At Bandit's first halter show, he was up against one other weanling -- a little bay AQHA named 'Tex', handled by the local 4-H and horse club leader's (also a judge for this show) teenage daughter. Bandit was a scruffy little mixed breed pony, just weaned scarcely three months before and had never been around more than four people at once, much less outside him home property. His mane flopped on opposite sides of his neck, and a particularly stubborn grass stain was just barely visible on his right hind sock. Plus, I was prone to forgetting which side of the horse to lead from, and Bandit was trained on soft grass rather than sand. But, this was a $3 open show, and Bandit needed exposure to a show setting.
We waited patiently at the gate, standing a tail's length away from the meticuously groomed AQHA colt and his color-coordinated owner as the previous classes horses strode out and collected ribbons. Bandit reached out and tried to nip a pretty yellow one as an excited child waved it before him. The girl beside me eyed him up and down, made a small noise, and straightened her shoulders. I didn't mind. Then she commented to her nearby mother, "We've got this one in the bag. That backyard farm girl isn't any competition."
I retorted with, "This backyard farm girl's horse isn't pooping on it's own legs."
The girl panicked and looked at her horse, who stood placidly, doing nothing of the sort. "Why would you even bother to enter an inbred pony like that anyway? She'll never win anything, so you might as well go back to your auction house and buy something with papers."
The horses were called, and so I chose to merely bow her into the ring and refrain from commenting. She huffed and led her colt in at a pretty little trot, stopped, backed up, turned, and then walked into the line up. As she tapped Tex's hooves into a appealing pose, I was waved in. I paused to past Bandit and readjust the lead before clicking him into a trot -- he started off with a crow hop into the ring, then dropped into step with me. His reverse is usually a little rusty, but he backed beautifully, as if to prove a point, and then swung his hindquarters around as I directed him to face the judge. He parked himself with three feet perfectly square, the third just a tiny bit ahead of it's match, and his head and one ear tilted ever so slightly in my direction, as he was wont to do when he wasn't sure. I smiled a little secret smile at him and flicked my thumb across his chin as a sort of reward.
The judge came around, and Bandit turned his head once to watch him circle the other colt, then remained staring at the crowd ahead of him as his turn came. The other colt shifted and took a small step backward.
When the announcement began, I breathed a little sigh of relief that Bandit hadn't acted up or gotten bored, and that was good enough for me. I made a mental note to take him straight to the sugar cube box hidden in the truck. And then the placings were announced, with Bandit in first place, followed by Tex. I failed to notice the other girl's reaction, as I was trying to wrap my brain around that... a judge patted my shoulder and pointed me at the gate, and I led Bandit forward, in front of Tex, and looped back to the gate. Bandit suddenly stopped just outside the gate, let out a loud neigh, and reared unsteadily, leaped forward, and pranced all the way back to the trailer.
Not long after, I passed Tex's owner's trailer -- a big fancy white slant with customized writing down the sides -- and happened to overhear, "How could you let a stupid mutt like that beat you? You didn't work Tex before the show, did you? That's what you did wrong! Look at that trailer they're driving -- it's obvious that horse hardly got any training. It was a fluke that it didn't bolt and kill someone!"
Sorry, I think that's over 200 words. ^^; You can shorten that as needed.
Last edited by farmpony84; 04-14-2009 at 11:49 AM.