Monday, April 11, 2022

April at the Arch: Post-Mortem

I was smart enough to schedule the Monday after the show to be a WFH day, and blessedly I had no meetings so I didn't even have to look like a human being 😂 I was still a little too overly emotional Monday to process the show, that came a little later in the week. With some time and perspective under my belt, I was able to watch the videos I had and match them up with the tests and see what the judges were talking about - I still think the feedback could have been more useful (first judge) or written in a more encouraging way (second judge), but it is what it is. I paid for that one person's opinion of the 5 minutes I showed them. It's definitely not their problem we weren't at our best. 

Things that worked:
  • My packing checklist! I didn't forget anything important, was able to loan a few things to my barnmates, and don't feel like I was missing anything "vital" (although I want to add a few more things to my list)
  • Prescribed pharmaceutical assistance in staying calmer - this obviously wasn't a magic bullet and didn't 100% solve my problems, but it helped
  • Staying at a nearby hotel instead of driving back and forth (my original plan) - bless two of my AMAZING friends who knew how stressed I was about various pieces of my plans for the show, and booked me a local hotel and wouldn't take no for an answer ♥️ I have two more shows I'd like to enter at that venue and I'll need to add lodging to my planned budget. I finished up sooooo late Friday night and was there relatively early both days of the weekend and I cannot imagine how much adding an additional four hours of driving to my weekend would have sucked
  • My new PonyJet - I haaaaate bathing horses, particularly Ruby (who is tall and does not care for water near her face lol), and this thing made it wayyyyyy easier! However, don't overpay and wait ages for one to come from China, you can get the same damn thing in two days from Amazon and not pay the 70%+ "equine" markup 😂 you're welcome
  • The black moving bags I bought off Amazon to store hay - I was able to keep my hay separate from the barn and it was neat and tidy in front of Ruby's stall. I took two full grass bales and four flakes of alfalfa and had about twice as much as I needed, but that's okay lol. I left the second bag in the bed of the truck and didn't even have to get it out
  • Showing with a "barn family" - y'all the ladies at my barn (and obviously TrainerB) are THE BEST. FULL STOP. It was so nice to be in such a supportive group and feeling like I wasn't alone. Everybody was constantly pitching in to help each other and so supportive ♥️♥️♥️ I'll add T to that group since they sneakily helped her surprise me when we went out for dinner Saturday night lol

Things that didn't work:
  • Staying calm 😂 sigh. As many commenters (and friends offline) have noted, showing is something I just need to DO to get more accustomed to it and feel better about a routine
  • My family ended up stressing me out way more than necessary 😑 maybe that explains why nobody else in our group seemed to have their family show up lol

Things I want to buy before my next show:
  • One of those collapsible canvas carts - I ended up borrowing the barn's wheelbarrow to unload my trailer which was fine, but I'd like to have my own, and that would be easier to get in and out of my trailer than a wheelbarrow
  • A set of cross-ties - I need a pair for my washrack anyway, and they can do double duty. I ended up borrowing a pair from my barnmate, so it was fine for the show but I want my own teal biothane ones ðŸĪŠ
  • My own hose - the washrack in our aisle had one but it had a cut off end not the piece of hardware, so I had to go bathe in the washrack in the neighboring aisle to be able to use the PonyJet lol

Overall, and setting aside my own personal disappointment in myself/how we scored, it was a successful weekend and I learned more about what Ruby and I need to be able to handle these shows. She was essentially the same horse she is at home, minus being a little bit more vocal, and I think that will decrease with time. She handled no turnout, being stalled next to a stallion, multiple new situations and new arenas without much issue (better than me obviously lol). This is with the caveat that we showed outside, so she still hasn't experienced the big indoors at the venue, so that's a bridge we may need to cross in the future 😎 it also gave TrainerB some insight into full-fledged neurotic horse show me, so I imagine she'll have a better idea of how to manage that next time lol (bless her). 


  1. That is a great post-mortem. Showing with supportive people is so helpful.
    I have the canvas wagon and I love it so much. It's lasted really well and makes things so much easier.

    I also bought one of those collapsible hoses from amazon- they are great. they fit in a small bag so are easy to carry. That said, don't leave it laying around. People will use it and let their horses walk all over it and it will get ruined.

    I plan to buy one of those pony jet thingies. And those hay bags.

    I have a packing app on my phone that is perfect. I can put it in categories like :trailer, clothes, show attire, etc.

    Do you have a blocker tie ring? If not get one. they are so handy for shows.

    I can get quite freaked out at a show. I have learned that I need to build my own bubble and not fall into the anxiety of others. It's really hard. I can be Queen of the Spiral.

    1. Hm I like the idea of a packing app, that's a good one! I need to pick up a shorter collapsible hose, we have several of the 75 foot long ones and that's just too long to take to shows lol, I wish they made it in like... 10 ft!

      I think being able to build your own bubble is key - I'm lucky that most of the ladies I showed with are old pros so basically the only one with any appreciable anxiety was me 🙈😂 but a huge part of my anxiety stems from the unknown, and know that it's "known" it will (hopefully) make things easier next time around!

  2. Can I have a link to the moving bags? It's occurred to me that hay bags might be useful, but of course the price of "hay bags" on the internet is absurd.

    Your first outing is always such good (if somewhat painful) data collection. You have so much information to move forward with for the next one!

    1. Absolutely! I'll put them here for anyone else interested:
      BAG-THAT! 2 Pack XXL Moving Bags, Extra Extra Large Heavy Duty Stronger Handles Wrap Around Storage Bags Moving Totes Storage Totes Zippered Reusable Moving Supplies Moving Boxes Clothes Comforters College

      I wouldn't want to move the bags full of hay any length of time by those handles, but it kept the hay neat in the bed of my truck and then in front of my stall. I just dropped them from the truck bed into a wheelbarrow and brought it inside like that lol.

      I need to do a "things I bought off Amazon for horse purposes that worked well" and have those, the bags I store/transport saddle pads in, the little gel pads I put in my show boots so they stopped bruising me, etc etc 😂

  3. This is a good post to write! I definitely understand the family there part. Even if they're not expecting/demanding it at all, I always feel obligated to keep people entertained and fed and it just adds to the stress!!

    1. My stress was more along the lines of them showing up late, my husband being too busy entertaining his mom to fulfill his primary function of taking pictures (I need media dammit 😂), not minding the dog and letting her get too close to Ruby's feet, and then talking to me when I was trying to concentrate lol. I think individually my mom and husband have been around me enough at shows to know how I need them to operate but there was an extra layer of complexity adding my stress about it being our first recognized lol.

  4. We need to coordinate and show together!!!

    1. Agreed! I think some shows at HHP are on my trainer's list, I'm just not sure they're in my budget 😎 and anything at KHP is probably a no go at least this year haha. Pony Cup????? (The open show, since our creatures are not ponies)

  5. I think it's great to look at what worked and what didn't. Helps to see in black and white... or in this case black and teal... that it wasn't all bad!
    I prefer not to have too many people around that I feel responsible for when I'm trying to show. It's too much for my anxiety brain to deal with. Horse friends are totally okay since they know when to leave me alone, but like family? I prefer they find a comfy place to spectate from until I'm done riding.
    Would love to see your list of Amazon finds that work great with horses!

    1. Definitely wasn't all bad, despite how my lizard brain felt Sunday afternoon 😂
      I definitely need to scroll through my Amazon order history and make a list - I think the bags for hay and the saddle pad bags were the best ones, but the knockoff PonyJet is a good one too (I may buy a second so I can leave the original in my show kit and not have to move it back and forth).