Greetings from Northampton, Mass. We’re here for the 24th Annual Northeast Benefit Horse Show. This is Samantha and Mondavi’s first “A” rated show. The schedule is somewhat unusual—it’s a Monday-Friday horse show, leaving horse people in New England free to participate in “normal people” summer holiday-weekend activities. That is, of course, assuming they can remember what normal people do on the weekend.
I’m very fortunate to have this entire week off work, and have in my care not one, but two horse show kids. I love it! It makes me feel cool when another mom trusts me with her kid for an extended field trip. (I know, I’m a geek.)
When we arrived from Vermont, the thermometer was pinned at 88 degrees, with nary a breeze. We found our assigned stalls, quickly unloaded our supplies and dumped bag upon bag of shavings into the stalls. My sneakers filled with crunchy, sweet-smelling shavings, mixing with the sweat. Excellent.
We prepared for warm-ups. In the process, I was schmeggied by both Misty and Mondavi with green stuff and brown stuff. After warm-ups, we bathed. So then I got wet. It was still really hot, and I was sweating profusely. I pretty much looked like I had wet my pants. Sorry, there’s no real graceful way to describe it. I noticed my fingernails were black.
As I walked around the show grounds in this state, I realized that the other mothers looked a little…cleaner. Hmmmm, what am I doing wrong? I saw quite a few teenage girls, clearly here to work as grooms. T-shirts, shorts and paddock boots, dirt and sweat running down their faces. That’s what I looked like too. Once a groom, always a groom.
Seeing these girls reminded me of all the years I worked as a groom. I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard in my life. Well, except when I worked jump crew for Gerry Briggs. I thought my spine was going to pop out of my mouth. I digress…
As we prepared to leave the barn for the night, my final task was to wrap Mondavi. This is my job because Samantha’s wrapping has not yet been approved for takeoff. She practices diligently, and hopeful this can become her job before the show season ends.
Bending down in this sweating state ain’t easy. As I huffed and puffed away, Mondavi decided he had to poop. Thanks, Mo Man. The horse has a sense of humor. Apparently, now that he’s been adopted by the Howell family, he feels a need to participate in the never-ending banter of potty-humor. He squeezed out a little extra “juice” which dripped all down the side of me and pooled in my hand. Sorry delicate readers, there’s no nice way to put it. In my weakened condition, I could not jump away fast enough to avoid the fountain of doom.
Everyone but me thought this was really funny! Yes, it’s awesome! Even better than the time my son projectile vomited in my face, and it filled my bra. Excellent!
I finally showered at 8 p.m. Luckily I packed a big bar of soap.
Elizabeth Howell grew up riding on the hunter/jumper circuit in Massachusetts. Now she is a horse show mom. She holds a day job at The Emily Post Institute and slings horse manure on the weekends. Her website is www.sheridesIpay.com.