The story begins with my reasons for not attending TJS. These were multiple. I could have gone, I confess. I was not physically restrained by injury; I could have afforded it, both in money and (in theory at least) in time. I could see it coming, and .... squirmed.
I had gone on a 2-month family trip (May, June), which included Canada(!), and later gone to BreyerFest for 10 days (July) which had packed quite an emotional wallop (the hotel refused my next year's reservations!). August had seen the Model Meet-Up day (which also walloped me: A Driving Adventure). In late September, five days (25th-29th) were the chosen time for our Three Rivers canoe trip to Virginia. To put it frankly, I was tripped out. Yes, I had parents in Boulder; Front Range room and board was mine free if I wanted it, plus a car. But in late August -- the last possible time to commit -- came word that my folks were shutting up the Boulder house in preparation for their fall migration to Tucson. Mom actually said, Don't come. I teetered. I sampled the psychic winds of my soul, and realized that while I'd love to go for social reasons, I just wasn't a competitive shower and hadn't been for years. I'd had 3 visits with Colorado model people during May and June (instead of the usual 1 or 2). A four-day car trip one-way, or a flight (expensive so late, never taken for only a show), was just too much to ask. The moment of decision passed me by.
|Neys Point Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada|
Nothing less than ElfQuest helped me then: that scene where Cutter breaks off contact with Skywise so he can help Dewshine fight in the great battle. The younger generation has a right to call on the elder. I knew a girl who would be attending TJS, at considerable cost, as a newbie. She had never shown performance at a big live show, yet had wanted to for a long time. She had visited me, we had corresponded, and we were good friends across time and countries. Why shouldn't I lend her some of my props and tack and horses?? Such a wealth I had accumulated over the years...! At the very least, my tack itself could attend the show...
(I knew of at least one piece of my tack which would be there, in the hands of an experienced old performance pro. So Bobbie's case was not my only; but it held the lion's share.)
The idea would not have worked had I been less communicative with or less interested in the individual... or had I thought she would not value it sufficiently.
But she said yes.
|Photo by Bobbie Allen, used by permission|
A long series of emails and pictures between us gradually narrowed down the choices. It is quite challenging to cobble together a show string using somebody else's unseen horses! That's where I started: I asked what she had. One Roxy in bay and one standing black Arab resin, plus a smaller size resin pony, became my starting point. Pile on them my own strengths: Parade, Western and Driving. I wasn't quite so fired up about the abnormal classes, sad but true. It was challenging enough researching the classlist almost as entries closed. I tried to keep things reasonable. How much experience, after all, did she have?
"Have you ever harnessed a horse?" I asked.
"Once," came back the answer.
|Photo by Bobbie Allen, used by permission|
A fourth horse was added to the list: Rocket the Emerson. I had one of those myself, which just strengthened our bond.
|My "purple" set: Saddle by Fara Shimbo|
I had chosen a big strong box we had hanging around. It was a Dell, with the Holstein black and white markings. Somehow Bobbie started calling it the Cow Box. I realized long afterwards that this same box had been to Denmark and back (for our sabbatical, 1994-1995). Given Bobbie's Japan connection, that just made things more magically appropriate...!
And my FOMO evaporated and was gone.
|TSII #406, well wrapped up|
On the day of The Jennifer Show I stayed close to my computer, dashing in often to update my FB feed. Pictures were slow in starting [ahem, time zone!]. I had a small tack project for the day, which went swimmingly.
|Bobbie Allen at TJS. Photo by Jennifer Buxton, used by permission|
But that evening, and for many evenings thereafter, I peered and voyeured and watched and stared. Elaine Lindelef took my breath away by sheer volume and quality of coverage (although there were MANY other photographers, Jennifer amoung them!). This was the NAN photographer job that I myself had held in the past. Elaine deserves a medal -- it seemed to me she went above and beyond.
I found out some of what Bobbie had done. Each shot was a fresh pleasure and surprise. Much later there would be a Braymere post on the newbies: Viva les Novices. The length of time spent absorbing all the fantastic details of TJS by blog was about five weeks by my count,... not counting present company! No show I've ever heard of, not even NAN, has lasted so long.
|Anne Sofia. Photo by Bobbie Allen, used by permission|
For all the lovely surprises that my approach yielded, this is the one that brought me to tears.
My FOMO was gone.
And I just may have helped create another performance junkie.