Lessons Learned at the Concession Stand

This happens like clockwork at every show.

I made an impulsive choice at Woodside.  It was a risky decision made at the last minute that could have been a true triumph but ultimately ended in confusion and a lesson learned.

Whether you’re a competitor or simply at an event to support your barn mates, there’s so much going on that sometimes you just forget to eat.  Sure you brought a bagel, fruit and some string cheese but you knew when you packed them that they’d just end up sitting in the cooler uneaten.

Just after 10AM, the wind shifts and the unmistakeable smell of greasy horse-show cheeseburger wafts through the air.  It beckons like a siren who will not be denied.  Before you even realize what’s happening, you find yourself floating in the direction of the food stand, ready to shell out $5, $8, $12, your first born child – whatever they want – for that piece of familiar comfort.

Seriously horse show cheeseburgers are such a thing that my husband appears to have some mathematical formula based on distance and cheeseburger availability that he uses to determine whether or not to come be bored at the horse show. He refers to one facility as “that place where I got that burger at like 8 in the morning!”

Anyway, on Saturday, I once again found myself floating in a most peculiar way through vendor alley towards the concession booth.  The line was a few people deep – likely all lured by the same forces that drew me in.  The idle time in the line did me in.  I made the foolish mistake of looking over the menu even though I knew what I wanted. I could see people walking away cheeseburgers in hand, with more cooking on the grill.

Two lines caught my eye: “Burrito.  Chicken or Beef with Lettuce, Sour Cream, Cheese and Salsa.”  Without any understanding of the terrible decision I was about to make, I abandoned the original plan of sticking to the old standby, the timeless, classic horse show cheeseburger and went with a chicken burrito because, hey, why not, right?  I remember turning to Stephanie and saying, “Hey, I think I’m going to get a burrito,” which was met with an ambivalent shrug.  I ordered my burrito when my turn came, sans lettuce and sour cream.

As we waited our discussion turned to whether or not Stephanie needed the coat she’d tried on in the tack-truck moments before.  My order came up quickly and we began wandering back to my Durango to grab some water.  While we continued debating the merits of the coat, I discovered that my chicken burrito was actually more of an onion burrito.  I mean technically, all of the components of the burrito I’d ordered were there -chopped onion and tomato probably count as a salsa – but it was in such a confusing ratio that I just kept eating it because it was so weird and I half expected it to change.

I think I ended up eating about a third of it before I gave up hope and pitched it.  Stephanie and I stayed very busy through the rest of the day, but any time we hit a lull in the action my mind would wander back to the onion burrito. I babbled about the onion burrito so much that Stephanie and I ended up hitting Chipotle for dinner in order to get a “burrito-redo”.

In hindsight, I realized that I did the same thing with that burrito that I do in my riding on occasion.  I did the food equivalent of going in to the ring with a plan, but abandoning it at the last second for no obvious reason.  I basically drifted around the corner in to the line, jumped in horribly, then just let the rest of it happen and found myself dissatisfied with how it worked out. Maybe some day when I find myself tempted to stray from the plan I came up with on my course walk the memory of the onion burrito will help me stick to the plan.

Go Team DF. Go Horse Show Food. Go Eventing.

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