her an award that she didn't earn.

 Around the barn and in the warm up ring you could hear:
I picked out your stall. 
THANK YOU so much
I can feed him in the morning
Do you need some fly spray?
Here, have a drink of water

On Sunday Paula was riding her mare in the ring when she gave a huge leap and bolted across the ring. It was very scary to watch.  I leaped up out of my chair. I don't know what I thought I was going to do (here Paula I will catch you!)  but the instinct was there. In what can only be described as excellent and gutsy riding skills Paula got her mare back under control, headed back to where she went off track and completed her test. I returned to the barn and then saw her limping in with Susan (her coach) leading her mare. Paula had been hurt in the bolt and had to scratch her second test. She was in a lot of pain and I could see that Sue was torn between Paula and her other student who was needing her help. 'here give her to me and I will look after her'.  With a grateful look, Sue handed the mare to me and I took care to hose her off and cool her down carefully. I brought her back and Paula was feeling much better. (FYI, Paula won her class which tells you how gutsy and good a rider she is!)

After the show I was packing up to go home when Sue pulled up beside me in her truck.
Thank you she said
For what?  I asked, genuinely confused.
For the help you gave earlier
Oh, that! I shrugged it's what we do. 
Sue gave me a long look, then nodded. yes, it is was all she said and then drove away.

Helping each other, it's what we do.


  1. it was a pleasure meeting you and I told you your horse looked amazing and the pics proved it lol

  2. “Our sport is tough enough,
    So encourage one another.”

    Came up on my Facebook page today. ❤️ Good luck this weekend!

  3. There’s something so special about just taking a moment to lend a hand, or offer help, or even just go ahead and do something for someone without even asking first. A lot of horse ppl (like myself) and pretty seriously independent, and esp when I’m stressed out or a bit ruffled, it can be hard to ask for or accept help, like maybe it becomes a control thing. Idk. But then all those small little gestures from my friends are what prove to be huge difference makers - and I love being able to return the favor. For strangers too! It seems like one small act of kindness or helpfulness often begets othere and the cycle perpetuates

  4. People can be so wonderful at times. Always makes me wonder about those who don’t pitch in and help. Isn’t the experience always that much better when it goes like you posted versus feeling like an island all alone?

  5. Such an amazing post. I also see more of this than the negative at shows. It’s amazing to find this sort of environment 9 times out of 10 and it’s something I really appreciate about my local Dressage scene.

  6. I agree, we should all help each other and I have always done so when I could. Sounds like everyone at the show was very friendly and helpful to each other. It's the way it should be everywhere all the time.

  7. Carmen sure is a pretty mover. I'd never make it in dressage because I can't memorize more that two things at a time and those patterns would be way beyond my memory capacity.

  8. It's so nice when the horse community comes together.

  9. This is what showing is all about, besides the partnership with your horse. I love reading this! What a wonderful support group!

  10. I've only been to one show where the riders rolled up in fancy cars, hopped on their horses for their tests, and the left the horse with the groom. Every other show or clinic, everyone has been super supportive, kind, and involved. (And even at the "fancy" show the grooms were wonderful and there was a lovely Olympian who volunteered to warm me up and wouldn't accept payment for it)

  11. This is awesome :)
    Most shows around here are like that and I love it.


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