Playing the part of the proud horse mom

About a year ago, I took a lesson at my old barn—and I met my soul mate. His name was Rory, an adorable 4-year-old Clydesdale/TB cross. He was quiet, willing, smart, and just bursting with personality. And just recently, I was finally able to make him mine, which made me about the happiest girl in the world.

Owning Rory has come with many new experiences and challenges, and a few weeks ago, I had an experience I’ve never had before—I got to go to a show playing the part of the proud horse mom. In the past, it’s always been me riding someone else’s horse at the show, but this time, it was someone else riding MY horse! My trainer has spent the last year and a half working with Rory, and truth be told she’s developed quite a sweet spot for him. (In fact, if I ever discover that someone has run off with my horse in the middle of the night, I’ll know for sure that it was her.) So she asked me if she could take Rory to a local dressage schooling show, and I was all for it—the more exposure he gets, the better!

The morning of the show arrived, and I was faced with a very important conundrum—what to wear! What do you wear to a show when you’re not showing? The answer: some Piper Full Seat Breeches, the SmartPak Ladies Stretch Polo Shirt, and a SmartPak Hat. I wanted to look put-together, but not like I was trying too hard. The outfit was a success!

When I got to the barn, my trainer already had Rory cleaned and the trailer packed. His four white socks were sparkling (thanks Quic Silver!), and he was standing patiently on the crossties. I went to my tack trunk and got out my brand new SmartPak Soft Padded Leather Halter that I got engraved with Rory’s name and tried it on him—what a handsome boy! Then I put on his new Roma Deluxe Shipping Boots and he was ready to go! Turns out my big boy walks on the trailer like he’s done it every day of his life, and he looked adorable peeking out the window while we finished getting everything locked up.

Trailer-1

I had some barn chores to finish before heading over to the show, so I drove separately. When I arrived, Rory was all warmed up and waiting patiently for his turn to do his first test. His turn finally came, and he walked bravely into the ring. The test was in an indoor, and I went and sat on the bench to watch, just a few feet away from the judge. I beamed from ear to ear as I watched Rory perform a really great test and listened excitedly to the judge’s scores and remarks as she recited them to the scribe.

Rory-Before-Test

Aside from one “excited” moment in the middle of the test when he caught a glimpse of what was going on outside through the window, he was just about perfect! And his second test was even better. He had a big fan club that stopped by the gate to watch his rides, and everyone was gushing about how adorable he was. Someone came up and asked if I was Rory’s mom, and I was so eager to tell them yes!

To top it all off, Rory went home with not one but TWO blue ribbons (68% and 70% scores), and he won the high score for the entire show! I could not have been prouder. I would have been happy even if we finished in dead last because he really did his best and was so well behaved the whole day. I even got on and rode him after his second test so that I could get my “show jitters” out before taking him to a show myself (hopefully in June!). There were four or five other horses warming up while I rode him around the ring, but he stayed focused on his job, and I just couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. I can’t wait to show off my baby again in May when my trainer takes him to the next show! Going as the proud mom is now officially my favorite way to go to a horse way (all the glory, none of the stress!).

Rory-Ribbon-1

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Apparently I've been obsessed with horses since I was born, and I used to beg for pony rides on a regular basis. I started showing in 4-H, progressed to equitation and jumpers in high school and rode on the IHSA team in college where I also discovered the joys...

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