We decided to start our showing career at Ballymoney Show in 2015, a year after I had started re-training Tag. They say every day is a school day, well that first show was some education and our presence at it will probably be remembered by many. There is no real replication for the atmosphere, movement and noise of a county show, therefore there is no gauge for how your horse will react. I had day dreamed that after the re-training class I would be taken aside by the judge and asked why I hadn’t entered the open class, the Dublin qualifier. I was going to be fast-tracked straight to the RDS, do not pass go, do not collect you prize money. You can’t blame a girl for dreaming, but really how naïve was I?! My children love all things country and are particular fans of Derek Ryan, Marty Mone and Richie Remo. The latter and his band were giving it stacks on the stage some 20 feet from the ring where the racehorses were, and as my children danced to ‘Hit the diff,’ I nearly ‘hit the deck’.
My poor horse didn’t know whether to lie down or explode, he was so overwhelmed, and on reflection it was awful. At the time I was determined to see it through but boy was it stressful. We survived and came home a lot wiser, very tired and somewhat determined to do better next time. Isn’t the human spirit resilient? Surviving a horse show is undoubtedly a ‘first world’ problem, but I think it is an example of how people generally don’t give up hope. Some people spend a lot of time worrying and struggle to deal with one problem before moving on to the next. I find whenever there is a problem that I am mentally battling with, the company of horses is a great leveller.