Monday, 21 February 2011

The Joy of Showing

Someone I know recently said "Showing is about travelling around the countryside looking for a judge who loves your horse as much as you do".

To date Meg has had moderate to good success in the show ring. I know she is never going to be Clydesdale Horse of the Year because, although I absolutely adore her and think she is a beautiful animal, I realise she has shortcomings that are breed specific. Funny thing is that it's those shortcomings that I particularly like about her and they are what make her ideal for the riding horse she is for me (she has a round 'cooks bottom' not a rectangular 'working' bottom, she has sloping shoulders and a fabulous topline, she has good but not excessive bone, she has good but not overly large feet and she has beautiful feather but not an abundance). All these things mean that she's more of a 'handy horse' than a show Clydesdale.

Yesterday we met a judge who, it appeared, did not like her at all. I watched him judge and in the open classes, he didn't even look at her. It was hard not to feel despondent and hugely disappointed. I felt like jumping up and down and pointing and saying "LOOK! She's beautiful, just look at her!!" but, at the end of the day, he was the judge and it was his choice. and he had a clear preference for the rangier, more slab sided/square working horse. Fair enough too, that's what the breed are supposed to do - work.

Ironically this year I made the biggest effort I probably ever have with turnout (even getting a friend to help me with her tail) and it was the first time ever that we were unplaced in a turnout class. If I had not been sick as a dog with a nice dose of gastroenteritis, I would have asked the judge for some feedback as I felt she was easily top four in the line-up and know that there was not a speck of dust in her coat or loose hair to be found and her plaits and mane roll were tight and neat.

All that aside, she WAS the most beautiful horse on show to ME and the only one I wanted to take home with me and that is what really matters. We had heaps of people come over to us during and after the competition telling us how beautiful they thought Meg was too. Here are some photos of Meg from yesterday. I have photos of the other horses but not yet got around to sorting them out. I will pop them on a later blog.

Beautiful Meg

Meg doing what she does best - eating!
Meg walking out
Meg and Nick = Gorgeous!
Meg and Caroline
The amazing tail!
Beautiful expression
That tail again
More gorgeousness

I hope none of the above has come across as sour grapes as I completely accept that Meg is not going to be every Clydesdale person's idea of perfection and I know just how subjective showing is. I am hoping that my blog today will remind everyone who has a 'bad' day out showing that the most important thing is that you love and enjoy the horse that you are showing and taking home with you as that is why you share you life with that animal.


  1. She looks stunning Lou and you should be very proud of her :o) Jo

  2. No matter how I did at the shows with my goats, I alwyas took home the best in show! :D She's a beauty.

  3. You already know how much I like Meg and I admire your philosophical outlook on it. And I totally agree, you did take home the best horse at the show.

  4. Although I live in Canada and the chances that I will ever meet you and your family and the BEAUTIFUL Meg, I think she is absolutely the most beautiful horse. I have always wanted to own one just like her -- a big brother or sister for my wee Tigger boy. Love your great attitude and I hope that you and your family -- two and four legged -- have not been shaken by the earthquake.