Sunday, March 28, 2010

And now, show season is upon us…

Cheryle is awesome, and REALLY organized. I have organizational ideals, but often fall far from them. Like now, when she sent me this blog post almost a month ago, when we were planning the April Schooling show. I found it when cleaning my inbox today, a week AFTER the first show. Oops. Well, by being late, we get some pics of the first show!


And Now, Show Season Is Upon Us
By Cheryle Oshman Blunt.

I started working for Straight Forward Dressage a little more than a year ago.  When it started, my job was to make a night check schedule for the boarders.  Pretty simple.  A couple of months after I started working for Ange, she decided we should have a staff meeting.  She had told me that one of her ideas was to have some small schooling shows right at the farm, and I knew we’d be talking about that a bit at the meeting.

When the schooling shows came up at our staff meeting, we pored over the show calendar figuring out who would be going where when and trying to figure out where to fit in our three initial shows.  A date would come up, and Ange would say, “Does that date work for you, Cheryle,” or “We need to schedule them when Cheryle is available.”

I thought, “Gosh, I might like to show, but they don’t really have to cater to me, especially since I’m not even sure I’ll ride.”  Oh, yes, the naiveté!  It hadn’t occurred to me that I was to be running these shows myself!  True, I’d volunteered at schooling shows back in Maryland.  True, my SFD job had grown a bit.  True, I had figured that I’d be sifting through the entries and perhaps even making the schedule, but running a horse show?  I definitely didn’t feel qualified for that.  I’m not sure when it dawned on me that I’d actually be in charge on show days, but it was a sobering thought.
The first show was a real learning experience.  How do we handle someone being so late that they’ve missed their ride times?  How do I make sure the judge is comfortable?  How early do I need to be there to beat the first trailer arriving?  (I guess 2 hours before their ride time wasn’t quite enough…)  Where do we park the trailers when the field is muddy?  Perhaps for seasoned secretaries or folks who have done a lot of showing themselves, these questions are not a big deal, but during that first show, they sent me running to Ange in between her many rides.

I learned a lot over the rest of the season and 3 more shows too.  I learned that I am competent and organized, even if I did forget to order ribbons once.  I learned that I actually enjoy planning these events, even when it all goes wrong.  I learned that sometimes I’m not even the most nervous rider and that I trust my pony more than I did a year ago.  I learned that I work with an amazingly supportive community – both inside and outside of SFD.  I learned that volunteers are worth their weight in gold, and by the last show, I didn’t even feel like I had to be everywhere at once!  By the end of the season, I didn’t have to run to Ange with every question, and was even (almost) comfortable the day she couldn’t be at the farm during one of our shows.

And now I’m realizing that our first show of the new season is mere days away.  New questions arise – Where will we park the trailers if the snow isn’t gone?  But I’m really excited for the five shows we have planned this year.  We have some new prizes, which means more tracking, but I’m ready.  I hope I’ll be seeing many of the same faces I saw last year, equine and human, and hope I’ll be seeing some new faces too.  Good luck to everyone this season!  See you in the ring.