Friday, September 24, 2010

Virginia State Fair! And Horses!

Today I skipped work and went to the state fair! Well, actually, I politely asked my boss about it and got his permission to take the day off. This was the day that the Virginia Reining Association had a show and I wanted to see it. There weren’t too many audience members so I sat right behind the judges, up high on the bleachers, for a good view. Watching the great horses and riders is very inspiring. I noted how one horse does the most wonderful controlled canter, then speeds it up when the rider asks, then gently slows it down when asked, all so effortlessly. One horses spins beautifully, while another has to be talked through it one spin at a time. Another made a nice big curlicue (spelling?) down the arena and end the spins twenty feet from where they started. But then that horse has a beautiful canter that takes my breath away. I found myself thinking, I guess I’d put up with that spin also, if I got that wonderful canter. So maybe your horse can’t do everything, but the one or two things he does well, are worth it. This was in the early classes, where I guess the less-experienced riders were showing.

Unfortunately, and unbelievably, it was 96 degrees today, with a hot, hot sun, a did-you-put-on-a-double-dose-of-sunscreen day, a where-oh-where-is-some-shade kind of day. So I baked and sizzled as I watched the riders.

At one point, in the distant recesses of my hearing, I heard a clop, clop, double clop, clop, clop, double clop, that finally got my attention, and I turned around to see- 6 huge Percherons, all black, with hardly any tack on them at all, but strung together in a driving formation, with a man riding roman-style, standing on the backs of the rear 2 horses, driving them down the roadway! Wow! One man and six Percherons! (And a few helpers walking at the sides of the horses, thank goodness!) I had passed the stalls of the Percherons when I first came in, and had stopped to watch a groom vacuum the side of one horse, a horse I had to look up very, very far to see! He said the horse was 19 hands! My gosh! What a horse! To see them being driven, roman-style, was awesome. The horses went into a nearby arena and did a short show of circles and figure eights, and then, clop-clop-clop back to their stalls. I believe the act is called Thundering Percherons, from Texas, and it is impressive.

During a break in the reining show, I went in search of something horsey to buy, and could only find a $1.75 curry comb! (I tried to buy more, I really did, but I couldn’t find anything else, in the one horse-related booth! And my money was burning a hole in my pocket also!). So I got some iced tea, and went back to my bleachers (I had the entire bleacher section to myself!).
Then the more experienced reining riders and horses started competing. And their skills were thrilling to watch. These horses could do all of the maneuvers, and do them well.

After just a few hours, the heat and sun drove me away. It was just too darn hot. And I hadn’t put a double dose of sunscreen on. It was a good day, and it makes me yearn to see Buckshot. I think that if I had been a horseperson when I was younger, I might have wanted to do some competing. But I have heard that it can also be a mixed blessing, that there are good and bad aspects of competing. So I will just take from it the inner inspiration it gives me – to strive to be the best rider and owner I can be, for Buckshot, and to enjoy all of his strengths and good points. If that is what watching a competition can give to me, that is a good thing.

1 comment:

Carol said...

Sounds like a great day. I love to go to the county exhibitions here in NS. The Percherons sound amazing. I'd love to see them. They are one of my favorite breeds and it's so impressive to see 6 in hand, let alone being ridden Roman style!
Have you seen Stacie Westphal, or seen video of her bareback and bridless(?) reining? If not, you should google her. It is truly awe inspiring and brings tears to my eyes.
Hope you enjoy your inspired work with Buckshot :)