The name of the game is FUN, right?
This year we took 8 horses, and had over 40 riders.
The fairgrounds were swarming with Sun Pony Ranch Tshirts, I tell you. Life would have been a lot nicer had we a) arrived when we had planned to (9:30 instead of 9:50) and b) the show had started when they told us it would (10:00 instead of 9:40). You see the problem there, I'm sure. Dave and Ginger took the first 4 horses and load of equipment over to the show grounds and got unloaded for him to turn back to home by about 8:30. But it's a 20 minute drive, we had to collect more equipment and load horses... so we did not pull back into the grounds until 9:50. The girls saw us and came running, because of course the lot was so full by now we couldn't drive near where we'd set up shop. So 15 or so of us grabbed anything and everything, and hoofed it across the lot.
Since the classes were already running, however, they were waiting on our riders to run some of the heats. For the first hour or so we were constantly behind the schedule, trying to wrangle kids horses and tack that was scattered all over. Pure hell, in other words. Ginger had lots of helpers, each with clip boards of who was riding what horses and what tack they needed. EAch horse had a dedicated handler who was in charge of tack changes. Others had check in lists for riders as they arrived and gave them their show numbers. Dave and I addressed getting our stuff organized in a somewhat out of the way area so that when we were doing our mad changes we were at least not standing in the doorway to the arena. We finally managed to find a working water spiggot and filled the barrel we'd brought to water our horses - 6 gallons at a time. By then... it was nearly time for lunch!
We had lots of classes where our kids made up all the contestants, or all but one or two. It really was kind of surreal. The pictures are hard to take because you don't want to flash the horses, and it is a big arena. These give you somewhat a flavor though... (I can only label the horses - cause it them whose names I know!!)
Jack, Bambi, Rio, Jordan (I think!)
Joey, Shadow, Bambi, Romeo and others
With the exception of the very late start, the day actually went very well. The horses were troopers - even Jordan who has usually gotten very uptight in show situations. I guess by now he's figured out that Ginger runs a pretty laid back program and he doesn't need to stress like he used to. (he had been showing in dressage before I adopted him, but his hock really wasn't sound enough for that - so I suspect he had a lot of pain and fear associated to showing when I got him.) Bambi won the prize for the day for pulling a stupid stunt. She was being ridden in a walk-trot class when something happened and she took off running. The other 8 or so riders all stopped their mounts, but Bambi just kept going round and round - at a brisk canter pace. Her rider stayed on, but unfortunately was so scared that it was all she could do to hold on to the saddle. So after 6 laps or so and she really wasn't showing much interest in stopping, she finally got directed into a group of our horses in a corner, and came not quite to a sliding stop, but an abrubt stop none the less. Not normally a way I'd recommend stopping a run away, but, it worked and no one got hurt. Never seen a rider dismount quite that quickly though! She, however, recovered and rode in another class later in the day.
Joey, Harley, Romeo, Rio, Bambi, Jack... and another contestant. Heh.
The Leadline Class
Shadow: "Oooohhhh, a whole BASKET of carrots!!"
And Rio met his long lost twin!! Couldn't believe how much they looked alike! Unfortunately she was a bit of a pissy mare, so trying to get them to stand anywhere near each other and pose was a challenge.
All of this was made just that much MORE fun because 2 weeks ago I got the wild idea to try and get World Series tickets for Dave and Ginger, seeing as how they both are pretty big baseball fans. Only, it wasn't until AFTER I'd clicked the purchase button that I realized I'd bought tickets for the same day as the fun show! The bottom dropped out of my stomach that moment, I assure you. But my co-worker consoled me by saying surely you can scalp the tickets if you can't make it work out. At the time they hadn't even published the time for the games! Fortunately, they ended up being at 6 pm. Since the show was to be over by 4:30, it was our plan for them to stay as long as they could then leave from the fairgrounds. I'd see through the rest of the show and getting home.
Amazingly, the show actually ended early - around 4, so G&D stayed for the last class and then had no troubles getting to the game. As for us, we were mostly packed up by then, and ended up having to just wait 20 minutes or so for my friend who agreed to come with his 4-horse trailer and help me haul the horses home so we could get them in one load. That was a lifesaver, and certainly worth the 20 minute wait.
But since we had arrived at the show in two loads, that meant we had to get two loads worth of tack into the trailer to go home! LOL -- never have we packed that thing so full before.