Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Schooling Show

obe·di·encenoun [oh-bee-dee-uh ns] Doing what you are told in spite of your better judgment.

Obedience.  That’s what got me into the Evil Transporter Device and off to the neighborhood schooling show.  It looked harmless enough standing there wide open in front of the barn.  There was nice fresh sawdust and a picnic lunch.  So I got in.  I haven’t been in it in years. Not even for a Sunday drive around the block.  Maybe nothing bad would happen.

Well, something did happen. Brita tied me up and the back closed.  I got swallowed up just like always.  I wish it wouldn’t do that.  When the doors close and I’m left all alone I panic.  I lurch about and look for an escape route, and I yell for help.  When help doesn’t come, I start pounding.  And I pound the whole way hoping someone will hear that I’m trapped in there all alone.  It does not matter if we go only five miles, and never leave the 45 mph zone.  I throw a half ton fit.

This time the Evil Transporter Device stopped almost as soon as it had started.  But for me it was an eternity.  With all my pounding, and panicking in 10 minutes I was dripping with sweat.  When the door opened and a familiar face appeared I was more relieved than I can tell you.  As soon as the back doors opened up and I was able to look outside I regained control of my senses.  But when I stepped off the ramp I gave a big snort to announce my presence and claim this new territory as my own.

Where we had landed appeared to be a horse farm.  I haven’t been off my own farm in five years and I can count on the nails of one shoe how many strange horses I’ve encountered. Besides Face-Off, the pony and an occasional Amish horse trotting by, we live a rather secluded existence.  Here I was in the midst of a field of Evil Transporter Devices with strange horses tied to them calling out greetings.  Because of my extreme relief of having survived the transport and the excitement of seeing so many horses at once I was feeling high as a kite as I floated along on the end of my rope snorting and flagging my tail.

Brita took me to a very big barn, the biggest one I’ve seen in a really long time.  There were people standing around staring in awe at the huge, snorting silver horse with the flying tail.

Bystander:  "He's pretty.  How old is he?"
Brita: "Ten"
Bystander: "Going on five?"
Me: "SNORT!!!"

Brita was worried that they were awestruck at such a display of uncontained energy and pointless snorting, but I’m sure they were admiring me.  I hadn’t actually done anything wrong.  Except startle a few people.  One man asked if I was a Lipizzaner and could I jump in the air and kick out?  Why yes, yes I can…

We walked all around the indoor arena stopping to say hello to people behind a big window who smiled at me and tapped on the glass.  I reached out my nose in greeting and put nose smudges on the window.  The people appeared to be admiring me so I didn’t worry about the window anymore.  There were so many things to see.  Barrels and hay piles and driving carts and at one end a box of the littlest, shaggiest ponies I’ve ever seen.

Pretty soon Brita said the show was about to start and that we should get ready.  We went to a stall where Mom and Tim brought all my stuff from home.  

So this is a working vacation?
 As we went through the familiar tacking up routine I began to feel more comfortable and soon Brita was on my back and we were headed out to make new friends.  We went outside and walked around with the other horses.  I actually saw another grey horse!  I liked him right away.  And there was an all black horse.  We were complete opposites.

We stood and watched the other horses getting ready for their classes.  Some people commented on how fast I calmed down.  Well, I am a well-trained riding horse.  I can control my shenanigans when it counts.  We practice standing around in the driveway talking to Mom at home all the time.  I’m good at it. 

There were a lot of high headed, fancy looking Saddlebreds, and Arabians and Morgans.  People in the barn would clap and cheer for the horses who were working in the big arena.  This fascinated me.  I stood at the door and peered in, watching in wonderment.  I love to hear clapping and cheering and I couldn’t wait for my chance. 

Tim came and tried to polish us up so we would look our best.  I felt all gritty from dried sweat, and this time of year I am like a white haired hurricane so everything in close proximity will soon be covered in hair.

When our class came I was so excited!  I was wound a little too tight and everything I did I did quickly.  When you live mostly alone and always exercise alone, being in a herd of running horses can be quite a heady experience.  The corners come too fast and horses rush by and it’s hard to ignore what they are doing and concentrate on what you’re supposed to be doing.  Especially when someone does something naughty and threatens to bump into you.  And there was a metal sliding door at one end which made a loud pinging noise if you kicked dirt against it.  That worried me.

But I remembered my lessons and even though I hadn’t had to work with other horses since that time at the County Fair, I behaved respectably and didn’t make any big mistakes.  I got my leads and managed to weave my way in and out of all the other horses in a tight space.  We got to try a second time and I was more relaxed and we moved up the ranks.  I was just having so much fun being with other horses.  What do I care about the finer points of navigating a circle like not dropping your shoulder and not staring at the worrisome objects and relaxing and accepting the bit?  It was just so much fun!  Wheee!  And the people clapped for me!  And Brita won some new grooming tools.

In a couple of short hours it was all over.  I had worked up quite an appetite, and lunch was late.  I actually walked with eagerness towards my Transporter with visions of that picnic lunch dancing in my head.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to get back in, obedience or not, but when I saw a pail of alfalfa pellets, my eyes lit up like a kid at Christmas and I loaded myself right up. 

I would like to report that I rode the five miles home quietly, but alas, that was not the case.  I pounded and shook the Transporter even worse.  Brita is sure that the people in town thought she had a wild elephant caged in there.  I did recognize our own driveway though, and I was standing quietly hopeful when the doors opened.  I was just as excited to be home as I had been to be at the show.  There was my own barn, and my own barn cat, and my own pony, and the cows and everything.  I just couldn’t believe it!  Out and back and home safe for a late lunch.  That’s not half bad.  Brita let me go right out and roll in the sand and dry off all the tickly drippy sweat I’d worked back up.  Oh it feels so good to be home.

Things are drying up around here.  I'm running out of mud.  I had to excavate a mud containment area in the chute to the back paddock.  It took me a whole afternoon.  You should have seen me when I was done.  With all this mud stored up, I can be out of my horse show splendor and back in my comfies in no time flat.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Who is that stuck in the Evil Transporter Device?

Why it's Me!  William Pendleton!
I'm too worn out to tell you the whole story just now, but it's been a very exciting day!