First things, first. We ride. Louie tends to get a little keyed up so getting in a good workout beforehand is a must! Next comes clipping his hair and bath time. Ya'll have seen Louie... there's a lot of white to clean! Following his bath, I brush out his tail and band his mane. Then he gets covered in all his purple clothes to keep him clean overnight!
Here's where I say a prayer (hoping he'll stay clean) and turn him back out in the pasture with his buddies. This is dependent on the weather to an extent though. If it's been super rainy and muddy, he has to stay in! Otherwise, for his sanity and mine, he goes back out.
The morning of the show, I'm up before dawn. I get myself all made up and ready and then head to the barn to bring Louie in and feed him breakfast. If the show starts at 9am, we are generally there by 7:30am. Why so early? More routines have to be followed!
The first thing that happens is Louie is unloaded and I take him to the arena were we will be showing. We walk around the pen, once both directions, so he can see everything and if there's something spooky or scary he can get over it then and not have an issue in the middle of the class! Then he get's lunged, which means he walks, trots and canters on the end of a really long rope. Lunging helps get the kinks or bunks out if he's feeling really good! After I'm satisfied he's tired, but not too tired, we head back to the trailer and start the process of beautification!
Clean off any 'green' spots... manure. Brush out his tail. Whiten legs. Black hooves. Put in his fake tail. Yes, he wears a weave! Shave any hairs on his nose I may have missed with the clippers. Spray with Pepi to make his coat shine. Then I get myself dressed!
After I'm dressed, we practice our showmanship pattern. But I've learned that if I practice with him too much he gets burned out and he's a dud in the actual class! It's a fine line. It's only taken me three years to get in the groove...
Are you superstitious about anything or do you have a specific routine you follow?