Okay, I’m just going to come out and say it, showing is not for the faint hearted, in fact, I think showing is actually SUPER HARD. However, one thing I do realise, is that my reasons for thinking along these lines, may not be the reasons you imagine. So, in honour of the great Australian pass-time that is showing horses, behold, the top 5 reasons why I think showing is harder than ANY OTHER HORSE SPORT ON THE PLANET;
1. You require a Juris Doctorate to decipher the rules surrounding Newcomer events. I defy any person in the GALAXY to argue with me on this point.
2. To qualify a horse for a Royal Show you will need to travel great distances. You will drive and drive and drive and DRIVE.
3. When you arrive at said qualifying event, you will obtain the program for the first ring and you will wait and wait and wait and WAIT until you finally compete. Then you will come second. You will continue in the style of Groundhog Day. Obtain program for ring 2, wait, wait, wait, wait, compete, second, REPEAT. WINE pls. OMG no WINE because must drive home. Home is HOURS AWAY.
4. Whilst waiting you will have spent the day drinking INSTANT COFFEE.
5. When you finally compete at the Royal Show you have worked so hard to enter, there will be RIDES and SHOWBAGS and CROWDS and everything will basically be OFF THE CHARTS CRAY CRAY. Hopefully you will leave the competition with a ribbon because you will most certainly leave without your SANITY.
Oh, I just realised that I actually have 6 reasons. Apologies for any confusion.
6. Sometimes, competitors from other horse sports will sledge your chosen discipline. They will say things like BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. You will respond by asking them whether they have competed at a ROYAL SHOW? Whether they have braved the RIDES, survived the CARNIVAL ATMOSPHERE and left with all their limbs intact? You see, you will tell them, us show riders are not simply riders, we are MORE than that. We are CARNI WARRIORS.
So anyhoodle, if you do encounter one of these naysayers, I suggest you tell them the greatest tale in Carni Warrior history. A tale that has made its way into Carni Warrior folklore and one which I will recount for you now.
Cast your mind back to the 2014 Alltech World Equestrian Games, Carni Warriors across Australia gathered around their computer screens, cardonnays in one hand, ciggies in the other and they waited. They waited with baited breath for Maree Tomkinson, Queen B of all the Carni Warriors to appear with her faithful steed HRH Diamatina. The idea that their Queen B had become an UNDERDOG in the world of international dressage was like a poison arrow through their hearts and minds. So there was this MIRACLE and Carni Warriors across Australia UNITED, this was no time for bickering, there was a WAR to be fought and they got behind their Queen B and they watched her show the world what Australian Carni Warriors are MADE OF. TAKE THAT BITCHES, BOOM!
HRH was like, having a total #hairgoals kind of day. She swished her international tail and thought about how fancy she was looking wearing her ear bonnet in support of Motor Neurone Disease research. HRH was ready to go out and SLAY that 60 x 20. That was until she saw – THE TUNNEL. Dear God! she thought to herself. I am a DRESSAGE HORSE! Who’s idea was this terrifying tunnel? What were they thinking? I.CANNOT.POSSIBLY.GO.ON!
Queen B, feeling HRH’s terror and fear, leapt from her back, landed on two feet, looked HRH in the eye and said the following; “I am your FEARLESS LEADER, I am QUEEN B of the CARNI WARRIORS and we are going into BATTLE!" HRH knew the time was upon her to trust her fearless leader and that all of those years spent in training were for THIS moment.
The bell had gone, there was no time for arena familiarisation, no time to look around and get used to like, the, um, flower pots. As Queen B leapt into the saddle she chuckled to herself, these Europeans are soft as BUTTER. Where’s the Crazy Mouse? Where are the Clydies pulling the gigantic Carlton & United Breweries Wagon? There was no more time to think. It was SHOWTIME! HRH, buoyed by her rider’s confidence, felt the adrenaline coursing through her body transform into electricity. HRH remembered the immortal words of Crocadile Dundee and thought to herself; You think THAT is passage? THIS IS PASSAGE! Queen B and HRH rode the test of their lives.
Back in STRAYA, a collective chill passed through all the Carni Warriors. There was SILENCE. The Carni Warriors were transfixed, they watched HRH halt square and rein back, they watched her trot tour, they marvelled at her canter tour (+++ marks), the test was coming to an end, centre line, halt, salute.
A collective roar went up as Carni Warriors around Australia cheered. The roar could be heard across the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, across the Nullabor Plain. The roar could be heard as far as El Questro and TRUE STORY, it was heard by a group of British backpackers sitting round a campfire. “What is that?” one said. “I can’t quite make it out?” said the other. “Wait, wait, I think I can hear it?” said the third. The roar gathered in intensity, it got louder and louder, the Carni Warriors were emboldened, they hollered and screamed, until everyone in the nation could hear their roar. WHO SAYS SHOWIES CAN’T RIDE!