How do you feel when you win a rosette? Excited, ecstatic, proud, accomplished, delighted, jittery along with a feeling of “savour the feeling as I’ll probably fall off next week”
I was chatting to a lady the other day at a networking event and we were discussing about how we pack up the rosettes and send them on their way to the competition organisers. When a rosette is being inspected before packing, if it doesn’t give us the “wow feeling, I really like that” we have a chat and see if it needs to be remade or another something added to the design to make it special. We put so much into sewing, printing and assembling the rosettes and box them up, practically giving them a little pat and wishing them luck in the big world.
Its not only about the rosette, it is a symbol of all that goes into the competition or camp. The organisers put so much work into the day, the long hours, the meetings, the organisation, the long hours washing and painting poles, long evenings putting up courses, roping rings, building dressage arenas and the last minute search for the missing ring numbers or letters for the dressage arena. Then there is the early morning of the show or event, the first ones into the field, the early arrivers that need parking, stewards despatched to rings, judges given coffee and steered into place. Panic about something that is forgotten and then it is produced by that wonderful volunteer that always remembers the whistles, competitor numbers, clip boards and all the bits in the magic box from last year! These organisers are the last out in the evening and work tirelessly to make sure that everyone has a great day, no one gets hurt and everyone goes home happy. They clear up, pack away, mutter “I am not volunteering next year, I’ve done it enough years” (but they secretly are looking forward to next year already!) and drive out the gate exhausted, cold and hungry but give them a week and they will already be working on next year’s show!
The competitors are planning their show campaign for months, even years, they organise family events, weddings and holidays around competitions as they couldn’t possible miss certain days out. They have a strict training routine planned out, don’t ask a true competitor out on a Saturday night as they won’t go, they have to get up at 5am to plait and travel to be at the venue for 8am to get settled before the first competition of the day. Family and friends get brought along as grooms, drivers, catering, children minders and general support team. Trainers are on call for the panic phone call “he won’t relax and his canter transitions have gone to pot, what will I do?” Its unreal how many humans are focused on the equine athlete, all vital in the team.
For some lucky competitors, it is their day. The day all the hard work comes together and all works out on the day. The judge does like your horse and all the poles stay up in the cups, there are no ditches so the Cross Country goes really well and then the magic moment when you see the big 1st against your name when the placings are finally announced. The whoops of excitement, the cheers for your pals, you are as glad when they win as you are when you win. The round of applause and the walk up to receive your rosette and prize, maybe an envelope to go towards filling that ever increasing hole in your finances or a lovely prize that will make you smile every time you use it, as you remember that great day when you won it.
Finally, what links it all together, of course it’s the rosette. Proudly made by the Centrepiece team in our little workshop, despatched to the organiser who proudly displays them for the prize giving and hands them over to the lucky competitor who smiles and delighted with themselves, brings the rosette home and proudly displays it on the shelf (or hopefully on one of our rosette display hangers) to admire for years. I have rosettes that I won over 40 years ago, they might be put away in a bag upstairs but they will never be thrown out. Too much hard work went into them and too many memories.
So here is a little suggestion for you, go make a cuppa, grab your pile of rosettes that you have put away in the drawer, sit down, pick each one up, read the notes on the back and saviour the memories of the happy days with your first pony or maybe your first competition in the RDS or first time at the championships or maybe the time you were so lucky and the pole stayed up, despite the rattle. Share the stories with us and relive those memories. The rosettes from Centrepiece Rosettes are so much more that just a bit of ribbon sewn together, I hope they will be an emblem of those memories for many years to come.
Enjoy the memories and thanks for reading.