Lily's still trying to figure out how to keep Buddy clean for the horse trials this coming Saturday. Thanks to all of you for your good suggestions and commiseration.
Horses are pigs trapped in horse skins. (I think it was photogchic who said that -- thanks!)
I ordered a book from Amazon in a weak moment (I have lots of those, usually involving chocolate) and it came in last week. It's The Horse Show Mom's Survival Guide by Susan Daniels. Of course Lily picked it up, noticed the pictures of the horse show mom stepping and fetching and grooming and serving. Lily looked at me and you could see the lightbulb go off. "Hey, Mom! You're supposed to be doing all that stuff at horse shows that I've been doing."
In your dreams.
You see, I'm the kind of horse show mom who makes the kid do the work. Oh, not all the work. If the horse is acting up (and it's legal to do so), I'll get on and have some words with him. I'll lead the horse around the grounds if he's excited and has grown a hand or two taller. I'll help get tacked up, will pin on her number and will wipe the dust off of her boots (and I've been known to carry water), but, just like I've already passed seventh-grade math and don't need to do seventh-grade math homework, I don't need any practice at getting a horse ready for a show -- or doing the work when I get there. (Though I will be responsible for food and drinks -- Lily has a nut allergy so we bring our own vittles.) And I will serve as coach, cheerleader, paparazzi, chauffeur and banker. That seems like enough without adding "groom" to my job description.
There's a child we sometimes show with whose mother does it all. And the child, who is old enough to tend to herself and her horse, fusses at the mother for not doing it right. The mother frets because the child isn't going to be ready for the class on time, the child isn't dressed, the horse isn't tacked up. The child talks back. It's an ugly sight. It's really hard not to slap both of them, but I might have to stand in line.
Back to the book. It's actually filled with lots of useful advice and information, including how to have tactful conversations with your trainer and the issue of some people having more expensive horses -- and some people having less.
I haven't checked to see if there's a chapter on worry. If there's not, I can write that. It's hard to put your child on a large, powerful animal with a brain the size of a cat's, and let go. If a horse show mom's job description included "horse mind control," I'd be all over that.