Dec 16, 2015

The 16 Things Riders on the Circuit Really Want for Christmas

By Kim Ablon Whitney

1. Real bathrooms somewhere other than WEF.  Or at least a porta-potty that hasn't been sitting in the baking sun for hours on end.

2. A month where the vet bill comes and there's a $0.00 balance.  Or at least a bill that doesn't make you feel faint.

3. To feel certain that it doesn't matter what trainer is standing at the in-gate.  Excuse me, Andre, could you just stand at the in-gate while I'm in the ring and look like you're my trainer for a few minutes?

4. A washable show coat that doesn't need a once-over with the steamer.  Of course we should just be happy they're washable now.

5. A husband or father who says, "You really need another horse."  Then he'll add, "Get another saddle and a few more dogs while you're at it."

6. White breeches that actually stay white.  Or at least a year's supply of Tide Boost pods.

7For everyone at the shows to be friendly and courteous.  No one cutting anyone off in the schooling ring, taking your spot in the order, or yelling at you for riding too close.  Everyone smiling and saying 'hello' and 'how's your day going?'  Oh yeah, and a horse show manager that asks what he can be doing better.

8. A horse that stays healthy.  No soft-tissue injuries.  No abscesses.  No colic surgeries.  No Lyme's Disease.  No kissing-spine.  No nothing.  A hearty, sound horse.

9. A bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich that is calorie free.  Or at least a moratorium on the amazing smell of this quintessential horse show breakfast wafting out over the show grounds.  Seriously, how is anyone supposed to fight that urge?

10. A quality hunter that could win at big shows for a reasonable price.  Okay, it's not like we're asking for a horse that can win at Devon to cost $10,000, but under $100,000 would be nice.

11. For styles to stay the same for at least a year.  What?  I need a new $600 helmet and $300 breeches?  My brands are already out of vogue?

12. Flights back and forth from WEF that aren't delayed.  Never, ever say this one to anyone who is stuck in the Northeast for the winter!

13. To be treated as well as your horse.  Massage, acupuncture, supplements, new clothes, daily exercise, tons of treats.  Ah, to live your horse's life!

14. For every show to end before five o'clock.  No late days where you're competing when the sun is going down and the judge can barely see straight.  Instead, you'll be done in plenty of time to shower and go out for a nice dinner with your horse show friends. 

15. To get the perfect photo.  You know, the one where your horse's knees are perfect, his ears are up, his eyes are open, your leg isn't slipping back, you're not ducking, and you're not making that weird face you tend to make.

16. For horse show people to realize there's life outside of the circuit.  It's really okay to talk about something other than horses.  There's a whole wide world out there with a lot of wonderful, thought-provoking, and heartbreaking things going on.  Let's keep our perspective, people.... 

Wait, does that mean flights that aren't delayed are off the list?!

Kim Ablon Whitney's 40-page prequel, Hannah & Chris: Before the Circuit, will be free on Amazon for Kindle on December 19th.