Most recently though things that had to be done before the show were: polishing the silver on my show halter and western bridle (which resulted in a good sized blister on my thumb), cleaning my saddles with leather soap, packing all the necessities in the horse trailer, and getting Louie all clipped up because the judges like the horses clean shaven! I trim out his ears, around his muzzle, under his chin and even the white on his legs. And let me tell you, that's a LOT of white hair!
Remember he looked like this not too long ago before I took after him with the clippers and gave him a mini-makeover.
Friday night I spent most of the evening in the barn getting him all pretty-fied and took precaution to keep him clean by dressing him in his 'clothes'.
I'm sure no one is surprised they're purple, right?!?
Bright and early Saturday morning I loaded Louie up in the trailer and headed to the show. Once we got to the show grounds I had to get him undressed and went to work putting the finishing touches on him and I! His coat has to be clean and glossy and his white impeccably clean. It's all about the details. He even wears a fake tail to give the illusion of a luscious, full tail!
We generally enter three types of classes at horse shows: Showmanship at Halter, English Pleasure/Hunter Under Saddle and Western Pleasure. Each of these classes then can be more specific in that they could be for ladies only or the horse has to be over a certain age. In Showmanship, the judge posts a pattern prior to the start of the show and it's up the handler to memorize it and perform it as best you can because you're scored on the maneuvers. Here's an example of a pattern we might have to execute:
English and Western Pleasure are both riding classes and both are judged on the way the horse moves. The judges scores the horses against one another by watching their gates. In English Pleasure the horse is expected to walk, trot and canter. While in Western Pleasure the horse is going to walk, jog and lope. The jog and lope are just a slower version of the trot and canter. The biggest difference that most people can see between these two classes are the outfits the horses and riders wear...
Of the seven classes we competed in on Saturday, we came home with six Top 5 finishes! We won our showmanship class(!!) and I was really proud of how we did in the Western Pleasure classes! I've only been working with him on slowing down and being a 'western' horse since this past winter and he's really getting it! And he looks handsome too...
This weekend we're off to another show, but this time the stakes are a bit higher! It's the first Paint Horse breed show of the year! That means steeper competition, tougher patterns and over all a higher anxiety level for both me and Louie... Keep us in your thoughts!