Covid-19 also affected shows, like livestock shows and horse shows. Some states still haven’t opened up to allow these kinds of shows, and some have just continued to cancel as it’s easier than taking a risk. While some shows have continued here in Oklahoma, especially some of the larger ones like AQHA World show is still in the plans (as of August 12, 2020). Other events like large state fairs have been cancelled around the country
This also included the small, local county horse show for the fair. I helped to organize the show, find the judge (who did a fantastic job), got some volunteers, and was gracious enough to have a fair ground crew work with me to make sure the COVERED arena was in good shape. Now, was it perfect, no. But nothing is.
Now I’m bringing notice to the COVERED arena because that’s to note 2 things. Number one, growing up, I didn’t have a covered arena to show in at the county fair, or many of the rodeos I participated in. Covered arenas were expensive and quite honestly, you had to be showing at like the Region/Area show to get that luxury. As my dad used to say, “don’t be picky about what you have to work with, some people don’t get that luxury to even play the game. Do your best and use it to your best advantage”. Yes, that’s what he said.
Number two about this covered area is that the fact that it also had huge, Big Ass fans (yes, that is the name of them). These fans helped to circulate the air around, as well as we left the doors open to allow for more breeze to flow. The fairground workers did a fantastic job, but there was one end of the arena that did get a little muddy, but I was able to deal with it, like most other people would have. You work around it, to the best of your ability.
To my disappointment and astonishment, I had more complaints about the show, than positive things. Which is to say, they didn’t offer to volunteer (because yes, I needed MORE volunteers than what originally signed up). Instead these people (adults and children alike) all complained and grumbled. From the fact that I made them follow State 4-H rules, to the fact that I tried to find the safest options instead of the fastest, to that the show was taking too long, to what order that classes were ran, to the patterns that were picked for the classes. There were many other complaints as well, but it honestly reminded me why I haven’t put on a horse show in about 15 years.
Instead of being excited to show, I got more negativity. What I recommend, is next time you don’t like something, especially at a horse show, bring it up to management, to the person putting the show on (and not just the fair board, the 4-H educator, or going around that persons back) but talking to them and then offering to volunteer to make it better. Without volunteering, a person has no idea what all needs to happen and why it’s important to volunteer. In times like this, be grateful that there even was a horse show at all. Honestly, it would have been super easy to just cancel the show and say that we didn’t want one due to Covid-19. I do realize that if you have a younger child in the show, that a lot of time is spent helping that child get ready and prepared. But, if it’s an older child who has been showing and they know the ropes, there is no reason that a person can’t let the child tack up their own horse themselves and lend a hand in the ring. Run some drinks to the judge, help set up/tear down obstacles for games and trail, help open and close gates, etc. There is a lot more that happens than what meets the eye.
Let me clarify that this show was free to anyone who wanted to participate, from across the state as well as anyone who wanted to come from a neighboring state like Texas. Granted we didn’t have trophies for all classes, we did have ribbons. We did require current coggins tests for all horses and followed all other Oklahoma 4-H rules for horse shows. And we paid for a judge to come. Yes, the judge made them wear hats or helmets, yes she required appropriate attire and gear. The patterns were all state approved. The judge was a well-known judge from our area, and appropriate for what she can and is allowed to judge and very knowledgeable (granted some rules are different between AQHA and 4-H). The judge was willing to help kids (and adults) and explain to them why she placed them the way she did. Not one person went to the judge after the show asking for tips or recommendations (this was something she offered and announced several times over the PA system).
Instead of being grateful for the opportunity to show at a free show and potentially win prizes, the average person complained. Instead of taking the opportunity to learn and get educated, they ran back to their trailers. Instead of taking the time to thank the judge for coming, thank the people who helped to put it on, they complained to each other and to the fair board.
In order for there to be a show next year, I sure hope to see a little more gratefulness and appreciation.
Be grateful, not hateful.