Saturday, like most of the other days of the show, started with an early wake up. Prep for multiple horses showing meant lots of work to get done. And yes, I wondered why Blu managed to have two classes, almost back to back, on the last day of the show when they could have spread them out to any of the other days where there were no Half Arabian Western Pleasure classes. But what are you going to do? It was what it was.
Because it was the last day of the show, there was also a change in attitude about many things. Everyone has an eye on the clock, people are starting to tear down, and exhaustion has set in.
But before our barn can think about tear down, Blu had two classes scheduled. Todd qualified with Blu in the Half Arabian Western Pleasure Junior Horse and in the Half Arabian Western Pleasure Open classes and those were both scheduled right before, and right after, the lunch break. With a bit more than an hour until his first class, the Junior Horse class, I started work on getting Blu prepped. Right on schedule (we did a pretty good job of staying on schedule all week, with the exception of my class Friday night, and even that worked out to being pretty close to on schedule) Todd took Blu to the warm up arena.
But that arena was crazy. Crazier than I'd seen it all week. I didn't count, but there had to be 10 horses and 20+ people standing in the center of the warm up arena in the Livestock Pavilion, leaving a path about 20 feet wide around them for 10-15 horses to warm up at any one time. Luckily the ring steward had his microphone and consistently instructed people to ride in the same direction. But not everyone rides at the same speed. So there were some walking, some jogging and some loping. And they weren't all Western horses so some were very fast and animated (the English Pleasure) while others were slow (Western Pleasure).
Blu is still young and doesn't realize yet that the other horses aren't out to eat him. So Todd opted to ride in the outdoor arena where there were only a few horses warming up. That helped Blu a lot. Though he was still more animated than usual. Todd looked at his jaw where the Bosal sits and noticed a small mark and bump. We weren't sure if it was a tooth issue, or a rubbing issue, but it appeared to be bothering Blu. We used tape to smooth the Bosal and keep it from irritating Blu too much.
I don't honestly think I can say what all was going on around me. My focus was 100% on Blu. They had a beautiful ride. And I'm kicking myself for not pulling my camera out of my groom bag, but the show photographer did take a couple photos ( you can see the show proofs here ). But alas, the judges didn't call out # 111 for a Top 5.
When I met Todd outside the arena we discussed Blu's jaw and the Bosal, and the fact that he wasn't picked for Top 5 in the Junior Horse class so wouldn't be likely to be picked in the Open class (where he'd be competing against horses of all ages and experience levels) and we opted to scratch the last class. It wasn't going to be for at least an hour, and that would be just enough time for Blu to settle down before we'd have to wind him up again and we just didn't think it was fair to Blu to put him through that after he had such a nice go in the Junior Horse class. A bummer, and one of the issues I had with having the classes fairly close together over such a long show.
But with that decision made, there were no more classes for anyone at the barn. It was time for SUSHI!!!
A couple years ago when we were at Regionals we'd gone to The Peppermill's Oceano Restaurant and had Sushi. We'd been waiting this time around until Ken was with us so we could all go and feast together. We piled into a big booth and when the waiter mentioned "all you can eat sushi" we all jumped at it ($17.95pp). And feast, we did!!! Yum!!
A positive with feasting on Sushi is that even when you're absolutely full to the gills (ha) you're not uncomfortable.
A good thing, because when we got back to the barn it was decided that we'd tear down and everyone could head home a day early. Tear down took about an hour. Quite different from setup! But still super hot, since we started about 3pm. Got a bit dizzy at one point, too. I lost count of how much water I drank.
A trip to the hotel to shower and pack our suitcases and we were off. Ken in the MINI and me in the truck.
Were we really done? Was the show really over? Had it really been a WHOLE week?
Yep. To all three.
I am happy as can be about the whole show. Not everything went as planned, but there were no true disasters. I learned a lot. Gained valuable experience and confidence. But best of all I spent a week with some amazing people. The greatest of friends whom I cherish more and more every day. And whom I appreciate more than they can know.
And my husband was there with me. I will always have my memory of him along the rail with his arms up in the air saying "You .... Rule" (he knows what goes in the middle). I love you, Ken!