A novel by Karen Lockhart
Copyright© 2016 Karen Lockhart
“Tina!” I squealed. “You're coming to the show with us! Why didn't you say something yesterday?”
She shrugged, “I don't think I had made up my mind yesterday, what with my father and all, but then I said to myself, Dad's alive, there's no reason to mope around. I'm not in mourning any longer, for crying out loud, back to living my life.”
“It would have been a shame to lose your entry and stall money,” Cathy said, “Now lets get these trunks loaded into the big trailer's dressing room, then we'll go into the barn and clean our saddles.”
Ellen spoke up at this, “Do we get a chance to eat today, oh slave driver, or do we stay chained to the oars?”
Cathy laughed and told us she had ordered pizza to be delivered at around noon.
Like a wise guy I asked about the beer. Pizza without beer is like birthday cake without ice cream!
We got the trunks and tools loaded in no time, and were through with cleaning our tack before the pizza arrived, well everyone except me. I had to clean the Western saddle, including polishing the silver.
When the pizza came, I stopped and washed my hands trying to get the Noxon out from under my nails.
We talked about nothing but horses, showing and riding apparel for a good forty-five minutes. When everyone was finished, they all helped polish the two acres of silver on Cathy's saddle. The tack was loaded, and we gave the six horses baths and brushed out their tails before braiding them back up again.
Steve Brady's niece was on a business trip and would meet us at the show grounds on Tuesday.
Ellen and I made our goodbyes and headed home to get ready for work on Monday. Tina gave us a hug and a kiss, promising to be at Cathy's on Tuesday morning.
As Ellen drove, I kind of just watched the trees going by on US One heading South.
I remembered just in time to have Ellen stop at the grocery store on the way home. We wouldn't need much, just supper that night and Monday. For the next week, it would be breakfast, lunch, and dinner out while at the horse show.
I made a quick pot roast, figuring leftovers on Monday. Afterwards, we watched some television before going to bed.
Monday morning, Steve beat us to work. He was leaning against his truck, smoking and gabbing with the form crew.
As we pulled in, he made a point of looking at his wristwatch.
All Ellen said was “Don't say a word.”
I made coffee in the Mr Coffee, rather than the Keurig, figuring this way no one would have to wait for a cup to individually brew.
Ellen and Steve went over things coming up that week. Steve already knew concrete was coming Tuesday morning at about 10am. Once that happened, things would get a little slow for the rest of the week.
The day flew by and before we knew it, it was time to head home.
We packed for the week, with extra underwear and a heavy jacket, just in case. I had to laugh when Ellen said to pack three or four thongs. Under tight show pants, a visible panty line was a killer. Thinking that Kevin would be there, I tossed in a few extra just in case. Wink, wink.
Tuesday we took Ellen's Ford Explorer, knowing we would need the third seat when we went for dinner before the evening classes.
Tina rode with Cathy in her huge four door, dual rear wheeled truck. Kevin had loaded water buckets in his truck on Saturday. He'd go early to fill them and spread shavings in the stalls. This way the horses could get down and roll after riding for three hours in the trailer.
We arrived at noon and after getting the animals settled, started to decorate and set up our get-ready and tack stalls. Cathy suggested we eat supper early and relax while we ate; the rest of the week, supper would be done at a trot, especially on the nights we had classes.
Wednesday, we practiced in the show ring, it being our only chance. Chris Brady was at the stalls when Cathy, Tina, Ellen, and I returned from breakfast at the International House Of Pancakes.
We quickly tacked the horses up and headed into the arena; everybody had a great practice. I stayed back getting the Western saddle on my horse. The plan was for me to work while Ellen got Cathy's horse ready, only then would she need the saddle I was using.
Before I cooled out Trigger, Cathy stripped the saddle and with Ellen's help tacked up her mare.
I guessed things went well by the smiles on their faces when they returned to our stalls. We spent the rest of the day, kibitzing with the other exhibitors, and watching practices. Again we had an early supper. When we returned, we cleaned tack for the following day. What does that make, three cleaning in three days? Before going into the ring, the tack had to sparkle, the horses shine, and our outfits look perfect.
Kevin had his first class Thursday afternoon, the the last class of the night. Ellen, Tina and Chris were all showing in the same classes. This meant panic every time their classes came up. They went in the morning and early in the evening classes. I went in the afternoon, and Cathy had her first class right away Thursday evening.
What would happen if we both won our classes, and showed back in the same Championship class? I mentioned this to Cathy and she started laughing.
“I like a positive attitude, but don't set your heart on it.”
The tension grew and grew, until I thought I would vomit.
Finally my class was called and with shaking hands I entered the ring. After making my first pass by the judge, it all came back, and I relaxed. Trigger picked up on this and performed like this was a dressage class.
The ringmaster lined us up in the middle of the ring for the presentation of ribbons. I almost fainted when my number was called first. Before I knew it, Cathy was there posing us for the trophy photograph!
She said to make a victory pass and then exit, I didn't know what a victory pass was!
Anyway we made it back to our stalls, with me bawling my head off, and Cathy wiping away tears.
While we were feeding and watering the horses, Ellen got a phone call. She ran outside the barn to have privacy. When she returned, I started to tease her, until I saw her face.
“Ellen, what's wrong?” Tina asked.
“That was Pete, he said some local small town cop saw your father and tried to make an arrest. A gun fight broke out, the cop was shot, and so was the man with Vinny. They don't think your father was hit. Pete said Vinny was going so far underground, no one would find him.”
This threw a wet blanket over our celebrating, but we needed to go to dinner and get back. Over salads it was decided that the situation really hadn't changed, and to have fun this week. Even Tina started to smile.
The evening classes went well with us three girls all getting ribbons, and Kevin winning his class. Overall, a very successful day!
To be continued
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