Show Ring Legacy

Pic provided by Janicia

I thought motherhood would find me standing ringside at hunter jumper shows while Ian piloted a pony over eight fences. The dog mushing obsession threw me a complete curve ball, but before we fully immersed ourselves into mushing culture, Ian gave me one last compromise and put in a weekend of showing even though he never would take an interest in hunters. In true Ian fashion, he blazed his own path and decided he wanted to ride western. So to the ranch horse show we went!

Some of my favorite parts of showing involve the preparation. There’s such a ritual and routine to getting packed and prepping your horse for the journey. So on a Friday in October, I left work early to wrap and sheet Promise and load her on the trailer. I had contemplated bathing her first, but then decided it was a little too cool out. Show Sheen to the rescue! Promise and I drove over to Ian’s school to pick him up early, trailer and all in the school parking lot, and then we were on the road to one of my favorite show venues, Roane State!

Since I grew up in Morgan County, Roane State Community College in Harriman had the closest indoor arena for showing horses. I spent a lot of time in that ring as a young 4Her pretending to be a big dawg. Cori had shown Promise extensively in this arena, so it was like a second home for her. Ian and I arrived, unloaded Promise along with all her stall accessories and Ian’s tack. Then we set off to check in and pick up Ian’s numbers. Ian settles in well at any location, and in no time he had the run of the place.

Pic provided by Janicia

When it was time for halter classes to start, we stripped Promise naked and Ian changed into his show duds. Even though it was a conformation class rather than a showmanship class, Ian still tried hard to do his quarters. He gave it a good effort to set Promise up, and she was mostly square. Ian was showing under two different judges, and managed to take a second under one of the judges!

After Ian finished halter, it was time to tack up so Ian could get ready for trail class. Cori did a beautiful job finishing Promise, so she needed absolutely no prep. She was the kind of horse that you could swing a leg over and go straight into the show pen. Ian jogged her around the holding area to warm her up a bit, then he was ready to go in to show for his first time ever showing under saddle. He had been practicing his pattern for weeks, and managed to complete the entire course with only one major mistake. Despite this mistake, he was able to place second and third in this class!

After we took Promise back to her stall, we put her sheet and standing wraps back on for the night and settled her in with her dinner and plenty of water. Then it was time for Ian and I to catch some sleep. We stayed on the show grounds in Nana’s camper so we’d be close by to get ready for Ian’s classes the next morning.

Saturday dawned cold and grey, but we were indoors, so it wasn’t at all uncomfortable. I let Ian sleep late while I cleaned Promise’s stall and fetched her breakfast. Then I made my way up to the ring to find some breakfast of my own while watching other riders school their horses. Before long Ian joined me and ate his breakfast in the stands. It didn’t take him long of watching others working their horses before he wanted to do the same. Promise really didn’t need to work, but I was thrilled that he wanted to be part of the warm up pen activities. I helped him saddle up, and he was off to navigate traffic by himself while I watched from the gate. This was my favorite mom moment from the weekend.

Pic provided by Janicia

In no time the announcer was calling to clear the ring so the show could get started for the day, and that was my second favorite part of the weekend. Cori was the announcer! Ian ran back to the barn to change into his button down, then he was back up to the holding area to go in and work his rail class. He needed to step on the gas a little more as he let Promise break gait several times, but he didn’t let Promise get crowded nor he did he run up anyone. He loved hearing Cori call his commands.

After Ian’s rail class, we left the holding pen and moved out to the side of the ring to wait for the peewee horsemanship class. Rail classes typically go by fairly quickly since everyone works at the same time, and soon we were moving back to the holding pen for Ian to go in to work his horsemanship patter. His mom almost sabotaged him by failing to pay attention and sending him to start on the wrong side of the first cone, but forgiving judges allowed him to reposition Promise. Ian rode a fairly accurate pattern, but let Promise fall out of her jog a couple of times, and cut a circle short. Nonetheless, he did a fabulous job.

And just like that, Ian’s show with Promise was over and it was time to rewrap Promise’s legs for the return trip home. Ian had some fun prizes from show management to play with on the drive, and I got to enjoy listening to him break down how he felt he did in each class.


About ashleekiser

“For in Calormen, story-telling (whether the stories are true or made up) is a thing you're taught, just as English boys and girls are taught essay-writing. The difference is that people want to hear the stories, whereas I never heard of anyone who wanted to read the essays.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy Join us on our family adventures as I try to tell our stories rather than bore you with more online essays.
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