We are 7 weeks out from our (expected) first show of the season. Barring any major disasters I think I'll be able to show this year after all. So I've been doing a bit of pre-show-season assessing to see what needs to be done in the next 7 weeks.
1. Build up strength and endurance. We're not going to be in top shape this year. There just isn't sufficient time to get both of us back into anything other than functional show shape. But I think we can still get out there and not look like complete fools at the small shows we plan to attend. My current HUS trainer will be back in town mid April so I hope to get a lesson or two in before the show on May 6th.
2. Nixing the All-Around. In the past I've been doing Showmanship (both Eng. and West.), Hunter Under Saddle, Equitation, Horsemanship, and Western Pleasure with a walk/trot class thrown in there on good days. At this point I think it's wise to pare down a bit. Even when we've been in good shape we lack the mental and physical endurance to do all of those classes. So I think I'll be cutting out the western under saddle classes, at least for this first show. This way I can concentrate on English and Showmanship and just get him working on a floaty trot and a ground-covering canter instead of trying to build his strength AND slow him down which requires muscle tone he will not yet have. Better spend riding time on strengthening and conditioning. So I plan to do the Eng. Showmanship, Hunter Under Saddle, Equitation, and Western Showmanship. It's still 3 patterns to learn, but it was always the 4th (horsemanship) pattern that wouldn't stick. This also means I can leave the western saddle, bridle, pads, chaps, spurs, etc. at home and have less to prep and pack and CARRY, but I can still wear my western outfit. :)
3. Speaking of Show Clothing... I did a quick try-on of things today, making sure my layup didn't shrink my pants. The Western pants are fine (woot!) but they're not too big like they felt last summer (darn) but at least they are not too tight. My Western jacket needs some alterations and I'm replacing the zipper with a separating one because there's no way I'm going to squeeze my shoulders through that hot mess again. Poor construction choice, I must say! I'm questioning my earlier plan to add more appliques... sometimes less is more. For English everything looks good aside from the breeches. I tore a small hole in them last year and they never did fit well so that'll be the one "big" expense for this year. I've added the black spurs so now I can leave the "show" spurs on the "show" spur straps and I can leave my chrome/pink crystal spurs on my velcro straps. One less thing to deal with the day before/of the show... and hopefully I don't forget to put them on like I did last year. You can't wear them in Showmanship, so they have to go on between SMS and HUS.
4. Tack and other Supplies: We're pretty good here, I think. I just need to repair the hay bag he destroyed last summer and change out my chrome irons for my new black ones. Ooooh! My mad-psycho-organization skillz have created a pretty good system which allows for minimal loss or misplacement of things. Everything needs a REALLY good cleaning, though. I was so embarrassed at the condition of my girth the other day I cleaned it, but the saddle and bridle need it, too, and my work pad has more winter hair on it than my horse currently does. But it seems futile to wash it just yet. I'll just continue to be the talk of the barn I guess. :)