Sunday, June 23, 2013

Buddy's horse show debut and when to quit when you're ahead!

6/23/13  Certain dates can trigger a topic in my mind, like New Year's Day and Valentine's Day.  June 23rd does the same thing.  It is Buddy's birthday (#44) and so he will rule today's post. 

I love horse shows.  Large or small, single day or week long events, I LOVE them.  The sights, sounds, and smells bring out a smile.  While I don't always pick the winners, I usually have a favorite in the class.  I can tell you the first time I saw Swing an Singin, Our Brilliant Belle, Double or Nuttin' and Call Me Regal.  In some cases, it was their show ring debut, and if not the debut, certainly an early trip to the show ring.  Some horses have a "look at me" spirit.  You know they're going to be stars.
Swing An Singin
had the crowd roaring at Louisville. 
Look at those hocks!
Call Me Regal
as a yearling at Louisville
Double or Nuttin'
as a 2yr old at Lexington

Our Brilliant Belle
Jr. Fine Harness at Lexington
So appropriately named.

The Power of One
at Louisville as a yearling.
In a crowd of 2 dozen colts, his "look-at-me"
attitude got my attention. 

Marc of Charm
the first time I saw him at Lexington.
He is still one of my favorites.
The way he looked in the stallion stake at Louisville in 2012,
I thought for sure he'd win the WGC, but it was not to be.
Maybe this year.

That brings me back to Buddy.  Remember, I was a college student when I bought him.  My previous show experience had been the one-day variety with Secret.  I showed, but I'll admit, I really didn't enjoy it.  Nerves have always been a battle for me, and horse shows could scare me spitless.  I bought Buddy on New Year's Day.  He was 4 and 1/2 at the time and while he was beyond the green broke stage, he hadn't had a whole lot of saddle time when I bought him.  One of my stable mates was a very good showman and we were going to try some small summer shows. 

Our first trip out actually wasn't a show, it was a clinic and so no one was tied in the class.  No pressure.  Buddy was a great boy, but I'll admit he had a couple of faults.  One was an iron mouth.   If we were on a trail ride, he was great as long as he was at the head of the line.  A born leader.  So for his show ring debut, I decided to just put him in a halter class.  No problems possible there, right?

So it's time to enter the ring, and in we come at the trot.  Buddy's head was straight up and I was running like crazy to keep up.  Stop.  Set up.  He always parked out like a dream, often a bit too much.  This time was just right.  Head up, looking around, everything going great.  Then the next horse came in.  Still no major problem, but hey, what's that going on in the ring behind us?  Uh oh, there is another class going on in the next ring and it's going on simultaneously.  Did I mention this was a one day, all breed show?  I believe they were contesting in the next ring over.  As in western horses tearing around like crazy, making a lot of noise and raising a lot of dust.  Buddy wanted to see what was happening.  Too bad we were facing the wrong way to see the other action.  So he spins around and parks out to watch.  I tried getting him back in the right direction, but Bud had other ideas.  Every time I moved him, he spun around. 

Finally, I gave up.  Just let him face the opposite directions of all the other horses in the lineup.  That shouldn't be too obvious, right?   At  least he looked pretty.  Too bad I looked like an idiot who didn't know which way to point her horse.  So the judge comes walking through the lineup for one last inspection.  He tells me I have a "heckuva" nice horse. Then he kind of chuckled as he walked on.  Yeah, too bad his owner doesn't know her directions.  Well, my humiliation was nearly complete.  They just had to tie the class and I could slink out. 

But wait, they called our number!  We won?  Yes, we won.  Good thing it was a halter class, and not showmanship.  After that, I decided to quit while we were ahead.  We never showed again, but we went out on top.  Buddy retired from showing, and I wasn't in a showring again for 30+ years. 
One day, I was cleaning in my attic and came across my old show ribbons with Secret.  And among them was a blue ribbon that had faded to purple.  It was Buddy's one and only ribbon.  I had a habit of labeling everything (OCD) and I looked at it.  It was dated 6/23/74, Buddy's 5th birthday. 

 Buddy on his fifth birthday, before my humiliation.
Check out all the fine autos/trailers/campers in the background!
I was behind the camera, a friend of mine was holding Buddy.

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