Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Trotting Down Memory Lane

“I thank my God every time I remember you.” Philippians 1:3

While we were out gallivanting around while we skipped school, I had a little trip down memory lane.

We’d looked up some Russians on the internet that we used to visit, but then they moved and we lost contact, and it had been ten years since we’d seen them, and hoped to see them on our way home from Branson. But alas, it was not meant to be, because they were gone. We found their house though, got their phone numbers from their son who now lives in San Antonio, and talked to them like it had only been yesterday. Isn’t the internet wonderful? It is a veritable smorgasbord for stalkers and private investigators alike, I’m sure.

Anyway, while we were just kind of hanging around waiting for them to call us, I told my husband we should go to the park where I used to show my horse and just see what it all looked like.

King Jack Park, Webb City, Missouri.

We turned by the water tower, just like I remembered. It was just a few blocks from there. I swore they’d moved the pond and there weren’t any Muscovy ducks like the ones we used to ride our horses over to feed bread we’d brought for them special.

There is a bridge that I don’t remember being there.  But I doubt my horse would have crossed it. 

There is also a softball field, and a soccer field, and concrete block bathrooms complete with running water. 

Running water could have come in handy on numerous occasions.

The double-holed outhouse had been removed. Too bad.

But the arena was just like I remember it.

Well, with the exception of growing over and the addition of giant bleachers with a cover over them and wheelchair access.

That cover could have come in handy during our summer shows when it was 999 degrees.  And dusty.   

These were the kind of bleachers we had when I was showing:

They were butt-breakers!

Oh, and the trashcans haven’t changed either. I think we used to use them for barrel racing too.  Georgie's dad used to roll them out. 

(Sorry about the slant.  Apparently I can't climb a fence straight anymore.) 

I showed my horse with the 4-State Arabian Horse Association from the time I was 14 until I turned 18. My first year was my glory year as I was just getting started and knew absolutely nothing. A boy named Georgie was the man to beat in halter and showmanship.

I still remember his skinny legs.

I had a 23YO Appaloosa mare, named Missy, who could not compete in halter against his giant grey gelding, but I managed to qualify for the championship show that year and came in second to old Georgie in showmanship.

The following year, after a lot of washing dishes at the nursing home, I got a decent horse. One that didn’t squat and use the bathroom everywhere when in close proximity to another horse. One that didn’t have to be ridden until frothy, just to take the edge off so it wouldn’t buck me off in the arena. One that actually wanted to go home at the end of the day and would willingly get into the trailer without us being the last ones to leave.

I taught myself to ride English around a corn field because the way these shows were scheduled put halter and showmanship first, then English classes (which took a couple of hours), and then Western and timed events. I could compete all day long.  I think entry fees were $2.00 per class. 

Here's the gate we used to start at:

I remember the announcer's stand used to freak out my horse.

(Again, kind of slanted.  I assure you this is a level arena.)

I used to do wardrobe changes in the back of my one horse trailer.

Always had to watch out for yuck on the floor.

Then we bought the hippie wagon. It was a Chevy RV of some sort. It had once been blue, but someone had painted it with a roller a yellow color, so the overall effect was something close to neon green. It had a small kitchenette, a tweed covered bench/couch in the back, and shag carpeting.

It was horrible!

And it smelled funny.

It is also the vehicle that I first learned to drive. I can still hear the motor. Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick… it always went. And it always had bald tires that eventually went flat at the most inopportune time.

It had curtains so I was able to change my clothes inside it and didn’t have to worry about horse poop.

We used to pull up in the hippie wagon right underneath these trees:

Well, maybe not exactly these trees, but a younger version of such. I hadn’t stepped foot on this property in almost 20 years!

My, how time flies when you’re living!

I took a picture of the kids on one of the trees I was just sure I had probably tied my horse to on several occasions.

The concession/signup building was just as I’d remembered it too. The restroom sign now points to nothing, but I think we used to have port-o-potties for our shows. That was only after the first show I attended where the double-holer was still in action.

I didn’t remember the concession stand having a ride-up window. I must have always gotten my candy bars on foot.

I don’t know if the 4-State Arabians are still in action or not, but their monthly shows from April to September (if I remember right) were some of the greatest times of my life. My mom still houses countless ribbons, medals, and trophies from this organization which I was so proud to earn. I think I even won a saddle pad one year. It was red, white, and black – my preferred show colors.

I hope that someday my little children can attend a horse show just like these used to be, where no matter if you rolled up in a hippie wagon or a six-horse slant with a dressing room and semi to boot, we all had the same chance based on ability.

Now get out there and recapture some of your youth today!


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