Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Rednecks Take Detroit!!

Nearly twenty years ago I attended my very first horse show. The first of many to come, the A.S.H.A.M. (The American Saddlebred Horse Association of Michigan) Motor City Classic will always hold a special place in my heart. When I was a kid, before my mother got remarried, this was our big "vacation" for the year. Back in the days when this show ran from Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon, she would let me skip school on Friday so that we could drive to Detroit after school on Thursday and get checked into our hotel. We would stay at The Barclay Inn, which in those days was a pretty big deal to a single mother and her 9 year old daughter. Some years we would invite a friend of mine and her mother to join us, other times it was just us. I even had a special "expensive" sweatshirt that I would wear JUST to that horse show. It would hang in my closet until that Thursday in September, until I would break it out for the journey. One year school picture day happened to fall on "that Thursday"...guess what I had my pictures taken in? You guessed it!

Well, many years have passed since then. I've gone from a wide-eyed little girl amazed by the spectical of it all, to winning my first blue ribbon in that big arena, to coaching my own students through their first classes, to hanging my very own stall curtains with my name as the trainer (I know, who'd of thunk it!), and now taking my wide-eyed little girl there for the first time. I don't get to ride much any more, and I wish that Abbey had more of an opprotunity to, although someday I'm hoping she will. In the meantime, we have a ball making the trip and helping out where we can. My good friends Chris and Kelly were kind enough to act like they needed my help this weekend, letting me get horses ready to how, get my hands dirty and leave smelling like I spent the day rolling in a stall. God bless 'em, it was heaven.

Friday night Tony and I left right after work to get there just in time to catch the tail end of the second class of the night. We spent the rest of the evening chatting, enjoying the company of our friends and just generally having fun. When the show was over for the night, after filling up on sweets from the "dessert party", someone decided that it would be a good idea to try and ride this thing:

Luckily it was dark and most of the spectators had left for the night. Most of our little group attempted to climb it, without much luck. Finally, Ellie was a good sport and let two of the "manly men" heft her onto it's head. When she asked how she was supposed to get down, I don't think she was thrilled to hear that she just needed to "slide down it's tail like a stripper pole". She made it down safely in one piece, looking like a pro all the way! Go Ellie!!!

After that little adventure, we decided that we hadn't chanced our luck enough for the night and proceeded to sneak into the Detroit Red Wings practice rink (also on the fairgrounds) and play around on the ice for awhile. Mind you, at this point it was about midnight and dark out, which meant that it was PITCH BLACK in the hockey rink! We managed to feel our way around until we found the door to the ice, slide around for awhile, take some pictures and escape before anyone had enough good sense to call the police on us. I don't remember the last time I've done something so stupid and had so much fun. The joys of being child free for the night!

Saturday we took a day off to grocery shop, clean house, and just generally have a day to relax. Sunday, Abbey and I braved what looked like it could be a rainy, nasty day and drove to the Big D once more. Luckily by the time we got there, the weather decided to behave and it was a beautiful day. We got to watch Chris almost come off his horse when his stirrup decided to depart before the class was over (and then again during his victory pass!). Strong thighs prevailed and he stuck it until he was back to the barn. Whew...crisis averted.

After the morning session ended, it was Abbey and Lola's turn to enter the show ring for the first time. They made their debut as Bindi the Jungle Girl (Steve Irwin's daughter) and her crocodile in the "Best Dressed Pet" class. It was pretty stiff competition, especially when you have Sammy the Wonder Horse dressed as a pirate ship with his very small pirate crew on board. Abbey and Lola did a great job for being such a last minute decision, and ended up being 6th out of 8. You would have thought that little girl took home the blue ribbon she was so proud. She was REALLY excited that she got her very own back number and she wouldn't let me take it off until bath time later that night. I remember those days well...

The rest of the day went well, aside from the judge's inability to pick a nice horse over a plug. All in all it was a successful show and for the most part I think everyone went home happy. The highlight of Abbey's day came when Kelly let her ride Libby, the barn "pet" pony, around the barn a couple of times. It was love at first ride and Abbey and Libby spent the rest of the day sharing apples and lots of hugs. It was all I could do to get her in the car when it was time to go home. She's already made me promise that we'll go visit Libby VERY soon. Trust me, if it were up to me, that's where we'd be right now. But until then, the Michigan horse show magic is over for the year. Maybe next year I"ll buy Abbey a sweatshirt...

More random fun:

Ellie Henry and The Rolls Royce a.k.a. "Roy"
A.S.H.A.M. American Saddlebred Open Park Horse Reserve Grand Champion

Legends of Fire, Ellie Henry and Chris Carrick
Cloverleaf's Mr. Bojangles, Ellie and Chris

The Pretty Miss Kelly

Old friends Lindsay Anne Gawthrop and Heidi Madsen. Love these girls!
Practicing my photography skills...need lots more practice!

Varsity Blues and Sena Bowling
A.S.H.A.M. American Saddlebred Open Five Gaited Reserve Grand Champion

The last class of the show...see you all next year!!!!

1 comment:

coach75 said...

Looks like you guys had lots of fun!!