One of the interesting things about running an equestrian facility is the overwhelming diversity of happenings. Every day brings with it new and interesting challenges, but there is also a seasonal cycle of events that works to stretch the imagination and skills…not to mention the pocket book. Although I am 100 per cent ecstatic to see the tail end of winter, I’m also just a tiny bit panicked about the onslaught of the spring/summer season.
Around here spring is divided into two separate, but equally important undertakings. On the one hand, I’m busy helping my students enter the final stages of preparation for the upcoming show season. The whole team is putting the finishing touches on partnerships that have been developing and improving throughout the winter and we’re all excited to show off our newfound awesomeness. I’ve done my best to steer people and ponies in the right direction (quite literally in some cases) and I’m eager to see how they stack up this season. We’re as prepared as we can possibly be and we’re ready to conquer all of the challenges that show season has to offer.
On the other hand, as a show organizer, course designer, marketing manager, and all around Jack of All Trades, I’m hard at work trying to put the finishing touches on what I hope will be Edenview’s best show season yet! Sure I have a ton of help and the support of my amazing family, but at the end of the day it rests on me to make sure we’ve done our best to provide a great experience for everyone who takes the time to come out and play with us. It’s a responsibility I take very seriously so messing up is not an option. There’s so much to be done and that ticking clock is starting to sound an awful lot like a time bomb!
The list of things to do is endless and like the final countdown before any major event, timing is critical! If I do things too early, I run the risk of having people forget deadlines or misplace orders. Just to clarify, by people, I mostly mean me. It would be so much easier if I could do most of the prep during the cold dark days of winter when I’d kill for any legitimate inside job, but sadly there are only so many things that can be done ahead of time. I’ve learned the hard way that there’s no point in cutting grass, harrowing rings or setting up jumps too far in advance because let’s face it, Mother Nature can be more than a little cranky come springtime. As keen as I once was, I’ve wasted way too many hours playing hide and seek with jump cups, flags, and number boards that have been blown to the four corners of the property by hurricane winds to be bothered trying to do outdoor prep more than a week before the event. I’ve grown a little older and wiser in the past few years and I’ve learned to firmly embrace the knowledge that some things are best left to the last minute.
That being said, I’ve also learned that leaving things to the last minute can mean scheduling conflicts, equipment malfunctions, and snow just when you’ve arranged for the new footing and fencing to be installed. I’d like nothing more than to be out there right now getting a jump (no pun intended) on changing the footing in one end of my jumper ring. There are a few soft spots that need to be peeled up so a firmer base can be added but what’s the point of getting started if the equipment is just going to leave crater sized ruts all across my ring. Although perhaps if there are ruts all across the ring, maybe no one will complain about the soft spots!
Last year, in a stop gap effort to detour the riders around that soft spot, we surprised our competitors by placing a full sized, four-seater wagon in our jumper ring. It was a beautiful site all decked out with flowers, and it really made the ring pop, but more importantly the horses avoided that spot like the plague. The riders weren’t expecting it and I know some were just a little freaked out, but as the day progressed they found their grove and pulled off some pretty amazing rounds.
I guess the best way to stay sane as the show season approaches is to understand that it’s going to be hectic, you can never be too ready, and no matter how much you’ve prepared something unexpected always happens. Show season is nearly upon us so ready or not here it comes!