I went to a little show last night. I’d never been to this show before. Apparently, I offended the judge in some way. He yelled at me a lot. It was very strange.

I was in showmanship. There were 11 entries in the class. The judge decided that he wanted the horses to walk in the ring and then walk around the ring for a while. Why, I don’t know. But I knew I was in trouble. The line was being led by a lady with a foal. Then all the rest of the horses were western pleasure type Quarter Horses with itty bitty tiny strides walking very slowly. Then there was Prize with her big stride. All the Quarter Horse people were going into the ring with no space in between them. I knew there was no way I could do that. So I waited at the in gate and was trying to let 3 or 4 horse lengths happen between the horse in front of me and me. The judge looked up at me and gave a very disgusted snort. I thought at the time it was because I was holding up the line so I went in even though I only had about 2 horse lengths. I play a game with Prize to make her pay attention where I vary the speed of my walk and she needs to vary her speed so she always stays at my shoulder. That came in handy now. We were taking one slow step at a time but we caught up really quickly.

Prize started collecting her body up as much as possible but she was still getting squished. The horse behind her was very close to her and that worried me because she’s been known to kick. She’s also been known to bite the butt of horses going too slow in front of her to get them to hurry up. She didn’t do either. Instead she decided to see how small she could make her body. She arched her neck and put her chin close to her chest. I’m sure if you didn’t know what was going on she looked like she was coiling up and about to explode. As soon as she did that I hear the judge yell, “274!” (That would be us.) “Get out of line!” He told me to put her in the back of the line. He didn’t seem very happy.

I gained a lot of space that way but we still were gaining on the group. Then a horse went running full speed by us on the outside of the ring. I’m not sure exactly what happened but Prize was on my right side and she ended up on my left saying, “Oh my God! Did you see that?”

The walking finally ended and we were first to work the pattern. She nailed the pattern. It was walk from A to B, do a 270 degree turn to the right, and trot to the judge. She planted a hind leg and pivoted around her turn perfectly. She set up for the judge and never moved. But the judge started picking at her. Literally. He was pinching under her girth area and all over her. I think he was looking for dirt but she was clean. I was shocked that she didn’t move. Then he said to me very snippily, “Do you know what your number is?” Judges can ask questions and that’s a favorite one to ask little kids but his tone was just nasty. I sweetly said, “274” and refrained from adding, “Remember? You just bellowed it at me to get me out of line?”

Then she was bad and would not stand while waiting in line. So she didn’t deserve to place. But at the end of the class the judge came up to me and I thought he was going to yell because she didn’t stand. But he says to me, “You should leave some space after the horse in front of you before you come into the ring.” WTF? That’s what I was trying to do! Don’t give me a comment that says that you have no clue what was going on in front of you.

I think that the snort wasn’t because I was leaving space but because I was an English rider. I was the only one on the fairgrounds. I’ve had that problem here before. I actually got into a fight with a person I was organizing a show with because he said that, “I’ll be damned if I let any English horses come to my show!” There are a lot of English riders here but I’ve never been anywhere where there is so much open hatred between people in different disciplines.

So, now that the judge hated my guts, I loaded Prize up and we went home. No use wasting our time and getting yelled at.

Overall I was very, very proud of her pattern. It was the best she’d ever done. And it was the first time I had to wear my hunt coat in two years. I’ve lost 20 pounds since then and the coat was huge! That sort of made me happy. But now I need a new coat.