Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Santa Barbara Arabian Horse Show - Day 1

Santa Barbara continues to be my absolute favorite horse show.  Everything about it, from the location to the weather to the facilities to the competition is ideal.  And I’m really happy that 10 years away from the show didn’t change anything other than the dates.  You know those things that you love from “way back when” that when you go back just don’t seem to have the same appeal?  That wasn’t the case with Santa Barbara.

Back in 1997, 1998 and 2001 I was showing Cre in Arabian Hunter Pleasure.  Now I’m back in 2011 with Blu in Half Arabian Western Pleasure.

The plan for this show was to bring Blu with the hopes that he’s come far enough along in his training that he could go in the two Junior Horse (5 years old and under) classes and not fall apart.  I wasn’t entering him expecting him to win.  I was entering him expecting him to have a good time and not be scared of the show hoopla.  He was still quiet and I wasn’t sure if that was because of the cold, or if his personality was truly that quiet.  When I’d first met him at Nicole’s place he was a calm horse, but then at Todd’s he was a bit of a ‘wild-thing’ and since I’ve only had him for 60 days it’s almost impossible to know what is ‘normal’ for him yet.  But I’m starting to think that calm and cool is his main mood.  Only time will tell and I hope that I’ll be able to look back at this in the future and see that I was able to read his personality already.

I’d spent Tuesday evening packing the Cadillac for the drive to Santa Barbara.  I used an abbreviated list for packing the car since a lot of my horse related things were down at the ranch and I’d already packed them in the trailer.  All that pre-packing allowed me to take the comfy car, rather than the truck, and save me money on gas – always a good thing.  I was also able to pack Ken’s things so that he wouldn’t have to bring a suitcase on the airplane when he flew down to meet me on Friday.  Of course he still had to bring some form of bag or I’m sure the TSA folks would have targeted him for travelling on a one way ticket with no baggage!

I worked a ½ day on Wednesday with the intention of driving the 7 hours to Santa Barbara and getting there after Todd and the horses and Sharon arrived and helping with whatever was left with the setup.  The plan and the actual were almost perfectly aligned.  I arrived literally just after they’d taken the horses off the trailer and put them in their stalls.  Those carpets that I’d purchased for the groom and tack stalls were in my trunk.  Luckily I did show up when I did because there were only a few things in the tack stall so we were able to pull them out and put the carpets in since they needed to go in first.  We did find that the stalls aren’t exactly 12x12 since the carpets needed to be folded over on one side.  But they were pretty darned close.  And once we’d put them down and got over the “gee we’re getting dirty footprints on the clean carpet” mentality we got to work setting up the stalls.  The first stall was for our tack and clothing.  We hung dozens of hooks from the walls (the barn has wooden stalls that don’t go all the way to the ceiling and the hooks drape over the top of the stalls) and hung up all the bridles, halters, girths, lunge lines, saddle pads, jackets, and anything else that could hang from a hook.  We also set up the clothing rack to hang the show clothing and chaps and such.  And we set up the saddle racks for the show and working saddles.  Then we lined the floor with all the other accoutrements that go with showing horses.  Things like wash buckets filled with all the washing supplies, groom boxes filled with clean brushes, tail wraps, rubber bands, wipe cloths, coat polish (think hairspray with shine) and hoof polish (think clear nail polish), show boxes filled with people supplies like hairspray, number magnets (to hold our numbers on our backs), safety pins, gloves and makeup and finally, the all important coolers.  The coolers are filled with soda, fruit and the ever necessary beer and rum!  The groom stall was to stay mostly empty to allow whichever horse we had in the cross ties to have room to move without getting tangled up in anything.  We put a few tray shelves along the front wall, the tool box with supplies for sanding horses’ hooves was on the ground and the clippers for last minute clipping hung on the wall.

On the outside of the stalls we put up the drapes.  The drapes are canvas and are in Todd’s colors and his sign hangs on them.  We also put a carpet down outside and put the pop-up over it and hung lights inside the pop-up and put plants on the corners and hanging from the inside.   Then we set up the table and chairs and we’ve got our home away from home.

The men enjoying some down time.

Once everything was set up the way we liked we took the horses out of their stalls and worked them a bit to give them a chance to get the kinks out from the drive.  When we were done we all realized we hadn’t eaten in hours (this is a recurring theme – when I’m around horses I completely forget to eat – I can go 10 hours without even having breakfast and wouldn’t realize it unless someone pointed it out).  It was 9:30pm.  We drove by a couple places but they were closed.  We ended up at Carls Jr/Green Burrito.  We hoped to improve our eating habits as the weekend progressed.  After dinner we drove to the house and crashed.  It was to be an early morning on Thursday.

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