Better buy stock in the coffee company now.
On horse show mornings, I’m a morning person regardless of whether I got eight hours of sleep or three. My level of restlessness is equal to that of a child on Christmas morning. I usually rise before my alarm goes off and feel the need to be at the barn excessively early. And until riding IHSA in college, everyone else I showed with also liked to be early.
Now, however, one of my close friends, Ellie, has proven beyond a doubt that some people just can’t function early in the morning, horse show or not, and the results have been entertaining. Below is a comprehensive list of directions on how to horse show with someone who’s not a morning person.
1. Prepare for incoherence before 7 am. Sometimes early texts are necessary to ensure that your night owl friend is alive and functioning, the reply to which may be concerning or incoherent.
2. Plan to leave at least fifteen minutes later than you intended. In most cases, non-morning-people are aware that they are slow-moving before fully awake and thus set a time much earlier than needed so that their inevitable lateness will cancel out, making them on time-ish. For example, for our last horse show Ellie planned to pick me up at 6:45 when we needed to leave at 7:00. She arrived right on schedule at 7:05, and we made it to the barn with plenty of time to spare.
3. If they go missing during the show, they’re probably napping somewhere. In the event that you lose your sleepy friend during the course of the show, look for places that lend themselves to napping, like on a chair in the show office, curled up on the floor in a horse blanket, or even on horseback.
4. Provide coffee and/or lots of encouragement in the morning. Just like a morning person would struggle to function after 9:00 PM, your non-morning friend will have trouble performing simple tasks early in the morning. Assistance can range from providing coffee and breakfast to helping brush and tack their horse. In advanced cases, some gibberish translations may be required (see step 1).
Although said person may appear to be a zombie before the show starts, this condition does not appear to impair riding ability or pattern memorization, so it is prudent to prepare for them to win all day despite not being able to form proper words before dawn.
Haley Ruffner is attending Alfred University, majoring in English and minoring in Business and Equestrian Studies. She has a green Quarter Horse, At Last an Invitation “Cricket,” and he is also “enrolled” at Alfred. She rides western and hunt seat and also loves to rein and trail ride.