Monday, August 27, 2012

Enjoying the show

What a beautiful evening
for a horse show!  The
'big oval' seats 30,000.
The  past few days I have been getting some practice rides in, and enjoying the show for the weekend. The celebration is really quite amazing. To see the quality of horses and to walk around on the grounds.  You can just feel the history of the breed. It's also a very social atmosphere. Most of the seating is box seats.  Where six chairs are placed per box. So people are even seated more casually to enjoy the show. There is a program that lists every entry in every class, so you can follow along and even play judge and mark your own cards in the program to see if you agree with the judges. I have typically selected what I thought were the top 3-4 horses and see if I'm at least in the ballpark with what the judges select. I have to say I haven't done too bad...with at least a few of my horse choices winning or in the top few. If you want to really get into it, they post the judges cards on the big screen right at the end of the class. Or you can go online to see the judges card results posted. It's all done almost real time. In addition you can go online and see the photographers photos of the classes.  Shane Shiflet is the Celebration photographer...and he posts after each class, so you can either go to his office space to review the photos, or go on the internet.  We even went out on our iPhones and Smartphones from our seats in the box to see some one day.  Amazing!  Wow what technology has delivered even to the horse shows. 

The preliminary stake class.
Can't get any closer to
the action than this!
I was able to sit one night right on the wall of the ring in the box in the first row. Literally I could have reached out and touched the horses as they went by. It truly is enough to make your heart pound with excitement.   And you had to keep your mouth closed (I know a tough feat for me!) otherwise the dirt could fly right in. However typically you get it in your lap as they round the bend. Lol.  Surprisingly, I did not eat dirt. However I did get hit with it more than a few times. All part of the excitement of the first few rows of boxes.

Mary, me, Carol & Ester.
I also sat for a while with Carol Olp and Mary Pickardt in their box, which was right on the bend, up a few rows, where you had an excellent view of the horses in the straight away as well as through the west end of the ring. And met their friends Ester & Jim.   We had fun and I met more folks and enjoyed the peach ice cream.  Later we moved our way down to sit with Darden and Dr Gladney, which is always a fun and charming time. And of course I met so many new people. Unfortunately Deborah wasn't feeling well, so we only enjoyed her company for a short while one night.  And I met Kathy Zeis who owns Texas Joe Black, and I learned a little about the color chart of our breed. In fact Kathy is the person who put the TWHBEA color chart together. So she is the expert and knows it in detail. She also got up to give an award presentation for the funding efforts for the swabbing testing.  They we're able to raise over $180k, and the Irby Baskin Co. matched up to $100k. So a huge fundraising success towards cleaning up the reputation of the breed. In fact on Friday they announced all the first results had zero instances. And the poster child in the news paper of clean horses was my very own Bourbon with Hannah riding him in the warm up ring.  :). 
Hannah riding B - as good poster child.
Cover of Tennessean newspaper.

Me and Carlan enjoy the show.
The horses are amazing...and so far I saw the preliminaries for the stake class...and rumor has it our new world champion will more than likely be Copperfield or Walk Time Charlie. And I saw them both, so even though I won't see the stake class in person next sat night, I have now seen both ride in person, up close from that first row seat. I also saw HONORS, my favorite the four year old preliminary. All three of these horses won their classes unanimously with all five judges picking them first in their respective classes. So the stake class is surely going to be awesome!  They are not sure if Honors will stay in the 4yo WGC stake or go for the big stake this year. If he does, I'm sure these three horses will have quite the showdown.  And, all of them being in the same ring at the same time, will take the house down. But rumors are rumors and all part if the anticipation, publicity and fun that makes the Celebration what it is.  Unfortunately, less than half of the horses registered for the prelim classes made it to the ring. A few big names thus being removed from the stake class. Which isn't good news...especially if they were turned down through the DQP process. 

Jane and I take time out from eating
curly potatoes to snap this photo!
Food is another pastime of the show. And I've certainly had my share of curley homemade potatoe chips, ice cream, pork tenderloin sandwiches and sweet tea.  Its a good thing I'm getting all the exercise with the horses this week or I wouldn't fit my show pants on Monday. Lol.  

The sign at Hannah Pulvers -
made by Ed.
Another activity is walking through the show barns. Most of the trainers set up an area for their customers to lounge, relax, socialize and eat. Hannah had a great mexican fiesta night on saturday night, complete with margaritas from these cool margarita makers.  It was all very yummy.  Plus I got the chance to chat with her and her other customers. Which is something you would think you'd do a lot more of all the time. But when everyone is showing and nervous, it doesn't always work out that way. So this was a great way to get to know everyone better and spend some time without the horses and showing pressures. And I have to say everyone cleans up really nicely. Lol. 

The HP barn is decorated and landscaped for all the customers
to enjoy.  We had a great mexican fiesta Sat night.
Krista mans the golf cart.
Notice flame design!
Golf carts are the fashionable mode of transportation around the grounds. Be that from trailer to ring. Or from barn suite to ladies room or car. Hannah had her cart on the grounds all week and I appreciated it more than once!  I even got to drive a few times.  It is quite spectacular - orange with flames.  Bub says he has to change the color, all us girls think we should add bling.  Bub is outnumbered at the barn by the ladies, so I fear the later just may happen one day, especially if miss Krista bling-lady herself has anything to do about it.  Lol. 

Katie and I enter the stadium.
I also stopped by to watch the horse auction. The famous Sale of Champions was directly across from my B&B so I stopped on my way home one day to see the horses sell. It was celebrating its 50th year this year.  Not much was put up for sale while I was there. And if I wasn't so paranoid about getting a bad deal, you certainly could pick up a nice trail horse for under $1000....some only went for $200-300.  I heard some top mares in foal did bring $5k and more later in the day. 

Well that covers some of the weekend activities, which brings me to my last day of showing at the 2012 Celebration.   But that'll be my next blog post....  Until then!

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