My mother used to say that nothing will make a liar out of you faster than horses or children. I’m sure that I never did anything to enforce that belief, but I know our horses have. We once had a gelding for sale who was perfect except when someone came to look at him. Then he would buck around the corners.

A horse my father trained was perfectly sound and healthy until her owner walked in. Then she got down and moaned piteously until the woman walked out of the barn.

Our most recent embarrassment was with our seasoned pleasure driving mare. We were excited to attend a new show close to home. Then we learned our daughter and two granddaughters would be visiting during the time of the show. Since our daughter grew up showing horses with us and was a part of our family horse business, she was eager to see horse friends and show off her children.

The first class was Thursday night, before our daughter arrived. The mare has been working well and has for the most part been pleasant in the show ring. She went into the ring happy if not brilliant. She needed her shoes reset and the timing just didn’t work out to take care of that before the show.

She performed adequately and behaved in the line-up. As she left the ring my husband stopped her to get his ribbon. Bad idea. She decided she should be unchecked then and there. He asked the gate man to lead her forward, worse idea. She doesn’t like anyone to take ahold of her when she is checked up and put pressure on the bit unless they are lifting up, he was on the shorter side so…

She politely sat down and turned herself around in the cart, breaking many pieces of show harness. Once down she froze in place and waited for her minions to free her. She has always thought we existed for her pleasure.

Other horsemen are always ready to help in such situations and trainers and ring personnel hastened to unhitch her. The cart was unscathed. She had a small scrape on her elbow which was quickly taken care of with antiseptic powder. How embarrassing! One of the children watching said that it was all very graceful. I felt so badly for my husband, a life-long horseman. He had worked really hard to prepare for this show.
I shared a little ironic humor with him. For his July birthday, I had just ordered a new harness bag. As my daughter said, now we had something to put the pieces in…

Since our harness was now in pieces, showing back in the championship was not an option. We took down our stall curtains and packed up to return home, our tails between our legs. Our daughter and granddaughters did come to the show with us on Saturday night and since the show started later that night, we had to leave after a few classes to prevent a grandbaby meltdown. It could have been worse. They could have been there to witness it.

We did have a great weekend with our daughter and her children. Our harness is being repaired. Life goes on. The next show is in mid July and the entry deadline had already passed–we decided to pull the show shoes and end our brief season. Don’t know how the mare feels about that–she enjoys showing and is always ready to hop on the horse trailer for another adventure,but hanging out in the pasture isn’t too bad either. Just hate to reward her for being a heifer.(no disrespect to cattle intended)


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