Elegance Under the Tent
By Frito, for McGuinn Farms
     “Elegance?” This might not be the first word that pops into minds of those with long years of experience under the horse show tents. They might well conjure images of dust, heat, cold and hard rains.
     And yet... For all of this, life under the canvas retains a connection to an older type of elegance. It has the flavor of the exotic adventure of military campaign, where the going was full of physical hardship but the objective remained compelling enough to keep everyone moving onward.
     As it happens, elegance has always accompanied the sport-horse.
All of our senses are engaged: the sight of a horse under tackshows a2, the shine of the bits, the sound of breakfast, the smell of liniment, the feel of the reins. These are the enduring things and in few places are they honored more than with the hunters and the jumpers.
     Consider the decoration of the horse show tents. As with a regiment claiming its territory, planting its flag, and displaying its colors, the show stable rolls into town and sets about its conquests. The tack room drapes, trunks, furnishings, and landscaping are not ornamentation. They complement the horse and reflect the pride of the show stable. They also establish a sense of order in the camp amid difficult conditions.

The Long Campaign

     Horse show campaigning has taken many forms over the years. At one-day shows, the stable might consist of a station wagon pulling a two-horse trailer. The tack room is in the peak of the trailer and horses wait for their classes tied to the side, eating from a hay net. If it is a good day, ribbons hang from a piece of twine strung the  length of the trailer.