?I knew, when stepping back up to the editor's post for Horse&Rider, that I'd have to squash any idea of showing my own horses this summer. I'd already learned, from having the job earlier, that keeping a show horse going on your own, and keeping a magazine going, too, are not mutually inclusive activities. Not, at least, when your objective is to deliver championship efforts at both.
So, you make your bed, you lie in it.
Nevertheless, being up early on a summer Saturday still takes me--in memory if not reality--to a horse show wash rack. That's where I've had some of my best private times with favorite horses. It's not so much the washing part (where the cold water from some fairgrounds hose runs straight down into your armpit), but the intimate, anticipatory communion with the animal that made those mornings memorable.
There's that soft nicker when you show up at the stalls to fetch Ol' Faithful and dust the shavings off him.
There's the clip-clop of his shod hooves as you lead him onto the wash rack's cement floor.
There's the patient acceptance by the good-horse-buddy of the spraying, scrubbing, rinsing process--one he's undergone a hundred times and accepts as part of what he does to please you.
There's that smell of clean, wet horsehair. The squeek of the water scraper running over him. The chirping of birds, up at dawn like you are.
There's the entrance into the day's competitive bubble, where your mind is so occupied by all the details of the show day to come that the brain gets a rest from its work-work or school-work thoughts.
Not at all a bad place to be.
I'll probably wander by a local horse show today, just to say hi to a few of the homies and watch a class or two. And I'll bet some of them are having their own washrack moments right this minute.
Hope they appreciate 'em for the privilege they are.