I spent the last two weeks working in Tulsa, Okla., at the 2012 Color Breed Congress horse show.
I grew up showing Tennessee Walkers and Hunter Jumpers, so the horse show circuit is nothing new to me. However, being on the business side of things is. Being there and not having my horse with me and not being able to show made me realize just how much I miss it. I miss the long hours preparing for the show, the road trips there, the running around the show grounds with your horse show friends. I miss the sparkly outfits, the lucky tall boot socks. I miss having a trainer. I even miss waking up before dawn with the anticipation of the day's events (its MUCH easier to wake up that early when you're showing instead of working the show). But being on the other side of things allows me to experience horse shows in a different way.
One of my favorite parts of it is seeing the young girls who clearly have a bond with their horse. It reminds me of me. Of course I love my horse Warrior, but I miss all the other ponies I used to ride. Tommy, Sally, Glider, Wheel, Fatty, Replay.... the list is endless. What I would give to still be that horse crazy 14-year-old without a care in the world. I loved the bond I shared with each of those horses, trusting them and loving them as they did me. The bond shared between a girl and her horses is something not everyone understands, but if you've had it, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
There is a quote that says, "All horses deserve, at least once in their life, to be loved by a little girl." I'm glad I could give that love to so many horses as I was growing up. Each one left a hoof print on my heart.
Although the days of loping through the pasture, souring over jumps and having horse poop fights with barn friend (yes... we really did that) are long gone, I'm glad I still get a chance to see others enjoy it. Maybe one day, I can be the cool old lady at the barn who takes the little girls on trail rides and still competes in the elite amateur division. Here's to hopin'!
For now, enjoy some of my favorite pictures I took at the show. I guess if I can't ride, a front row seat with a camera isn't a bad second option.