Monday, April 21, 2008
I'm a Horse Mom
I have entered a new world, in which I am an alien.
the Horse Show world.
My daughter Emma, who I have mentioned is "one with nature", was born in love with horses. I have discovered there are many people like this. She's not alone. We weren't around horses. We didn't live on a farm. This was not an environmentally cultivated interest. It is built into her DNA. She loves horses. She has been as comfortable around them as she has been people since she was a toddler. Not kidding. She's never EVER exhibited fear of these enormous animals in her whole life.
She started riding at the age of four. We had gone to Camp Ozark for our summer visit, and since we couldn't tear her away from the horses all week, and she had such a nack for it, we decided to follow her passion.
She has been taking lessons at Carousel Acres since then, and they have been leisurely, enjoyable western riding lessons. (The picture above of the horse jumping is NOT what she is doing now, but I thought it looked cool.) We love watching her. She is incredibly beautiful, in her element, trotting her horse around. It's a joy. We pay the nice horse man, and we drive away.
BUT...she has entered a new phase. The competition phase. She is going to be in her first horse show this coming weekend, and preparing for it has been a whole new world.
Our formerly laid-back weekly lessons became super intense! We practice with the group of girls competing, some for the first time, like Emma, and some who are veterans.
In competition, everything is quiet. (I've never been to a horse show, so this is what I'm learning.) She has to listen to her instructor at all times, and I'm responsible for having her on her horse in the right place at all times.
I had no idea how to even lead the horse, I'm ashamed to admit. I was pulling it by it's lead rope, like an idiot. I have felt pretty stupid on a weekly basis.
This is what else I found I was responsible for...
-tacking the horse (I'm pretty sure this means getting the horse from it's stall and typing it up, with this special knot that I'm still trying to get the hang of, to the post in order to saddle it).
-Putting on the saddle and bridle. It's more complicated to me than it looks.
-Grooming the horse. This is where they threw me. This includes brushing it, which I like, but also picking it's feet. You heard me. I have to convince the horse to pick up each hoof while I use a very sharp tool and get all the rocks and dirt out. This scared me. A lot. But I did it for the first time last week. Hooray for me!!!
-I also learned last week that for the costume parade they are doing on the horses, I am also supposed to dress up the horse!!! I had no idea!!! I am finding these things out in passing coversations with the other Moms while I try very hard not to look retarded.
-I am also responsible, at the show, for feeding, watering, and mucking our horse's stall. Wow.
The problem is, everyone else knows what they are doing. They either rode horses themselves growing up, grew up around horses, or have already been trained in this stuff. Literally, everyone is doing this stuff without any instruction, and I'm completely overwhelmed and at a loss.
So like a good amateur horse Mom, I jumped in there. I am asking for help. The other Moms have been very nice and obliging. I am doing stuff I'm scared to do. But I'm doing it!
And Heather though being a soccer Mom was a different world! Come on! I have to pick a horse's hooves and put a costume on it! What the heck!
I'm trying to learn all the rules and look like I belong. Hopefully, I will pull it off.
We are super excited to see Emma in the show! She's going to be great! She is only participating in two classes. The costume parade, which I don't think is judged, and one competition class. Some of the other girls who are first-timers are doing up to six classes! Last week, when they offered to Emma to try a more difficult competitive course, she tried it but then declined. The thought stressed her out, and I was glad she realized one was enough for her. For our first time around, I prefer that as well.
If anyone is interested in coming to watch her, it's here in Bryan this coming weekend. I can give you the details. We would love to have a cheering section for her (when I figure out when we're allowed to cheer.) This will be my first horse show to watch. You can also come by and laugh at me trying to be a horse Mom. That might be etertaining too.
So soccer Moms, be thankful. Cutting up orange slices doesn't look so bad now, hu?