Rain, Rain, Nevermind

It was a dark & stormy day. [Bulwer-Lytton]
Dixie Cup sign

For a rainy day show, last Saturday [Show Report] was the deluxe version. I’ve suffered enough of the basic model to be deeply appreciative of these features:

Covered show arena

Arrangements for covered warm-up. Performance classes were allowed in the ring for a one-minute warm-up before each class, if needed. For the Academy classes, a section of the ring was fenced off as a waiting area. Riders also had one minute before their first class. For the second class immediately following, competitors were assumed to be warmed up. At the break, horses and riders dropped off ribbons but stayed in the ring, unusual for sadddleseat.

Wide, dry concrete aisles rather than narrow, muddy trenches.

High-ceiling, permanent stabling rather than claustrophobic tents with rain dripping off the eaves one inch from the side of the stall.

Warm, well-lit flushies rather than overburdened porta-potties.

Excellent footing underlying the mud puddles.

Dry observer seating.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that I had brought my Wellies, long underwear, and a wool sweater. I am an obsessive overpacker. This is why.

What was your wettest show experience?

Categories: Horse Shows

7 replies »

  1. Wettest? Probably the same as yours. Standing out by the Head of the Lake at Rolex in a bloody DELUGE, clutching a camera swathed in plastic garbage bags which has been rendered useless despite my efforts, because there is less than zero light … waiting 20 minutes between horses because anyone with more common sense than the stupid journos in the photo pen had scratched … and watching Bruce Davidson come splashing through there like it was a gentle spring morning or something. Can’t say I like the man, but as everyone observes to this day, it was a masterclass in cross-country riding. And it took every item of clothing I had on, three full days to dry out. Whatever year that was.

  2. As Organizer of the ESDCTA Team Trials at Gladstone, year? Distant past … must have been in the mid 1990s? Cross Country day dawned the wettest single day in then recorded New Jersey history. Having to cancel cross country made me such a villain, but what could we do? The course was under water.

  3. I don’t show. I don’t event. I trail ride in New England, which is somewhat of an event itself sometimes. We often get back into the woods where you can’t get a break in the leaf canopy to even see the sky, so as you can imagine I’ve been caught off guard by more than one sudden summer storm. One of the worst came on what started out as a warm, clear, calm summer day with no rain what so ever in the forecast. We heard the rumble of thunder in the distance, but never imagined the ferocity of the storm we were about to experience twenty minutes later. Too many miles between us and home to attempt a dash (over rugged terrain) for the barn, so we scrambled to find the safest, most sheltered spot where we could huddle. When the wind picked up and the temperature dropped about fifteen degrees I knew we were in for a wild ride. (We were dressed in sleeveless, light clothing, no rain gear.) The thunder and lightening was ferocious and the rain came down in buckets for about thirty minutes, then dwindled down to a steady soaking. Shivering and drenched, as soon as the lightening and thunder passed we mounted up and rode for home, looking like a herd of drowned rats. (Thank goodness I wasn’t alone. I’m not sure how my horse and I would have handled that.) To this day I have an acute paranoia about getting caught out on the trail in a sudden T-storm. If there’s even a hint of rain in the forecast I’m constantly careening my head skyward, and listening for the distant rumble of a warning. People who show in the rain have my utmost admiration. I don’t think I’d be up for it.

  4. Badminton 1999. We’d be touring the stately homes the week before and it was 70 and bright sunshine. We walk into the grounds for the start of the dressage on Thursday and the skies opened up. It poured nonstop until just after the Queen made the presentations on Sunday. Cross country day, the pedestrian path around cross country looked like an army had been through (perhaps it had – they recorded attendance of 250,000 that day!). We were so wet and muddy that our landlady picked us up with the hunt’s hound truck rather than her Land Rover, and she hosed us off in the courtyard before we were allowed to set foot – in our underwear – in the house. Then again, in England they say that if the sun ever shines for a horse trials, they cancel or postpone because the horses have no clue what to do about shadows and sunlight!

  5. An outdoor agility trial during the remnants of a hurricane just a few years ago. I never said I was brilliant At least the footing wasn’t too bad. I was once at another site where it rained/had rained for days and the mud was so bad, it was sucking off our shoes – and the dogs definitely didn’t appreciate it – even the ones that usually didn’t care. They stopped using that site for a number of years after. I thought today was going to be another one but we lucked out and the rain held off! Fortunately for us, a majority of trials these days are indoors….

    • This made me chuckle. My first herding trial was an early spring mud/rain fest. I didn’t much like it and sheep didn’t seem to enjoy it either. (My dog loved every minute of it!) The seasoned folks thought nothing of the lousy weather and when I mentioned the increasing misery (shouldn’t they cancel? Postpone? Move to the indoor arena?) their eyes glazed over. I’m sure they thought I was a wimp. I finished the day wondering why people paid perfectly good money to move sheep from point A to point B in calf-deep mud and pouring rain? Alas, I must not be too bright because my dog and I spent the better part of the next few years playing with sheep in all kinds of nasty weather!

      • The things we do and learn to enjoy (at least on some levels <G) to play with our dogs and horses for those of you doing that! Funny how you got sucked in and later were probably one of those people with eyes glazing over when someone else thought things should be different.

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