Each year I’m charged with the nerve wracking job of choosing the ribbons that will serve to distinguish the Edenview show series from its competitions. These colourful strips of fabric are ruffled, glued, and pressed to within an inch of their lives until they are transformed into the magnificent symbols of achievement. Every year when I prepare to order our ribbons for the season, I am acutely aware that the decisions I make today are destined to hang proudly in a place of honour by all who win them, admired, and envied by all. God help me, I’d better get it right!
Ordering ribbons should be every equestrian’s dream come true. Sometimes I think of all the money I could have saved over the years if, instead of dropping mountains of cash at venues across the region, I had simply picked up the phone and placed an order! But ordering ribbons isn’t as simple as it might seem. There are a multitude of catalogues containing every conceivable combination of options in every colour, shape, and size imaginable. Of all the jobs associated with running a show, nothing is as freakishly stressful for me as ordering the ribbons.
So, here’s what I’m up against. The ribbons have to be big enough to impress but small enough for us to afford. The colours need to be bright and lively, have to set our place apart from everyone else’s, while somehow managing to remain red, blue, white, yellow, green, and pink. Thankfully, the ribbon industry anticipated these difficulties and have provided an assortment of interesting options including plaids, checks, paisleys, prints, metallics, pastels, and enough buttons, ruffles, and streamer options to overwhelm even the most decisive of administrators. I always know I’ve hit upon the right choice when they arrive looking good enough to eat!
But ordering is only half the battle. The part that causes me to actually feel the blood pumping in my temple, is the process I refer to as “The Counts”. This involves tallying up how many classes we have, how many of those pin to sixth and how many to fifth, which ones need medals instead of ribbons, and which ones require the fancy ribbons we like to give for a derby class. I take all of this information, make a note and then sort through any unused ribbons from previous shows. I total the number of unused ones, subtract that number from my order, double check the counts, and send off my requests. No need to point out that it’s not exactly rocket science but at some point each year, I somehow manage to screw it up.
In my defence, I am easily distracted by bright colours and pretty things, so the odds of getting it right are never in my favour. Thank goodness I have a truly gifted ribbon supplier. This wonderful lady has saved my butt on more than one occasion and for that I owe her an eternal debt of gratitude, never mind that she consistently produces beautiful works of art out of a roll of ribbon and some glue! She once hand delivered the missing championship ribbons the day of the show just as we were announcing the winner! She casually entered the ring, walked over to the young lady and handed her the ribbon, no one was the wiser.
Last year, as thanks for another season of saving my bacon I promised Nancy, my ribbon saviour, that I would seek help for this year’s counts. I am currently in the process of handing over the ribbon reins to my daughter. She has just graduated from the University of Prince Edward Island with a 90% average in their business program. If anyone’s up to the task it’s her, so I’m fairly confident that this year we’ll be getting our orders right. If not I’m actually fearful that Nancy might be too “busy” to accommodate our needs. The only other person truly capable of understanding the amount of stress involved in ordering ribbons has to be Nancy and I can only imagine what the vein in her temple must feel like when the Edenview ribbon counts arrive.