Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Horsing around with Jen Becksvoort and MacGyver

Jen Becksvoort, co-worker at Body Perfections and experienced horsewoman, invited me to experience my first horse show from preparation to the actual show. I arrived at her base of operation-the Prins residence(aka Mom&Dad's digs) after Jen and Macguyver had done their pre-horse show ride/workout. MacGyver was tied to the side of the horse trailer getting his saddle and blanket off when we met for the first time. It was love at first sight! Such a handsome fellow, indeed! Not being knowledgeable about horses, Jen explained to me that MacGyver is a gelding Palomino quarter horse. His registered name is Zippin' Lil' Treasure. MacGyver is a young horse as horses go-being only 5 years of age. Like a fine wine, horses also mellow and improve with age!
First step in the preparation is the bath-which MacGyver wasn't so crazy about at first. But that's a guy thing I think, not wanting to clean up! Once he got used to the hose he liked it. Wow! All the dirt that flew off him-those trails really must be dusty~Jen used WhiteNBrite Shampoo which is a purple color and brings out the coloring in MacGyver's coat, main and tail.Just like at
Body Perfections, the stylists use purple tinted shampoos to bring out the highlights in blond
hair. There was also a special conditioner that was used to improve the texture of the coarse mane and tail. After a good scrub-a-dub-dub and another hose job, Jen got out a horse squeegee that took all the excess water off his coat. Jen did a preliminary braid in his tail to keep it from getting tangled. Then it was off to the barn to get his mane banded. This is a very time consuming process where Jen put a wad of tiny rubber bands in her mouth to keep them handy, and then took a comb and started sectioning off small portions of the mane and banding each little section until the entire span of the main had been done. She then took scissors and trimmed the mane to an even length. Beautiful.
Next, Jen put on MacGyver's "slinky" which is the equivalent of a horse leotard! It keeps the coat clean and the mane in place overnight. MacGyver also got a robe over the rest of his body that serves to keep him clean until the show. Finally, a tail sock to keep the tail clean and untangled. This process takes 2-3 hours to complete. Which is why it has to be done the night before.
After all of that, I headed home. Jen still had to load up the trailer with her tack and needed supplies, food for MacGyver, her chaps, all the other needed accouterments. I was worn out by all that but I'm sure Jen had at least another hour's worth of work before she could rest! I was really impressed with how hard the horse owners work to prepare for these shows. It takes a lot of dedication to do this. I could see that even though it requires a lot of effort for Jen, that she was still having fun and enjoying herself too. She is very passionate about working with horses.
The show was held at the Holland Western Saddle Club. Jen had to be there around 8 am! The first classes to show started at 8:30 and the final events wrapped up around 5 pm. A long day for all the horse-obsessed participants and spectators! I arrived about 2pm. Jen and MacGyver had already participated in class 15 which was Green Horse/Green Rider Showmanship where they placed 3rd in a class they had never been in before-WAY TO GO, JEN AND MACGYVER!!They were scheduled for class 41.Green Horse/Green Rider Western Horsemanship. As Jen explained it to me, this class if for either the inexperienced horse with an experienced rider or an inexperienced rider with an experienced horse.MacGyver is an inexperienced horse with an experienced rider. They received an Honorable Mention in this class.Jen has been involved with horses, riding and showing practically since birth. She shared with me that when her mother, Sue, married her dad, Chip, she brought a dog, a cat, and a pony along with her! Jen was active in 4H during her youth and did a lot of riding and showing. Then, as many young girls do, she discovered boys! For a brief time, the horses had to take a back seat to dating, love and marriage. As time went on, the horses made a strong come-back! MacGyver, as said previously, is a young and inexperienced horse with much room for improvement but also has come a long way already since working under Jen's expert horsemanship and he hasn't even begun to tap into his potential! In other words, you ain't seen nothin' yet! The other class they were slated for was 48. Green Horse/Green Rider Western Pleasure. Jen and MacGyver had a very nice showing placing 5th.
Just being there was an experience not to be missed! The horses were all so beautiful. The riders take a lot of pride in their horses appearance and the riders wear very attractive outfits as well. The horses move so rhythmically and almost like dance movements that are expertly choreographed.
I think that every little girl (and not so little girl) has probably obsessed about horses at some stage in her life. Some of us have never gotten over it! It was wonderful to revisit that time of being in love with horses and admiring the majesty of these gorgeous animals-as well as the devotion of their riders. Thank-you Jen for letting me horse around with you and MacGyver! I will be back for another horse fix one of these days soon....You have inspired me to look into learning equine massage! I could be adding horses to my client list in the near future!

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