Third show yesterday: Starlight and I have been together just 3.5 months and our partnership and enjoyment of each other is growing by leaps and bounds. I love this mare! and she seems to love me, too, bless her generous heart.
Yesterday we showed at Osierlea in San Juan Bautista, California, one of the nicest places to show in Northern California. Osierlea has been a dressage facility since the very early days of dressage in California. In fact, I think I may have showed there as a teenager many, many, many decades ago….
Nowadays it is a jewel of a place, a quiet retreat of many trees, flowers, nice arenas, with friendly and helpful show personnel and volunteers. Some of the lovely touches (let show organizers take note of how much this matters):
- A check-in packet containing a schedule of riders (“day sheet”), information about the facility (a map!), some free sample size horse products, and some cookies for your horse.
- A cool cup of water offered to hot, sweaty competitors as we exited the competition arena. Oh, thank you, thank you!
- A big bowl of carrots for the horses sitting on the show secretary’s table all day. Take as many as you want, it was renewed all day long…
- Free (good) coffee, nice fresh muffins, and fresh fruit in the morning.
- Delicious and very reasonably priced fresh grilled hamburgers for lunch. My show
helper husband can’t stop talking about the hamburgers and what a deal they were (especially compared to the lunch offerings we’ve seen at other shows).
- Pleasant and helpful staff and volunteers, well dragged arenas, and NO FLIES! Plenty of room to warm up, with a large separate area for lunging. Immaculate facility.
- Reasonably priced overnight accommodations for the horses in well maintained stalls.
- Fresh flowers and a softly tinkling water fountain on the show secretary’s desk gave an atmosphere of calm.
- Lots of shade and many places to sit down and relax. Shady seats to watch the rides.
The little things matter and they make a big difference in a show experience that feels relaxed and pleasant, or unpleasantly struggling.
Like air travel, we have a choice in show venues (sometimes)...I will always choose a pleasant and helpful show management over one that is surly and/or unorganized, both of which I’ve run into occasionally, although many shows are well run. Just few are as lovely as Osierlea.
Starlight showed very well and we had a lovely time together. She is starting to be able to focus on me at shows rather than everything outside the ring, and so the feeling of relaxation and harmony is coming together as you can see in some of these photos. I apologize for the quality, most of them are screen shots taken from the video, and it was almost noon, so the camera had trouble with the lighting as we went in and out of shadow.