Ah horse shows, how I’ve missed thee. The intoxicating fumes of horse manure mixed with the overpowering scent of leather conditioner makes me swoon. I sit here, carefully and methodically rubbing oil into every crevice of my tall, black boots, proud of every crease and bend. The dirt and grime on the inside of the calves is lovingly sponged away, then polished. I buff them quickly with a clean blue rag, and if I squint my eyes, I can kinda-sorta-just-a-little see my reflection in them.
I imagine Saturday when it will take me five minutes to get the stupid things on, but it doesn’t matter. Once my feet finally slip into place, I know it will be worth it. They fit just right around my feet, and just right on my calves, and then rest just below my knee, a spot that was continually bruised for the first month of wearing them.
Now the leather is a little softer, a little warmer, a little more forgiving to every muscle in my legs and feet.
I remember riding at practice on Wednesday, how far I’ve come in just six short months. I never do everything right, but more and more I can do more of it right. I can feel my diagonal, I can keep my legs closer to the right position, even when I post. I feel secure, confident.
And for goodness sakes, I will get a blue ribbon or I will die trying. OK, not literally, but if I don’t get a first place on both Saturday and Sunday (and both Colorado shows later), I won’t qualify for regionals. And my goodness do I want to qualify for regionals.
Wish me good luck, and hopefully I will come back with some pictures and a wonderful pretty blue ribbon to hang in my room.
For more information about the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association:
UNL Equestrian Team: