Horse Show Trainer's Diary

Nov 26, 2013 - 2:11 AM
Cartoon by Jody Lynne Werner

Get up at dawn of crack. Fumble in the dark, pull on mismatched outfit, head for horse show. It’s 4 a.m. Why isn’t Starbucks open yet?

Arrive at showgrounds, get exhibitor numbers from office, try to organize riders and schedule for the day.

Have Advil and coffee for breakfast.

Where are my riders?

Find riders for warm-up class. School riders. Holler same three instructions 15 times. Each.

Realize this is Day 1 of five-day show. Enthusiasm wanes.

Get to in-gate. There are 27 people ahead of you. Go to kiddy ring to school riders for crossrails class. Chew off what’s left of your fingernails; pray no one gets killed.

Go back to hunter ring. 29 people ahead of you now. Don’t ask how this happened.

Pop more Advil. Grateful they test horses for drugs, not trainers.

Pass porta-potty for 18th time. Make mental note to stop next time.

Have 22nd cup of coffee. Look at watch. It’s 9 a.m. Resolve to stop looking at watch.

School equitation riders. Realize your feet are starting to hurt.

While watching rider in equitation ring, hear announcement that hunter ring is holding gate for you and your rider. Run to ring. Make rider jump two fences in warm-up area and send her into ring.

Rider goes off course.

Bang head against railing. Spook pony next to you. Apologize. Pony rider’s trainer gives understanding, sympathetic smile.

Add headache to list of pains. Pop more Advil.

Did I pee yet?

Run to horse show office to put rider in class she forgot to enter. Pain from aching feet beginning to eclipse headache.

Frantically attempt to be in three places at once. Fail miserably.

Run back to barn to organize riders for medal class. In a spastic fit of poor judgment, tell 15-year old rider she can braid her own horse. Feet are now killing you.

Make mad dash for pony ring.

Say… that’s a nice bike.

Ride bike to ring to school pony riders. Discover your rider has painted her pony’s hooves with purple glitter.

Attempt to find solvent capable of removing purple glitter.

Kid who braided her own horse shows up at in-gate.

Attempt to find braider to re-braid horse.

Finally get to use porta-potty. Pop more Advil.

Ignore loudspeaker announcement re: missing bicycle

Head back to hunter ring to watch rider in adult amateur class. Try to maintain composure while Run Dobbin, Run! plays out in front of you.

Attempt to explain to pasty-faced amateur why it was not a good idea to leave a stride out of the combination.

Covet thy neighbor’s beer.

Make panicked attempt to locate rider called back for equitation work-off.

Find her in photographer’s tent watching video of World Cup Finals.

Run to jumper ring to school rider for jumper class.

She wins!

Thank your mother, your teachers, the Academy, and God. Reaffirm your confidence as a horse trainer.

Run to hunter ring to school kid for children’s hunter class.

Explain for the 15th time why purple and pink saddle pads are not acceptable for hunter classes.

Watch rider chip all eight fences.

Make mental list of occupations you could still go to school for.

Get to exhibitor barbeque late. Discover they are out of barbeque.

Must. Control. Fist. Of. Death.

Drink dinner at beer tent.

Return “borrowed” bicycle.

Go back to barn; wrap, feed and blanket horses.

Look at watch and are horrified at time. Make mistake of mentally calculating how many hours sleep you will get. Make bigger mistake of mentally calculating how much you actually make per hour.

Resolve to check out other employment options at first opportunity.

Spend half an hour looking for car keys.

Find car keys in coat pocket.

Get home after midnight.

Take more Advil, yank alarm clock plug out of wall, threaten husband and children with bodily harm if they wake you, and go to bed.

Resolve to look into witness protection program on Monday.

After years of trying to fit in with corporate America, Jody Lynne Werner decided to pursue her true passion as a career rather than a hobby. So now, she’s an artist, graphic designer, illustrator, cartoonist, web designer, writer and humorist. You can find her work on her Misfit Designs Cafepress site. Jody is one of the winners of the Chronicle’s first writing competition. Her work also appears in the Dec. 2 Amateur Issue print edition of The Chronicle of the Horse


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