On a hot summer day, let’s take it as read that activities requiring long pants are inherently ridiculous. The only sensible way to ride in the heat is to put on a pair of shorts, hop on bareback, and head to the creek. That said, I went by what I hope to be my new lesson barn [Random], Stepping Stone Farm, to check out their end-of-camp show last weekend.
How to Run a Show in the Sun
Recognize the evil necessity of camp. A deluxe training barn might charge enough to forgo the rugrat brigade. However, most farms of any discipline need the clients, whether it is summer-only or part of a program. I knew a barn in another state that brought kids in as up-downers and took them through to the Pony Finals. Two other barns in my area – one hunter, one hunter/jumper – had shows the same day.
Schedule low-key classes. Walk. Walk/Trot. Leadline Walk. Leadline Walk/Trot. You get the idea.
Motivate the judge. The classes flew. I don’t think the walk/trot/canter classes made it four times around a medium-sized ring. The announcer had trouble keeping up with the speed of the ring steward’s signals. I’ve ridden in hunter flat classes that I wished moved so fast.
Have the right horses. The Saddebreds shed heat like the tall, thin endomorphs they are. I’ve seen hunter/jumper shows in less heat where horses and riders looked more miserable. Rodney looks worse standing out in the field all by his big, fat self.
Yes, there are nits I could pick – starting with slapping helmets on all of the adults – but I hope to ride there. I’d rather not get thrown out before I even start. Everyone was friendly and the horses looked healthy & happy. That goes a long way.
Did you camp?