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August 1, 2014

How To Help Your Human Pack For A Show

An organic apple please? Photo by Joe Nevills

My Human and I enjoyed a successful, if somewhat surprising start to our show season this year. I think she may finally be learning how to stay out of my way during the dressage portion—now we need to teach her to stay in the saddle for the rest of it.

I was horrified to realize how ill-prepared my Human was for our show. Every time I looked up from my hay, she was hunting for a hairpin, digging through her grooming box, or frantically trying to scrub a grass stain out of her breeches.

To protect myself from the ensuing embarrassment next time, (she did this in front of the whole barn, because apparently “subtle” isn’t her thing) I’ve put together a customized packing list for her.

Now I have to hope she doesn’t lose the list.

  • Cookies (for me—if she consumes another thing she won’t be able to fit into her breeches)

  • Organic apples. Not conventional. Organic. (also for me—she really is getting hefty)

  • Carrot sticks (ditto)

  • Bottled water, preferably Pellegrino or other imported. For me. See above parentheticals.

  • Pepto (for her—I don’t get pre-show nerves, because I actually know what I’m doing)

  • Valium (because let’s face it, that’s the only way she’ll get in the tack)

  • Secanol (because let’s face it, that’s the only way she’ll stay in the tack)

  • Heavy rope (to tie her on long enough for us to cross the finish flags after she faints on the cross country course)

  • Smelling salts (so she’ll at least be conscious in time to watch everyone else get their ribbons)

  • That super-soft brush I love that does very little against ground-in mud, grass stains, or serious dust—I need my massage and she needs the arm workout.

  • My Rambo stable blanket, even if it’s warm. It’s important for my colleagues to see that at least one of us has good taste.

  • A new set of French-named boots. (And if we don’t have any, then put it on the shopping list)

  • Hair spray (for her. My hair is perfect.)

  • More hair spray.

  • That isn’t enough hair spray yet.

  • A surround sound stereo system, with speakers to be placed at C, A, E, and B to play my theme music during the dressage portion (Track options include “Eye of the Tiger” and “Hail to the Chief”)

  • Extra spending money for the food truck (I’ll take the veggie wrap with extra carrots, please)

  • Extra spending money for the tack truck because I might like to go shopping in between rides.

  • Extra spending money for the show photographer. I suggest taking the bills out in hundreds—reduces bulk.

  • All my blogging materials—HoofPad and charger are must-haves.

  • An extra HoofPad charger for when I chew through my original out of sheer frustration after stadium.

  • About $100,000 worth of professional camera equipment.

  • A professional photographer to zoom in on me, capturing every second of my eventing glory—even though she needs to purchase the show photos, I like seeing myself from several angles.

  • A second professional photographer, zooming in on the Human to capture every second of her fumbling. Game film is the best motivator.

  • A professional videographer to capture my best moments of Human coaching, for eventual use in my biopic.

  • A dose of specially-compounded, molasses-flavored bute for the ride home to combat my Human Show Headache.

 Happy show season!

Jitterbug is a Michigan-bred Professional Draft Cross who skillfully avoided saddles until age 5. Since then, she has been lauded for her talent in successfully managing humans while training herself to one day achieve eventing greatness. Jitter and her human live in central Kentucky.
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Photo by Dark Horse Photography.