BY ERIN PRUTOW
My primary concern is that people can’t tell I braided myself! So long as no one notices the braids are not done by a professional, I’m more than happy to keep doing it.
I started braiding as soon as I started horse showing. Squished between a hay bag and the trailer partition, I stood on a bucket in some contorted angle trying to make sure my braids we’re straight and tied up nicely before the pony hunters.
As a junior, I continued to braid to mitigate my horse show expenses. The more horses I braided, the more classes I could enter the next day. It was not abnormal to wake up at 3am head to the show, braid a few manes, hack my horse, braid my own and go show. My trainer, Penny Silcox was incredibly supportive. On more than one occasion when I slept through my 2:30am alarm she would call, ask if I needed help and show up at 4am to help me finish up.
Being able to chip away at my horse show bills, learning to groom and prep my own horses helped immensely. Plus, I was blessed with trainers who were advocates for my riding in securing catch rides. All of this allowed me to continue to show as an amateur and as a young business owner.
Braiding also fits in my daily time schedule. I continue to prep my own horses, so 99.9% of the time that means getting them in the ring at 6:30am, showing them all the jumps, warming up to see how much energy reserves are in the tank. Once my horse is sufficiently quiet, I head back to the barn, put on a podcast and begin to braid before the rings start for the day.
Mentally, braiding helps with my nerves. After all these years, I still have performance anxiety. I care immensely about my rounds and setting up my horse for success. As a type-A control freak type of personality, it helps to have something to fuss over prior to the start of my division.
It’s an immense blessing to be able to participate in this sport. I do not take one piece of it for granted. As a relatively new entrepreneur, I will probably always capitalize on cost-efficient options. So it’s nice when my braids blend in with the pros, and no one notices 🙂
Erin Prutow is a SoCal based life long equestrian showing in the adult equitation and hunters. She owns her own law firm and practices estate planning and equine law.