Grace and I attended a sorting clinic today followed by a jackpot sorting. This is something I’ve been looking forward to for the last two weeks. It’s been far too long since I’ve had the mare on cows. I knew how much she loved it, but I had forgotten just how much I loved it. I believe I am on the cusp of one of those grown up moments where I might just decide to change my path when it comes to where I spend my horse show dollars. If I could sort cows every weekend right now I would. Horse shows – not so much.
I should step back for a moment and explain I’m not bashing horse shows here. I enjoy showing and it gives me goals to train towards. Horse shows - specifically multiday breed show formats are cost prohibitive and time consuming. I have a job that I find difficult to walk away from. I supposed I have some control issues I need to let go of so I can take more time off, but I actually love what I do at the office 50 hours a week. I currently have 180 hours of paid time off that I have yet to use. For the first time in my life my job is more to me than a means to pay the hay bill. I have entered the grown up world of the career. This week was especially intense at the office and included more than one 6:00am – 5:00pm work day. Luckily it was the first week of daylight savings time so I still had the chance to ride. By Friday afternoon my brain had turned to mush, yet I was still looking forward to the sorting clinic on Saturday. I cannot say the same for a horse show. I love shows, but there are times that they just seem like more work. Last year the only vacation days I took were for horse shows, which were more or less working vacations. I remember being mentally exhausted at the end of a 5 day show only to go back to work the next day. When the grown up inside my head adds up the cost of a multiday show, I am almost sick to my stomach. Entry fees and stall are only a part of the equation, trainer’s fees, fuel, food, extra shavings and a place to stay all add up. I am incredibly fortunate to show with a group that feeds me well and a trainer that shares her LQ trailer space with me. Still I have to wonder what the purpose of dropping that kind of money on a horse show is. Can I really justify the expense? These are the thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head since last August.
Today for 6 hours I forgot all about my intense week at work and I smiled to the point that my face hurt. The event was low key and the people I met were all genuine. The clinician did a wonderful job with the entire group, instilling confidence in everyone. My little mare was so comfortable being back on cows, she was very much in the zone. Grace locked in on each cow I pointed her at and didn’t let up until she either pushed it out the gate or time was up. Our team had the best round with 5 clean cows. The flow of that run was incredible. We were 3 man sorting and my team members and I came up with a plan on how we would round robin. We also talked to each other the entire time which kept us in the groove. Every time I get Grace on cows I see all of our arena work come to fruition. We are not undoing our training while sorting; we are actually using it. Grace was so light and soft in the bridle today. I rode in a snaffle and only had to guide her. She stayed calm and cool and she just had the neatest workman like attitude. There was no questioning me or sass, we were a team getting a job done together. I might enjoy horse shows more if we could follow a cow around the arena. Oh wait, I think that call that class working cow. Hmmmmm……..