Madigan went to his very first show on Friday and while the show itself was a hot mess, Madigan himself was a very good boy.
The hot mess kicked off a couple of weeks ago. The closing date for the show was July 23; I waffled on whether or not to enter him, but finally did so while I was in Kansas City for work on July 21. I paid for his USEA number, filled out an entry via Xentry, paid the entry fee, and e-signed the form. When the show entry status page updated in early August, Madigan’s name was missing. I searched through my emails for the confirmations of payment and signatures and found them. And noticed at the bottom of one email something about this event not accepting online entries, only mailed entries.
After a brief profanity-laced rant in my car, I accepted that this was my fault for not reading closely enough. I emailed the show secretary to explain the error and asked if I could be added to the show or obtain a refund. She got me entered right away. Crisis averted! Money not wasted!
The show required every horse to have a health certificate, so I made an appointment at the vet clinic for the Tuesday before the show. The week before I took him down there, I called the clinic his breeder used to ask for a copy of his medical records so my clinic could have them. You would have thought I was asking for nuclear codes! I was informed that only his breeder could authorize the release of his records; when I told them his breeder had already done so (or at least told me she’d done so), the clinic insisted they’d heard no such thing and wouldn’t send me anything. (I guess they eventually called his breeder or decided the horse didn’t have a right to privacy, as the records showed up in my mailbox last week.)
On Wednesday, I felt positively about the upcoming show. Madigan had a shiny new Coggins and health certificate. He was listed as entered. Ride times were supposed to be published that day. All was well! However, at noon, ride times were not published. At 5 PM ride times were not published. At 8 PM, the facility’s Facebook page posted that ride times would be published within the hour. A post with ride times was never actually published (nor did I get an email with them); I found the times by guessing the URL of the ride times page based on the URL of the entry status page.
Madigan was scheduled to go at 3:12 PM on Friday. After conferring with Madigan’s show squad, I decided to leave at 11 AM. It’s a 2.5 hour drive to the venue, and everyone felt like extra time was better than too little time. I decided to have my friend next door handle Madigan at the show. She’s experienced with showing horses in hand and has presented lots of young horses at inspections. Plus, she runs way faster than I do! Another friend came to act as assistant handler (to wave the longe whip at him to get him to trot) and a third friend came for moral support. It was fun to have a group and useful to have all the extra hands!
We arrived around 2 PM and I headed to the show office to check in. Madigan unloaded a little wide-eyed but settled down quickly once he was parked in front of a hay bag. Assistant handler braided him, and she and my neighbor changed into their very professional-looking matching outfits. We all trekked down to the triangle with Madigan in tow. The triangle was set up in a field that was also being used as a schooling/warm-up area. It was busy, but not too wild. Horses were being ridden and led around and some were screaming like banshees, but Madigan was perfect. He let out one or two little baby whinnies and spent most of his time grazing.
We (and several other young horses and their handlers) waited around for about half an hour past the scheduled start of Future Event Horse. The judge never appeared. Someone eventually went to the show office to inquire about the delay, at which point we were informed the in-hand classes had been pushed back until 5 PM! I was super irritated about this- the ride times were apparently updated at 6:30 AM Friday morning, but I didn’t receive an email, there was nothing posted on the venue’s Facebook page or the show secretary company’s, and no one in the show office thought to mention it when I checked in and stated I was there for Future Event Horse. Back to the trailer we went. Madigan was unfazed. He was quiet and calm and spent an hour and half grazing (and attempting to trim the facility’s trees).
Madigan’s spin around the triangle was uneventful. He was a little fussy about standing still- he didn’t do anything bad, just fidgeted a little and stood in the most awkward possible ways. That did not help him look his best, but the judge was understanding. Madigan walked perfectly and trotted with minimal encouragement from the longe whip. The judge complimented his relaxed demeanor and mentioned his athleticism and confidence on the score sheet. He ended up with a 71.11, which was good enough for second place behind a nice Oldenburg/Arabian colt. It took forever for the results to be posted; we left as soon as we could grab the ribbon and a photo and I pulled into my driveway at 10:15 PM.
I could not be more pleased with Madigan’s first outing. He stood around like an old pro, never got upset about anything, and traveled like a champion. It was a VERY long day, especially for a baby horse. I’m really impressed with his temperament- he’s such a sensible horse!