With the equine shows coming to an end across the southern states; whether a county fair, a state fair, a festival or large celebration, a thought has entered my mind more and more “What Does A Win Mean”. The more involved one becomes in a specific breed, the more familiar one becomes with the exhibitors and the stock being exhibited.
Over the past several years I have enjoyed following the mule industry, it’s exhibitors, sales, shows and most of all the dossal animal these ‘long eared’ beauties can grow into. It is amazing to see a pair of two year old draft mules weighing nearly 1400 pounds a piece hitch to a show wagon at Christmas, wearing Santa Christmas hats, walk through the streets with children just a few feet away picking up candy while sirens are blasting, music playing, and lights flashing in every direction. They do this with such concern and care of their cargo and surroundings.
I also notice many, of the baby boomers, choose to ride a mule now due to a mule’s self-preservation, over that of a horse. The riding mule shows have classes filled with graceful mules feeding off of the crowd’s attention while riders are dressed in their finest attire.
Recently a dear friend received the honor of a state championship with her riding mule. This is a goal she sought for various personal reasons but the statement she shared while reliving her win is really worth sharing. She stated “you feel you really deserved it when you get back to the trailer and there is a group of friends there to congratulate and celebrate with you”. Her description was perfect of a “win”.
Needless to say, we have all been to poorly judged shows or seen a class judged that one wonders if the judge seen the same stock the rest of the crowd observed. We have also experienced the first place winner receiving no to little acknowledgement from the crowd and the second or third place exhibitor being carried from the ring by claps and whoops letting the judge know of their non-approval of the judge’s choice.
To have exhibitors leave a state show without finishing their classes; to have generations of experienced exhibitors state this could be one of the worse judged shows in the history of a state show; to have virtually no one viewing the final classes due to such disapproval of the judging; this speaks loudly of the quality of judging that took place. This makes one wonder how many people was at the trailer congratulating those decisions on state championship titles. Somehow the ‘give me’s’ doesn’t carry as much clout as the ‘earned wins’.
Just food for thought as this show season comes to an end……
The Southern "Go To Place" for Happenings on Mules and Donkeys