First off, thanks everyone to your kind words about my little freak out post yesterday. I am feeling better about the situation, but still not great. Trying to tell myself that just because my dogs no longer fit into the family model they used to, they can still be happy and healthy creatures for the rest of their lives. Not there yet, but getting there.
Today I am genuinely curious about a topic I love – braiding. Specifically hunter braids, and thoughts about doing them for rated shows. See, I have always braided for shows.
Now for a while, these braids weren’t… amazing. The picture above is actually one of my better attempts. But I kept at it and got some tips from a friend, and eventually was able to braid well enough to actually get paid for it.
Those two photos were taken at an in-barn schooling show. I braided then because I liked to, it made my horse look good and at the end of the day I still think proper turnout and braiding is a sign of respect for your judge. At the show above, the judge actually commented to me later in the day “Oh you were the one with the nice braids!” and I kind of swooned. The judge was a friend of my trainer’s and actually a big name in the AA hunter/jumper world. So it made me feel good that he didn’t think I was an idiot for braiding.
That brings me to my showing life today. I show in a local unrated circuit that is pretty damn competitive. Some of the shows used to be C rated but they recently broke up with the THJA, which is unfortunate. Even so, it’s not unusual for my classes to have 20+ horses in them. The riders are all well turned out with lovely horses and fancy show clothes, but no one braids.
The past two years I have braided for one day of our special (held at an A show grounds) year end show, and I had the only horse there braided.
Some of the feedback I have gotten is that these local shows are for people who can’t afford the A show experience… yet the competition is tough. Not A tough, but not shabby either! Also, a lot of the riders do go to the rated shows so it’s not like we’re talking about a collection of backyardians here.
I understand not wanting to require braiding, but in my opinion those who gripe about required braiding are either too lazy to learn or annoyed by having to pay for it. Plus, I don’t ever think a local show should require braiding. Riders should not be reprimanded at this level for not having braided horses.
At the end of the day I kind of want to braid (when I feel like it and have time) for our local shows, but I don’t want to be an outcast who doesn’t “know the deal”. What are your thoughts? I created the poll below for those who have an opinion but don’t like to comment.
Just genuinely curious on this question! Please share.