Saturday morning against my better judgment, I attended a show put on by the Capitol Area Quarter Horse Association (CAQHA). The reason I say against my better judgment was because it was bitterly cold, and I'd already been sick for a week. However, I'm happy to report that attending the show was definitely worthwhile, even if my butt was completely numb by the time I left.
I've had a tentative plan for a while to take Halo to one of the CAQHA's open shows as her first show. It seems like it would be a low stress environment for me, and they are usually put on at the Travis County Expo Center, which is not too far away from the barn where I have Halo boarded. Sounds like a great plan, right? Except for the part where I haven't shown since about 10 years ago, and have no clue what the stock horse world is even like other than what I've read on teh internets. Brilliant.
Going to the CAQHA show put my mind at ease. The showmanship pattern was a lot easier than what I remember dealing with when I showed in 4-H, which was extremely comforting, though the 19 & over class was quite large. There's only so much I can teach Halo by August, and even then it will probably be nowhere near perfect. Halter for the 2- to 4-year old mares was a small class of 4 people. I expect the summer shows will have bigger clasees, but probably not as many as the aged mares (there were 16 entries). Sadly, there was one other two-year old in the class and she placed at the bottom of the heap. It was easy to see why though - it's hard for a filly that young to compete against older mares, especially in January. Hopefully through spring and summer Halo will continue to fill out and grow. I don't expect her to win anything, but I still plan to put a lot of effort into showing her properly.
Another point of concern for me has been what to wear. I know I have to get a proper western show halter for Halo, which I'm dreading, because they are very expensive. Also, there's these ridiculous sequin and crystal covered jackets that women wear for showmanship. Men don't seem to have to sparkle, so I'm half wondering if I could show in drag...but I doubt that would go over very well either. So I think I'm going to try to look for an unobtrusive jacket on ebay or something. That way I won't spend too much money, and hopefully won't feel too silly. I know I won't show as well if I feel completely awkward and weird in what I'm wearing.
I didn't stay for the riding classes at this show since obviously I won't be showing Halo under saddle until 2010. I just want to limit my focus to things I can work on in the present, like showmanship and halter. I wish I had more control over her feed so that I could get her fit up a bit more, but she is happy and well-fed, so I'm going to do my best not to obsess about it. I'll throw the obsessive energy into something more worthwhile - like washing her tail!