Okay, so I've finally come down off the mental and physical obliteration that was Jackson and can finally actually talk about it. Also, I'm box-dyeing my hair and have nothing better to do :) Ghetto Texas Cowgirl Princess ya'll.
I am going to piece together how the show went with some of my overall thoughts which I tried to scribble down in a hurry while it was all going on. Overall, we had a very good show. (I know this because other lopers constantly remarked that to us, apparently we were kickin' some real ass).
First up was the 5/6 Open, with boss man riding 5 of our 5 and 6 year olds. 3 of our crew made it through and one that I warmed up in both the first go and the finals placed third overall, so that was pretty exciting and a good way to start off the show. Our 4 year olds also did pretty good in the 4 year old open with 3/5 making it through there as well. The two others that unfortunately didn't make it through also had respectable showings though, one was a 0.5 point away from making it in and the other was new to showing and had a respectable score. We didn't show any three year olds in the open, and so from there we went into non-pros and then from there the novice/amateur classes for the rest of the week.
We also showed three nights in the added championship classes, and a lot of our horses picked up cheques there. Let me tell ya - I was VERY happy that none of our clients or boss man showed in the Novice/Amateur added classes... rumour has it some of those ran until 2 am a couple nights. My boss had us up at 5 and meeting him at the flag by 6 every morning so he could work whatever horses were showing that day. Then our days ran until about 7 or 8 pm, any later than that and I would have surely died.
Out of the 18 we brought to Jackson, 15 made it into atleast one finals whether that be the open/non pro or amateur, if not more than one. That's over 15 cheques. Some of our horses are owned by husband-wife teams, where the husbands will show the horse in the non-pro, and the wife shows the horse in the amateur, so many of our horses showed in all three different categories. I think out of the horses we had showing only one or two didn't have owners come to show them, as well as have my boss show them in the open. I ended up loping primarily for one couple and the horses I warmed up picked up over $10,000. Don't all those zeroes hurt your eyes? They sure hurt mine... that would be nice to have in the pocket right about now.
So... my thoughts on my first big cutting show... (as written by me the day of)
This is me, covered in poultice and clearly being a grumplepuss as you will read below
I am tired. I do not understand how to perfectly warm up a horse and it makes me want to punch a baby. That's how frustrating it is. My feet hurt, a lot. Did I mention I was tired? I hate blankets, sheets and slinkies and putting all three on every night. Screw how long that takes and how slinkies dry out my hands. Ain't nobody got time for horses rearing in an outdoor pen and trying to throw you off into a semi. Nobody. I am tired and my feet hurt. I don't want to talk to anyone anymore, I'd actually rather just curl in a ball of silence anger.
Okay, I am a drama queen but the first day WAS the longest day, ever. 18 hours after a previous 18 hour day and I was D-O-N-E. Slinkies do dry my hands out, and I do hate them. (Except that they make horses look like batman esque superheroes... I like that shit). Everyday the horses that didn't show had to be ridden, one of them, Money, was being a right jackass and trying to throw me off every 5 minutes. My body was giving up even trying to pretend I could ride a horse and I ended up handing her off to another loper and slinking home in a depression. Finally, I had warmed up two horses that day (maybe actually three? I can't remember) one had been warmed up well, the other (I thought) was ready to go and everyone assured me he was. Except he got into the pen with my Boss and proceeded to literally just try to run into the walls instead of actually cut the cow... My Boss handed him off to me with the words "Way. Too. Fresh"... woooooopsies.
Everything is fun and happy when your winning, but everything is awful and miserable when your losing. Plan to win.
Efficiency, organization and leadership are key for a smooth show of this size and scale.
I am still tired and my feet might at this point just melt away from my body?
Wanna know how I knew my two finalists were ready to go today? Here's how: Lope until I feel like dying, walk, then lope another 10 minutes, then walk, they do it again until 4 before the horse goes. Lopers that claim that there is a "feel", and a "finesse" to the warm-up are full of crap and don't believe them, they are just saying that because they don't want to admit that they are about to die too.
Do's and Don'ts:
Do: Bob that head all you want at the sitting trot, grab your cantle and bounce your arm - that's what the cool kids are doing and you should do it too.
Don't: Run into the back of a world famous non-pro in the loping pen, she might have you fired on the spot (true story I heard today)
Do: Work your ass off and try not to compare. Comparison, whether it be "I'm not as good as she is", or "I work a thousands times harder than he does", is comparable to evil in my books. Motto: You do you.
Don't: Don't tell a cutting client that reiners are better than cutters because you come from a reining background. Don't say that cutters, essentially, just extended trot with no collection around an area whereas reiners are actually broke and you could easily cut on any of yours. Don't say that reiners are actual horseman and cutters aren't... You are an idiot, a complete and utter idiot.
Life lessons from the loping pen right here kid, and that last don't? That actually happened, that was a conversation between another of our lopers and a client who was buying us dinner for our hard work. I was absolutely mortified.
Apparently the rest of the days just meshed together and I didn't have time for jotting down any notes. So that's all you get of my tired, grumpy rambling.
Overall, I felt the show was a definite success, and I was pleased with how well it turned out - especially since it was my first. Except for the show laundry, there is nothing nice about show laundry. Ugh. ;)