Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Its Indoor Season in the Horse Show World

Yes, it's that time of the year, when the horses go "indoors" literally but that's what we call the big
"indoor" horse shows - Harrisburg, Washington and the National.  Harrisburg, as in Pennsylvania, started late last week and it will go through the weekend.  It's a fun time of the year for the horse show circuit but it's not for the faint-hearted.

You have to qualify for indoors, so it's the best of the very best and it's not easy to get in.  It's very expensive to go, from entry fees, to stabling costs and hotels and it's hard once you get there.  You cannot school in the ring but you are allowed in the ring along with 50-60 other horses at the same time, so it's not like your horse can really get a feel for the ring until you compete.  I remember one year at Washington getting up at 4:00 am to ride Sega in the ring.  And there's another element - the horse is not comfortable in a big indoor with more flowers on jumps than you've ever seen  and people in the stands, it's hard to explain but you have what I call "the third element" to deal with at indoors.  I have been to Harrisburg three times, Washington three times and never to the National.  

At Washington the ring is long and narrow and there are narrow openings between the jumps so it is so easy to get lost in the ring. Washington is harder than Harrisburg.  The warm-up ring is about the size of a postage stamp and it has columns in the middle of the ring. It's not easy in any way.  And the horses have to be shipped downtown to F Street where they are unloaded in the middle of the city. It's very unsettling for the horse too.

They moved the National to Lexington, KY so it's not the same as it once was when the event was held in downtown New York. It just got too expensive to have the show there. But I was invited one year to go and I had planned to take Sega the following year, not knowing that they were moving it out of New York - a huge regret as she would have been good there as she always was at big venues.  

If you live near any of these places I encourage you to venture out and see the shows.  The night sessions are likely more spectator friendly and there is great shopping at these shows for horsey clothes and WIHS has a great auction. We need to keep these traditions going and support these shows even as spectators. But having a few ribbons in my tack room from Harrisburg and Washington is really something I never thought I would have.  But the memories are priceless.

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