Ode to a January show

The galloping housewife’s ode to competing in January.

No sooner than permission has been given to ditch the last of the dried out turkey that no one wanted to eat in the first place, the lights come down, the husband retrieved from the A&E after falling off the ladder, the tree put out for the green waste collection and the galloping housewife resuscitated herself with wine following the ceremonial opening of the credit card statement, than thoughts turn to the season ahead and the goals set while under the influence in the milky haze that is December 27th to December 30th. Those four days have a great deal to answer for as somewhere in there the galloping housewife created her new dream board, complete with photo of Charlotte winning a title at Nationals, because riding like Charlotte should always be a resolution.

Somehow the husband knew just what to buy the galloping housewife for Christmas. It may have had something to do with the fact that the galloping housewife dragged him through the exact same trade stand at Badminton, Royal Windsor, Nationals, HOYS and Olympia and just happened to try on the exact same jacket while loudly proclaiming ‘I can’t believe I’m a size X, too bad I’m not worthy of such a fabulous item’ and may or may not have signed up to said brand’s mailing list, accidentally using not just one, but all three of the husbands email addresses. I mean the galloping housewife is getting older, her memory is not what it once was. Unfortunately he didn’t get the memo about the matching helmet with 7,465 Swarovski crystals and the price tag that would eliminate the national debt of a small island nation, but Valentine’s Day is coming up and a few fluttering eyelashes accompanied by the question of how much value he actually places on her head should be sufficient to guilt him into rectifying that oversight.

A new coat and a quest to be the next Charlotte (well, actually Charlotte Mk 3 as the wee Fry girl is good enough to make this grown woman cry) leads the galloping housewife to make a decision that should never be an option – the mid January show. The galloping housewife has confessed to her dear readers before that she has made all the bad choices there are to make and the January show is right up there on that list. Because in England there are only about 4 hours of daylight, shows are forced to timetable from the crack of dawn to twilight, meaning that either the entire prep or the hideous clean up are completed in the pitch black with only a head torch to illuminate the three inch square directly in front of you and to cause a stampede to rival the OK Corral. The unicorn is nevertheless primped and preened and cajoled and pleaded with and finally squeezed into the trailer (the galloping housewife is not the only one in this relationship that has been laying about on the day bed in their stretchy clothes over the holiday period).

One gets to the venue to find that parking is reduced to the hard stand because the water table is currently at ankle level which means that one becomes awfully friendly with one’s neighbours and prays to god that the insurance is up to date as the unicorn careens out of trailer at fifty miles an hour and straight into the brand new Range Rover sport (in Cotswold’s black, of course) parked next door. The galloping housewife wrestles the bridle into place, remembers to put the saddle on the right way around and clambers into place, just in time for the heavens to open. In a matter of seconds she is drenched through to her pants, the unicorn looks like he has been dragged straight out from the swamp and the judge can’t see the end of the arena. Which is a good thing because apparently the girls didn’t get the message that the unicorn needed to be lunged for an hour yesterday after having spent most of the previous week stood in and has, in the meantime, perfected his capriole. It also doesn’t make any difference to the scores because all the decent judges have accepted invitations to South Africa & Florida where the sun is out and the cocktails are cold and we’re left with Florence ‘6.5’ Handy-Wotsit who hasn’t made a valid critique since sometime last century. The galloping housewife has a sudden flashback to January last year and the year before and the year before that and realises that once again she needs to make a vow that under no circumstances should she be allowed to enter an event until April and wonders if it is the same selective forgetfulness that allows people to have multiple children that creates this aberration every single year.

The galloping housewife staggers in through the door with her sodden hair plastered to her face, two heaving bags of dripping laundry under her arm to be met by her grinning husband saying ‘at least the new coat can go in the machine!’ At least he had the good sense to have the fire on, the bath run and be proffering a glass of wine…

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