Sunday, February 19, 2012

Food and Horse Shows: The Ultimate Debacle

I just got back from an overnight horse show in Alexandria, Virginia, at Hazelwild Farm-where University of Mary Washington rides. And, like at every other show, our team was faced with the ultimate question: what do we eat?

Except, it actually isn't that simple. Horse shows present the ultimate obstacle to a regular meal schedule.

It all starts at 6 am (4 am for non-collegiate shows) when you wake up to a still-dark sky. You are grumpy, confused, and most certainly NOT thinking about food. If you ate food now, you'd probably puke. So you get in the car with the rest of your short-tempered team mates and start on the road towards the barn.

Then you arrive and, even though you're not showing until noon, you continue to neglect breakfast. Your stomach is revolting against its maltreatment, but you've got things to do. And by things I mean stand around. There's this ever-constant feeling at horse shows that insists you stand by the ring. What if someone needs you? What if your over-fences course changes? What if you suddenly need to get on your horse because all of the classes before yours were miraculously canceled?

(P.S. None of this ever happens.)

Yet, you wait there and continue to neglect that tummy.

After hours of waiting, you finally compete. And then you realize that rumbling wasn't butterflies, it was hunger.

It's circumstances like these that lead to near starvation and then complete loss of control at the restaurant. You stuff your face with all the food in reaching distance and deal with the tummy-ache later.

Yup. That's usually how it goes. I've gotten used to this process however, and have gotten slightly better at preparing for the worst. I bring things like Clif bars and pieces of fruit that are easy to eat and require little effort on behalf of the totally-occupied equestrian standing in the cold.

Oh, and I rarely get food from the stand outside of the show. I'm not condemning all horse-show food trucks-though one of my teammates did get sick from her bacon, egg, and cheese. I just try to avoid it if possible.

So, how did we eat on this adventure? We fell victim as usual. But I wasn't quite as desperate as usual thanks to my snacking methods.

Nonetheless, my digestive system was excited to work after a visit to Wawa (Saturday's lunch), Cheeseburger in Paradise (team dinner), and Papa John's (Sunday's Lunch).

Thankfully, I was able to get back on schedule somewhat after arriving back on campus with a box dinner from the dining hall. Ahhhh it's good to be back.

(These pictures are from my phone so disregard the quality. The first horse one is me riding a horse named Watermelon and the second is my riding a horse named Vegas. And up top are my ribbons from the weekend!)


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