We have a full weekend of finals, both here at the NRCHA Derby in Paso Robles and also in Las Vegas at the PCCHA Core Balance Derby. Also, it just so happens to be Friday the 13th. As always, I think about superstitions on this day, and even more so when I just spent the last four days working my superstition magic during the Derby go-rounds-sitting in lucky seats, using the same restroom stall, and closing the hotel door three times when I leave in the morning. You’re welcome, all you finalists!
So, it got me thinking about some of my own strange show pen rituals and habits…and I definitely have a few. Now before I divulge my dirty little secrets, I must preface by saying I’ve always been taught that you make your own luck. It really doesn’t matter what shirt you are wearing or how many times you brush your horse’s tail before you show, it is what it is. Obviously these lessons didn’t stick, as I have developed over the years a plethora of superstitious behaviors and habits that some may say border on obsessive compulsive. Standing in your shower completely clothed to watch a webcast is completely in the realm of normal behavior, no? It was a lucky spot, people!
In my irrational mind, these rational acts are instrumental to my success and/or failure in the show pen. I hope you can sense the sarcasm in these words. I am completely aware that it’s crazy, but just let me go on with my crazy self. Here is a sample of a few of the secrets to my success. Feel free to borrow them if you wish. Wink, wink.
- Zip your chaps up on the same side until you have a bad run or go, then switch to the opposite leg and continue on that side until things go south again.
- Good luck comes from the power of your socks. Therefore, wear the same socks continuously through a single horse show. Wash between shows, but continue to wear only this pair of socks for the whole year. Side Note: The same pair of orange and black socks carried me through two years of hauling. They finally had to be retired. I feel bad for my traveling partner during those years (sorry, Kimmie!), but on the other hand, it made for light packing.
- Never throw your gum on the ground at a horse show. Obviously the bad karma from littering will filter into your performance.
- Show shirts get two chances to prove their worth. If they can’t make it happen after two tries, it’s off to Goodwill. You really shouldn’t even chance wearing them when you aren’t showing. Their bad mojo could rub off on friends or anyone you might be rooting for at the show.
- That rubber band on your horse’s tail is almost as important as those socks on your feet. Don’t just throw it on the ground when you show sheen and brush your horse’s tail out. That rubber band needs to be worn around your wrist while you show. It’s like Wonder Woman’s wrist bands-radiating power and smart, quick decision making skills to you as you pilot your pony through the herd.
Well, I think I’ve given away enough of my secrets for one day. I have to keep some things for myself. Now mind you, I have done these things and marked 75s and 76s. And just as many times I’ve completed all my necessary tasks and lost cows, hot quit, nearly fallen off, switched cows….You get the picture. My strange superstitions really don’t make a darn bit of difference, and I know it. But in a sport filled with things out of my control, they make me feel just a tiny bit of peace as I walk past that timeline, and maybe that’s all I need. Hope your Friday the 13th is a lucky one!
Bear “McKenzie P.”