Showing Your Human, Part 2

Nov 15, 2013 - 2:49 AM
See that? It's a ribbon I, Jitterbug, won. Photo by Joe Nevills

I am pleased to announce, my diligent Chronicle readers, that my Human and I completed our first horse trial this fall. As I detailed on my Facebook page, I finished third (I had no help from the Human, after all—it’s her fault I didn’t get to do my courbette down the center line. The incompetent coward.) and I was dismayed to discover that she received a completion ribbon.

 (Read the first installment of Showing Your Human from Jitterbug.

As if hanging on with her arms around my neck, screaming all the way across the cross-country course is both “participation” and “something that deserves a reward.”

That’s what I get for agreeing to train a Millennial.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on my Human’s generation, and am learning that psychiatrists believe they are self-centered and shallow, with short attention spans and the tendency to congratulate themselves for, I don’t know, breathing.

Dead on, docs.

Anyhow, I was surprised to find that the competition was not only a learning experience (or so I hope) for my Human, but also for me. There were several unexpected situations and unfortunate details throughout the weekend, and now I know I need to communicate the terms for my competition status more officially.

Jitterbug’s Show Contract

The following are a suggested summary of the required conditions a Human must maintain in order to receive my training for any competition, at any level:


  1. If the trailer has not been pressure-washed and stocked with first-cutting hay within two hours, I do not have to get on.

  2. If you plan to stick me next to that insufferable gelding with the cough and the old man smell, I do not have to get on.
  3. If you make one, just one, comment about how if I get on the trailer, I get a cookie, as if I’m a parrot or something, I will glare at you from the bottom of the ramp, potentially for hours.
  4. In the event that any of these conditions are violated, I not only don’t have to load on the trailer, I’m within my rights to put you through hours of schooling proportionate to the grossness of your negligence.
  5.  I reserve the right to terminate or alter this section at will with no notice, written or otherwise. (Remember who is packing whom around the ring, after all.)


  1. Tents (of any size) are for hobos and granola-munching hikers. Have you ever seen me forego a meadow for a hike up a mountain? Didn’t think so.

  2. My attempts to escape the stall and run around the show grounds like a gazelle will directly correspond to the inadequacy of the stall’s size. If the stall is 12×12, I will hover near the door. If the stall is 11×11, I have the right to break all stall guards and stretch my legs. If the stall is 10×10, I simply don’t have to go in.
  3. I require a groom to be posted outside my door at all times to ensure my security (at the average starter horse trial, I am the most famous horse on the grounds) and the enforcement of the rider to my contract (see below). This groom should be highly trained and compassionate, preferably someone who has worked at the Olympic or five-star level, and who is connected with a horse cookie company in some way.
  4. I cannot be stabled next to horses or ponies significantly younger or older than me. Younger equids are sweet and well meaning but tend to idolize me (understandably) and yammer about my virtues all night long. Older mares tend to gripe at me (jealous much?) and older geldings have that distinct ‘old beet pulp’ odor to them, which I simply can’t tolerate. It’s really best to rent the stalls on either side of me and leave them empty. Suggested ways to decorate these stalls: colorful bulk bins for my cookies, pictures of me, and all the mobile technology I need to write on the road. Also, pictures of me.
  5. I reserve the right to terminate or alter this section at will with no notice, written or otherwise. (Remember who is packing whom around the ring, after all.)


  1. If the judge makes one veiled comment about my body condition score during dressage, I forfeit. I also reserve the right to double-barrel that weird little house they sit in on the way out.

  2. If the judge deems me “cute” in our dressage test comments, I may have her come to our barn for a clinic because clearly she knows what she’s doing.
  3. I reserve the right to terminate or alter this section at will with no notice, written or otherwise. (Remember who is packing whom around the ring, after all.


  1. The announcer will be given my proper name and title well in advance. Before announcing our entrance to the ring, he will be required to say “Ladies and gentleman, I present you with your queen and ultimate equid ruler.”
  2. I reserve the right to terminate or alter this section at will with no notice, written or otherwise. (Remember who is packing whom around the ring, after all.)


  1. If it is greater than 72 degrees Fahrenheit, I do not work.

  2. If it is less than 65 degrees Fahrenheit, I do not work without bucking.
  3. If it is less than 62 degrees Fahrenheit, I do not work at all.
  4. If the wind is greater than 2 miles per hour, no matter the temperature, I do not work.
  5. If the breeze is blowing in any direction that will prompt it to enter my ears at any time, I will not work in that direction.
  6. If there is any kind of precipitation, I do not work.
  7. If there is precipitation that in any way touches my face, I have license to kill you.
  8. I reserve the right to terminate or alter this section at will with no notice, written or otherwise. (Remember who is packing whom around the ring, after all.) 

Jitterbug’s Horse Show Contract Rider (no pun intended)

  • I will require one bottle of chilled Guinness with my morning grain each day while we are away. Any alternative to Guinness will be snorted at. Any alternative that has the word ‘light’ in its name will be spat out, probably on your shoes.
  • I require a snack of grapes every two hours, hand-delivered to the stall. They must be green, they must be chilled, they must be peeled, and they must be organic. (Note: They also must be full price. I’ll be able to tell.)
  • The only type of water I find acceptable is Fiji. If I am brought water from the tap, I will riot (and you don’t want to see what that looks like). Any other brand will be pooped in. Store brands will be pooped in twice.
  • No grooming tools, clothing items, or tack will enter my stall or immediate vicinity if they are pink, sparkly, glittery, or flower-scented.  I do not belong in Barbie’s Malibu Dream Barn after all, and neither do you, at least not with that waistline.
  • I will only wear name brand blankets and sheets assembled in Ireland. I will not wear discounted clothing.
  • I reserve the right to add to or edit any of these requirements at any time with no notice, so I’d advise extending that credit limit (if American Express doesn’t laugh you off the phone, Miss Amazon Addict). 

Complete and total fulfillment of all the above guidelines might, just might, result in my services for the duration of the show. If it doesn’t take too long—I have grass to eat back home, after all. Now, where’s that pen?


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.
Follow Jitterbug on Facebook!
Photo by Dark Horse Photography.


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