It’s about 30 years too late but I may have finally discovered what might have interested my daughter in horses. She never caught the bug from me. I sometimes despaired over the historical perspective that many of my friends were offering her their outgrown ponies, while when I was a kid I desperately hoped to even get to touch a pony. At other times I said, “Fine, more for me. Lacrosse is good, too.” Helen would come to shows with me toting her collection of My Little Ponies, and the other kids there would join her at the picnic table, brushing their shiny manes and tales. When I came to the barn, and someone would bring out a pony for her, she would happily groom and brush but rarely ride.
Well, this weekend I was judging a dressage show in Williamston NC, west of Raleigh, which has a large facility. Our rings were on one side of the property while a show for minis was going on in the coliseum. There were hundreds of the sprites, which we glimpsed at times being led by seemingly huge men (maybe they looked larger because the horses were so small), while our huge warmbloods were tethered to tiny women. The minis looked more like dogs, and they acted like it at times, too, bouncing and rearing, sort of the equine version of Jack Russells. (Good thing our big boys didn’t do that, well, not much.) My daughter would have loved them – real live My Little Ponies, complete with the glorious tails.
One thing that fascinated me was the tack shops there. Everything was TINY. Halters. Saddles (yes, really little kids will ride minis, which I didn’t know before.) Lots and lots of grooming stuff, much of it in day-glo colors. I never knew this stuff came so small this side of a Barbie Stable. Maybe if I’d come up with a mini for my daughter to love, she would have taken up ponies after all.
They’ve been holding dressage shows in North Carolina since last month, while we aren’t due for our first show of the season in New England until May. This makes for a really short season when riders are trying to qualify for such things as Junior/Young Rider teams, and we’ve got only about three months to qualify for regional championships. This year, we probably could have been holding shows in February, since it’s been so mild, but now we really need rain. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but for once mud season doesn‘t coincide with shedding season.
I picked up a fellow from the train station last week who’s from L.A. and he was commenting on how cool it is here, while we were all saying how warm it is. Gee, we don’t even need to zip up our coats and sometimes my mare even needs to be hosed down after I ride since she’s got a trace clip and is still wearing her winter snuggies. This year I’ve been seeing ticks before I’ve even seen flies, which doesn’t bode well for Lyme or West Nile later in the year.
I’ve been trying to get a handle on what kind of weather we can expect after we move to Tryon NC, in the western hilly part of the state. I know summers temperatures are supposed to be similar to what we’re used to here in NY, while winters are milder. As a gauge, I asked my real estate agent there if they get much in the way of hard freezes in the winter. She thought about it and then said, “Sure.” I still wasn’t convinced, so I asked her when she turns her horses out in the winter whether they are clean or muddy when they come in. She said, “Muddy.” Nope, that’s not a hard freeze. I suspect I will save money next winter on my farrier bills because I won’t need snow pads or borium.