It Wasn’t Worth the Ribbon

Hey Cigar, Did you hear that I didn't have to show this past weekend?

Hey Cigar, Did you hear that I didn’t have to show this past weekend?

A 3:00 a.m. alarm is rude.  It doesn’t matter if it is one of the dogs waking me, the radio, or the alarm.  It just is inhuman to wake at that hour, but that is what we horse people do when your show is 1.5 hours away from your barn and you get stuck with one of the earliest ride times.  So I let the dogs out to find that the forecasted rain did indeed arrive in the wee hours of the morning.  Great, my Polish luck strikes again (for those of you wondering, Polish luck is the polar opposite of Irish luck.  I have Polish and Irish ancestors, but sadly, no Irish luck.)

We forge ahead to the local Wawa for extra-large cups of coffee.  As we get back on the road towards the barn, it starts to rain harder and even harder still.  Ugh.  I check the radar on my phone.  The entire region is covered in a large green blob.  Super-duper.  Do I chance loading Ike and head to the show?  Will he even leave the barn in the pouring down rain; he is a bit of a fair weather fairy after all.  Do we drive 1.5 hours to ride in the rain, wait in the rain, and ride again in the rain?  Is the ribbon and the score worth it?  I envision a score of 55% with comments reading, “erratic trot around puddle,” “this is not a prix caprilli class, horse should not be jumping.”

One last traffic light before we head down the road towards the barn.  The rain comes down harder and the wipers are barely keeping the windshield clear.  I pulled the plug then.  No sense stirring up the horses when we aren’t going anywhere.  I’m sure my disappointment was evident.  I send an email to the show secretary.  I hear a flushing noise as my show fees float away.

When daylight finally came, I headed out to the barn to visit with the boys.  They were peacefully grazing in the rain.  Ah, Ike will leave the barn if the rain isn’t too heavy.  Felt like a wimp for not going, but given the information available in the dead of night, I made the decision that made sense at that time.  Hindsight is a pesky bitch.  She nags at you and pokes holes in your logic.  I sent her down the drain with the show fees.

Was I disappointed?  Yes.  But really, it is just a score and maybe just a ribbon if it had been a decent score.  So what?  I have an acquaintance whose horse was just released from the vet hospital after battling an infection and a stifle injury.  My friend who bolstered my mood last night is still grieving from the unexpected loss of her talented young mare (Thanks S!  We will uncork a few bottles soon!).  And today, a gentle draft cross at my barn was rushed to the surgical clinic for his second severe colic in three months – fingers are crossed that he survives the night.  For as large and as strong as our horses are, they are also amazingly fragile creatures.  We take them for granted when things are going well.  They can be gone before we have a chance to say goodbye.  Remember it isn’t about the ribbons, it is about the journey and having these amazing creatures as part of your life.

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3 thoughts on “It Wasn’t Worth the Ribbon

  1. I think you made the correct decision. It is refreshing to read this, and comforting to know there are many who put their horses (and animals) first. They can be gone so quickly.

  2. So true. It is about the journey, but still the disappointment is hard when you look forward to a show. It is refreshing to read your perspective. Polish luck made me laugh! I am Irish and Polish as well and have been waiting (and waiting…) for that Irish luck to kick in. We lost a horse to colic last year. I had never had a major colic before and that one took the horse within a few hours, even with a vet present. I’m still not really over it. Things like that really put everything in perspective. You did the right thing skipping the show.

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