Wet Horse Show Rant June 11 2010, 0 Comments

Horse show fanatics Samantha and Rachel get last minute tips from Tara

Oh my. I know it’s just about the most boring, lame thing to complain about the weather,especially in a blog, but I’m going to do it anyway. On Sunday we did a local show right down the road at the fairgrounds.

From 8 a.m., when the advanced beginner division (Megan and Stormy were drenched!) got underway, to the die-hard juniors that competed in the NEHC medal class late in the afternoon, it poured. Poured. Rained buckets. Dogs, rabbits and feral cats. Sheets. What other rain metaphors exist? It was raining inside the porta-potties. We were all outfitted in our rain coats and appropriate footwear except for the boy, who was instructed to remain in the truck with a blanket, pillow and DVD player.

Of course, we’ve all experienced this before at a horse show or event. (I have a feeling the eventers are a lot tougher and probably don’t even notice the rain.) This rain was made less tolerable by the cool temperatures—it was mid ‘50s.

Warm-ups went well and the rain kept coming. Fortunately, there were rented stalls that we squatted in while our unfortunate barnmates swam over to the ring. Of course at this point, we were all soaked through to our undies so there was really no upside.

Megan and Stormy

These are the days that cause people to ask the question. Why? Why do we do this to ourselves?

And on a day like Sunday, it’s a tough question to answer. Are we crazy? Stubborn? Lacking in social opportunities? Aversion to early morning religious services? I have no sensible answer.

My child was soaked to the bone, shaking with chills, and her cheeks flushed with a rash she sometimes develops when she is exposed to extreme cold for too long. And Mondavi, this lovely horse, stood there with his head hung low, water running off his ears and muzzle, resigned to finishing whatever job we put before him.


A wet Mo Man and Samantha

When we were finally finished, Mondavi was quickly wrapped and packed safely back on the trailer. I went home and took a nap, then returned to the barn to undo braids and help unpack.

Tack Heart Attack

Three days later, the clean-up continues. Samantha’s (borrowed) saddle is still soaked, giving me heart palpitations. I read this piece by Sara Lieser, “Taking Care of Your Tack Doesn’t Have to be Tough,” and found this advice from Colleen Meyer owner of the saddle fitting company Advanced Saddle Fit in Marlborough, N.H., and a qualified saddle fitter in the society of Master Saddlers from Great Britain:

“If you get your saddle wet, treat it like you would treat your own skin. It is skin, it is a hide. If you condition it lightly while it’s wet and let it dry naturally, and it’s a good leather, well cared for, not stressed to begin with, it will come out just fine, no matter how wet it got.”

OK, Colleen, we’ll give it a try. Is it “natural” for a saddle to take three days to dry?

The Boots

I’m not very hopeful regarding the fate of the hand-me-down tall boots that Samantha’s been wearing. They were close to retirement before Sunday, and the day-long rain was not kind to them. They are still soggy, sitting in the garage, waiting for us to figure out what to do with them. Suggestions welcome.

Samantha’s show coat was dropped off at the dry cleaner on Monday. The woman gave me a strange look when I handed her the soaking wet jacket.

The horse and kid seem to have recovered just fine. The parents are still shaking their heads wondering what the heck we’re doing. We’ve had plenty to laugh about this week at the dinner table, recounting our rainy day adventure.

This article first appeared on June 10, 2010 on The Chronicle of the Horse website.