Horse showing on a soft spring day is one thing but at the end of winter when it’s still more winter than spring is an entirely different event. The sunshine riders are nowhere to be seen nor is being fashionably stylish. It comes down to a form follows function mentality or pretty is as pretty does.
Our onsite shop was recently set-up at such a late winter show. The clipped horses come to the coliseum show ring in wool coolers, and quarter sheets. Riders all have insulated jackets over their show coats. It’s easy to tell who has been riding indoors, their leg is tight and their horses are fit. The experienced have cleaned up their best cold weather gear. Sleek and slick is out, layers are in. Quilted coveralls from the farm store top the fashion show and hat choices allow for personal statements in the ringside huddle. Pom poms and “ears” are the winter version of flowers and bows on summer sun hats. The conversations compare which gloves really work, share stories of enduring barn work through the frigid mornings, of blanket woes and frozen buckets. I’m reminded of how good it is to know that other horse folk are going through the same things and counting down the bales of hay remaining in the barn like some kind of reverse calendar. At the end of the weekend threatening weather reports hurry trailers homeward to be safe and off the roads as quickly as possible. Us too. Next time will not just be another horse show, it will be spring.