Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rancho Murieta Arabian Horse Show – Arrival

I’ve had Blu for a month now and was very excited about this weekend for lots of reasons that all put a huge smile on my face:

Ken gets to meet Blu.
Blu gets to come up to my neck of the woods.
My in-laws were coming up for Easter weekend and would get to meet Blu.
I only have to drive 45 minutes to see Blu.
Blu will attend his first horse show – as an observer.
I get to spend a four day weekend with my best friend and horses.

(Do you sense a theme here?)

The weekend was actually lots more than just Saturday and Sunday.  It started on Wednesday.  (Or if you count the packing it started the previous Sunday and continued through Wednesday morning.)  I drove the Truck Camper to work, parked at the back of the lot like I usually do when I’ve got the camper, and after work I drove out to the Murieta Equine Complex for the horse show.  (Actually there were 2 shows going on at the same time, one was a cow type event – roping, quarter horses, cowboys, that kind of thing – the other was our show)

My club (I can call it that now that I’m a member and have met the board members at the meeting a couple weeks ago – right?) puts on an annual (62nd) Arabian and Half-Arabian Horse Show and this is my 3rd year going with Sharon to watch her and be her show groom.  The first year we stayed at our house and drove out there each morning.  The second year we realized we could take the camper and stay on site and allow ourselves 45 minutes of extra sleep each morning.  That worked out so well that we did the same this year.  And we even stayed in the same site. 

The show grounds do have a dedicated RV campground which is generally full during big horse shows like this but it’s not close to the barns.  Last year Sharon arrived early and scoped out the area and spoke with the front office when she found some power and water hookups closer to the barns.  They’d given us the all clear for the site last year so this year the spot was still open – though some of the vendors had set up shop right next to it – and we took it.  I couldn’t have fit in the spot with anything but a Truck Camper (yeah Truck Campers!)  I checked with the front office again this year and they told me that as long as the vendor I was parked next to wasn’t bothered that it was fine with them.  So I introduced myself to the vendor and asked her if it was ok with her.  We were parked tucked into a corner, as far away from her as we could be and she had no issues with our location so we were very happy to be able to use the spot.  While my camper is fully self contained, it IS nice to have power and water at the site.  And though we didn’t have a sewer hookup which we would have in the other RV spots, it’s all about location, location, location.

Todd had arrived just minutes before I did and Sharon had made it an hour before.  Laura and her Mom had also arrived earlier and had their stalls all set up.  We were all in Barn 8 and had one whole row, plus one stall in another row.  We were right by the second warm up arena.  A nice location.

We unloaded the four horses (Nazz & Blu and the two babies, Eclipse and Denny) got them fed and watered and then began setting the barn up.

Barn setup includes putting up drapes along the front wall of the barn and covering the tack room, and groom stalls with draping – this is a form of advertising for the Training Facility.  It is also a place where all ribbons are hung.  I didn’t take a photo of the setup for this show – I totally forgot – but here’s a picture of me on a Morgan Horse named Danny last August in Watsonville – you can see the drapes I’m talking about on that barn.

As for barn logistics, we try to have at least one groom stall, preferably two.  The groom stalls are dedicated 100% to horses, for grooming, saddling and show preparations, and if we have multiple horses in back to back classes it’s really nice to have two groom stalls so the horses can be readied at the same time.  And then there is the tack room – usually just one stall.  It’s got our saddles, bridles, and our show clothing in it.  We use it as a changing room, also.

Once we had the setup complete we began exercising the horses.  I put Blu on a lunge line and lunged him in the arena next to our barn until Sharon had Nazz saddled and we were ready to go into the main covered arena.  Todd and Sharon rode Nazz and I walked Blu around the arena, letting him get used to other horses working around him, coming up on him fast, and hopefully having him realize it wasn’t a bad thing.  He was not at all sure about the English Pleasure horses that were all fired up and moving fast around the arena.  He’s got no experience with multiple horses moving fast around him so he was on high alert. 

Overall he did remarkably well and it was great to end the evening on a positive note.

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