'Twas the night before show season...

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By Hilary Moore

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The horses were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of a week-off danced in their heads.
With cookies and movies replacing any thought of a test,
I had just settled in for a short winter's rest.When out of my smartphone there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the dresser I dashed like a fox,
Turned on the screen and opened my inbox.The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes was the call,
But emails from clients, eight hundred in all.They listed 2011 events with planning and reason,
I knew in a moment it was time for show season.
More rapid than eagles the first horse show came,
And before I knew what hit me it was time for halt/saluting again."Now Schooling shows! now, Braiding! now, Judging and Coaching!
On the quarterline! On the centerline! Half pass and Collecting!
Enter at A! Halt right at X!
Now proceed in trot! Proceed in canter! Proceed with your test!"As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the show-grounds the competitors they flew,
With the test book in hand, and a braided horse too.And then, in a twinkling, as though in a poof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I turned my head and was looking around,
Another dressage show came with a bound.This one I judged--everyone polished from head to foot,
Though the occasional clothes were tarnished with manure and soot.
One came with a groom--a hay bag flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, lugging his pack.

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
My show breeches were drip-drying by the chimney with care,
and it was months until show nerves would be back in the air.

Their eyes-how they twinkled! their dimples how merry!
After each of their tests, their cheeks the color of cherry!

A few even smiled, one I saw teeth,
all dreamed of ribbons they could hang like a wreath.
One horse had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he trotted, like a bowlful of jelly!He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink from his rider and a twist of his head,
Soon let me to know I had nothing to dread.He accepted the contact and went straight to his work,
And cantered and trotted, never acting a jerk.
And landing square at X, his browband all bling
His rider gave a nod, and the pair left the ring.

All with a stock tie done up like a bow,
that matched their breeches: all as white as the snow.

That was the end of the day, no need for more whistle,
And away the competitors flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard them exclaim as they drove on their way,
"You are DREAMING! It's Christmas! We will see you in May!"

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