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I travel the roads every weekend throughout the states of Georgia and South Carolina. When I look in the rear-view mirror I see a navy-blue trailer with a white decal showing a variety of breeds and disciplines traversing from left to right. I am on my way to a pleasure show in upstate South Carolina! The roads are crazy narrow and winding and I absolutely love the views. I am preparing myself for an onslaught of tack-hungry horse people at this show and watching the emerald-green pastures full of ponies on my way is a great start.
I've found a great spot to park the trailer and notice I am right next to the food booth. That's a good draw for me! People gotta eat! While I am setting up my outdoor displays and taking all the travel restraints off my goodies inside, I get a chance to see what kind of rider and spectator I'll have today. The first group warming up are all younger kids and some of them look very green. I am fortunate to be able to stop and watch them for a few minutes. That is when I started seeing a bit of a trend that needs to be addressed.
Younger kids tend to be the recipients of hand-me-downs. It is a great way to get them started in the show ring without killing your wallet. Consignment stores are fairly abundant and on-line sources for good used show clothes are unending! I keep a good stock of shirts in the mobile unit but coats, boots and breeches are left to the stores with air conditioning and oodles more room. The biggest issue I have seen today is the hand-me-downs don't quite fit right on many of the riders. As a judge, I don't care who made it, where you bought it, or how many other riders wore it. But I do care that it is neat and tidy. Coats too big, baggy breeches or jods and floppy tall boots are the top three things that need a fixin'!
If you have to wear a coat that is too big and haven't got the time to cinch it in, use one of my favorite trainer hacks...duct tape. I turn the coat inside out and button the kiddo in. Then, use a stripe of duct tape across the back of the waist to give it some shape and use it on the cuffs to get the length right. Carefully turn it right-side-to and off you go. Remember, it's not how much you paid for it, its the end look that counts. If you aren't sure how you look, have your mom, dad or trainer video-tape your ride and critique yourself in your own mirror. Putting your best foot forward in the ring is a great start to the blues! Next time I will be off to a top-level dressage show, prepare for bling!

Cher Griffin
Mobile Tack Shop Owner
Published on 26-06-2019
My name is Cher Griffin and I am a certified horse nut. I've been living and breathing horses since my first trail ride at six years old. The horse broke loose from my handler and went flying back to the barn and all I could do was grin and whoop it up the entire mile-long run. My mother thought I was crazy. Little did she know. Since that fateful ride, I became a horse owner, 4-H member and horse show addict. I spent many years showing and training Quarter Horses, Saddlebreds, hunters, Morgans, Arabians, a stint with roping horses and sundry other breeds and combos. I became a carded judge in the early eighties and spent more than three decades in the center ring. I've been a 4-H leader for 42 years and have thoroughly enjoyed working with youth and horses. I've coached fourteen successful horse-judging teams to national-level competitions. When my knees finally gave out, I opted for the driving world. I continued to train minis and ponies to drive in the show ring and ADT level competitions. Throughout all this, I also owned my own trucking company, working in the heavy construction industry for over twenty years. Now that I'm an old gal, I own a mobile tack shop that travels from South Carolina to Georgia attending a variety of shows and events. I may not be center ring anymore but I'm in the thick of the horse business and live in the heart of the south's horse mecca, Aiken, SC. If that isn't horse-crazy enough, I am also a published author of three mysteries, Ritzforg 127, Captain Courageous and Gwenonwyn of Aileen. If you love horse and who-done-its, you'll love the books.