A celebration in the stabling at Olympia [OPEN TO ALL]
[Evening, December 22nd]
[Temporary stabling, London Olympia Horse Show (I'm pretending this is a lot bigger than it actually is)]
No matter which show you went to, it seemed that the temporary stabling provided for the horses was identical to the last show you went to. An endless maze of rustling hay, shuffling hooves, and snuffling noses. After the first few times, Rachel had taken to bringing banners from her yard to hang on the stables assigned to her horses just so that she could find them more easily!
But the competition wasn't the foremost thing on her mind at that moment as she put a clean horse blanket over a few tack trunks to make a table, pleased that the deep green that was one of her yard's colours was appropriately festive. The gathering was very much a last minute thing, but since so many riders and groom had to spend the majority of their time in the stables rather than out enjoying the end of year cheer that was the hallmark of the Olympia Horse Show, she had thought it might be a nice touch to bring a little of the festivities backstage, as it were. She'd posted a little note on the pinboard at the entrance to the stabling to announce the gathering, so she could only hope that people had seen it and would turn up. If not, well, at least she still had her family and unrelated family of riders.
Almost as if their ears were burning, Rachel heard the familiar steps of her wife approaching and turned to see the daredevil woman carrying an armful of food and drink, closely followed by their daughters who were equally laden down.
"Excellent!" she said, but before she could say any more, heard further, unfamiliar steps approaching. Putting on her best smile, she turned to greet the newcomer: "Hi! Glad you could make it!"
"Hey Rachel! And the gang!" Veola said, "I'm glad I could make it!" Walking up closer to Rachel, holding my arms out for a hug.
Stepping back and looking at the stall step up, Veola missed this. Even though she came to the show horse-less this year, she wouldn't miss watching her friends compete. She may even help behind the scenes, wherever its needed. She thought it would be great to take a break from the hustle and bustle back home during the move.
Looking at Rachel's stall setups really brought back so many emotions. "I'm so happy for them" Veola thought to herself.
"I saw your poster, who else is coming? Any ideas?"
Something about being back in London was decidedly magical this season.
For one of them, at least. Personally, he had been done with the cold the moment they had boarded the plane back in California, already dreading the bags of warm clothes left to him to deal with. It had been Jill to see them off, which at least was a warm farewell, a tangle of red hair promising up and down that she'd keep things in order at the local level whilst they were gone -- Promises were never her specialty, though, and the migraine developing on the west coast was more than enough to make him drag his feet this entire soiree. He could be at their hotel right now, conferencing with night owl barn managers to get their string prepared for the new year. Instead he was here, not even a rider in the show, being bossed around by one.
Still, he couldn't begrudge his partner a single thing, especially twilight insanity like this that was so characteristically her. So it was with a slightly manic smile that he let himself be dragged along by one of the only representatives of DPPR set to compete. The better half, some noted, and he agreed with those commentors more often than not.
"So who'd you even bring, anyways?" Luke finally forced himself to snap to attention and behave like a human and not a defunct robot, ducking his head near his wife, Alicia, so that he might hear her over the din of chatter and horses. The words came just before they rounded a corner in the confusing tent city of show stalls, and the look he got in response was a slightly patronizing one-- He already knew who had been flown out, and she knew that he knew --but Alicia forged on anyways in reply, "Pandora and Eclipse. Lena's got Vaccanta and Vittanya somewhere. She didn't want to come tonight, though, didn't even budge when I insisted." If it involved 'fun', Luke found, the committed Ms. Woodall was usually a thousand leagues away from it during shows like these. So, it wasn't a surprise she was avoiding this get-together like the plague, something he was beginning to wish he could do, too.
Still, the setting brought back memories that he sometimes wished wouldn't come up and upon spotting fellow lifeforms engaging in conversation at this small party the normally prideful barn owner simpered slightly and recanted, "Al, do we have to? I bet the hotel bar takes reservations."
"Don't you coward out on me, Teth," The blonde bit back dryly, stopping to turn back, "It's called networking. I'm sure you've tried it, or is your modus operandi still to stand there and hope life slaps you across the face?" That's how we met, though, Luke thought fervently as he looked between her and the small crowd, swallowing a lump. To be nervous was ridiculous, but he still brushed his palms off on his breeches. Anxiety, that old devil, and he wasn't even riding in the show, "Uh-- Just, I'm sure people will make their way over to us. That's all. Don't want to interrupt, or anything."
With a plaintive but understanding sigh, arm linked through his, she settled on idling with him near the edge of the small celebration, the duo seeming the perfect combination of antsy and tired, but hopeful of the night to come.
"Hello, Veola," Rachel replied, smiling at the boisterous woman. Sensing the presence of a hugger, Merry intercepted the hug, all but lifting Veola from the hay-littered floor in her customary hurricane manner. It was a system they had set up a long time ago given that Rachel didn't particularly like being touched by people she didn't know and Merry had absolutely no hangups about that what so ever.
"No idea, Ray kinda made it open to everyone stuck in the stables rather than out enjoying the fun. What brought you up here? I thought you weren't competing this year?" Merry chatted happily.
Rachel, seeing the two extroverts getting along, turned her attention to a couple lurking nearby. She knew them on sight from the few international competitions she had started being able to take her string to, and even importad a couple of horses from their stable, but she had never really spoken to them before.
"Hey there! We managed to scrounge up some food if you're interested, although beware of questing noses!" she said with a soft smile, trying to start out on a light note. As if to illustrate her point, a grey nose belonging to a shaggy welsh cob by the name of Vanaheim's Zircon popped out, little ears pricked and hopeful.
Maeve Carolan smiled to herself as she walked down the aisles of stabling, remembering years prior when she would compete here with her Irish Sport Horse, Proper. In theory, Maeve was supposed to be enjoying a break from competing. At thirty-three, she was ready to work on some other parts of her life, and had just married her husband over the past summer. But then she received a call that a close friend was sick, and would she be willing to ride in her place, as to not let the entry fees go to waste?
She stopped as she came up on the stall housing the big blood bay stallion. She peeked over the stall bars to check the water buckets. SSE Memento Mori lazily flicked his ears in acknowledgement. A rare moment for the particularly aggressive stallion.