Saturday, November 24, 2007

Mom Showed Off at the Horse Show

Sailor here.

Mom and I rolled out of bed early one morning and after breakfast, Mom brushed my coat for a long time. I thought we were going to Dog School, but we took off on paw toward the stables. Mom said we were going to a horse show. T

This sounded exciting. I have smelled horses before and even booped noses with one of them. But what we were going to show them? Would we show them how beautiful I looked? Just in case, I practiced my show strut, and sure enough, when we got to the polo field, I overheard some horses talking about how gorgeous and talented I was.

“Look at that fluffy one,” a bay gelding nickered. “He thinks he’s the prettiest dog in the world.”

“Quiet,” said his next-door neighbor, sticking her head over the stall door. “He’s a collie and if he gets away from his human, he’ll chase us and bark at our heels.”

I decided to ignore the horses since they were shut in their stalls. Something else grabbed my attention.

As we walked along the fence, I discovered, there on the ground, steaming in the morning sun, what could only be described as a pile of heaven. I really wanted to wear its scent the rest of the day and gave it a good sniff. I got ready for an even better roll. Down went my nose. I lowered my shoulder.

"Leave it!" Mom yelled, giving my leash a tug.

Mom is the leader of our pack and makes the decisions. I stepped back politely so she could roll in it first. She ignored the pile and kept walking. I didn't get to roll in it, either. Hmmph. I tried to find an even bigger heap, one that Mom would like better. As we headed toward the far ring, I pointed out all the perfumed mounds along the way. Mom snubbed every one. It seemed that not one pile was perfect enough for her. Humans are so picky.

We stopped at some hay bales and Mom sat down, leaning her back against the horse groceries. I sat next to her, and Mom moved over so I could be in the shade.

“Curious,” I thought, looking around. “Now what?”

From the hay bale next to us, a Jack Russell Terror was yapping about his odd coat. He said that last spring he hadn't quite decided whether to be wire-haired or a smooth-coat, and sometime during April, he woke up looking a little like both. I think he looked really cool with a Mohawk hair-do and told Mom about his good looks.

“He just needs a good plucking,” Mom explained.

I started to woof in answer, but Mom shushed me. Barking was not allowed.

A Corgi, with the shortest legs I’ve ever seen, kept busy trying to round up her people. They slipped away, though, and ran off in all directions. She became more and more frustrated because she was on a leash and unable to do her job properly.

“You’re a herding breed,” she panted, looking in my direction. “You must know how difficult this is for me.”

I smiled and wagged the tip of my tail to show that I understood.

Finally, she gave up. She turned around three times and lay down, grumbling to herself and saying rude things to the Jack Russell Terror.

The earth shook and thunder filled the air, rolling toward us. A horse and rider galloped toward our little corner of the pasture. I stood up quickly ready to defend Mom, the Corgi, and the Jack Russell, but at the last moment, the horse and its rider turned away. With a HUP and a creak of saddle leather, they cleared a fence almost under our noses. I thought that looked like a LOT of fun, but since I was on a leash, I had to stay put. The horse had a leash, too, attached to his Halti and a rider on his back. I thought this was an interesting way to go for a run. I decided to tell Zoe about this, since she wears a head collar, too.

I wagged and wagged, grinning and panting in excitement. Now I know why Mom calls it a Horse Show. Horses get to show off. I wanted to show off, too.

"Sailor, don't tell me you want to become a jumper," said Mom.

I panted, "Yes, yes, yes, I do, yes."

I remembered that at Dog School, jumping was one of my best things, once I figured out that I was to go over the jump, not through it. Jumping was almost as exciting as running through the tunnel and it was definitely way ahead of the weave poles.

Mom smiled and said we'd have to do more of this. She thought that Agility training could wake up my brain to the fact that I do have back feet (somewhere) and that they will follow me obediently wherever I decide to go, even up stairs. Agility is a lot of fun. I hoped Mom wouldn’t forget to take me again.

We sat by the jumping ring for quite a while, me in the shade and Mom on the hay. We watched horses do their best to jump around the field. I loved the part when I thought they were going to jump over us, hay and all, but turned away at the last minute. I loved hearing their hooves go thumpity thump, thumpity thump, thumpity thump, pause, thump-thump, thumpity thump. I loved the shade.

Some horses rolled their eyes at me as they passed. Some ignored me and tried to see where they could safely put their feet. Some had eyes only for the In Gate. Mom says that they know that at some point, the In Gate becomes the Out Gate and that means a trip back to the barn for a bath and a snack.

One horse and rider fell, crashing through a jump and causing Mom to grab my ruff and catch her breath. I leaped up, ready to herd the horse to safety, but my leash brought me up short. All ended well because the rider didn't let go of her horse’s leash. She managed to keep him safe inside the ring instead of having him dash back to the barn. Mom sighed in relief that nobody was injured, a whistle blew three times, and the rider led her horse away.

"How embarrassing," I mumbled.

The Corgi agreed with me.

Mom unloaded her backpack and I forgave her for not letting me roll in piles of heaven. She took out a bottle of cold water, my travel bowl, and some snacks, just for me. I sipped and crunched and had a great time. I was pleased that I didn't have to share the snacks with Mom because lately she had been pretending to eat my cookies.

She wants me to look at her face when I come to a Front and has started holding a cookie in her mouth when I run up to her. When I sit in the proper position, she says she’ll let me have the cookie.

I have a few problems with this. First of all, I don't like to share my cookies. Secondly, I can't seem to remember that Mom has a cookie in her mouth. I can only remember to look to her hand for my treat. Also, I don’t want to nip her lip. Finally, I’m not at all sure how I felt about having a Mom with dog breath.

Mom said we would keep working on this. When I get good at taking the cookie from her lips, she said, she will spit it to me. This would be fine if I could catch, but I can't. Zoe says that catching cookies is easy. She can catch anything anywhere. Most cookies just bounce off my face.

I was very glad Mom didn’t make me share my cookies with the Corgi at the horse show. Sometimes she gets a little too generous with my snacks.

As the morning wore on, I snoozed in the shade while Mom remembered her time in the Jumping Ring long before I came into her life. Then we both walked toward home as the sun became too warm for me since I was still wearing my winter coat.

Just before my driveway, I spied a tree limb that had fallen to the ground during the windstorm last week. HUP! Over I went, as talented as any horse we had seen that day. I decided that the next time I was out in our backyard, I was going to jump over all the bushes instead of running straight through them. I would pretend that I was the best jumper in the world.

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