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ICYMI: Dakota Dishes on High School Prom for Horse Show Kids

Many a youth on the horse show circuit these days have committed so much to showing that we’ve opted for home schooling and online institutions to make room for our busy travel schedules.  However, one of the pitfalls of being a home schooler is missing out on many of the associated school activities that other students take for granted. Living the whole horse show lifestyle full-time is a personal choice, but not one without sacrifice. For me…no football games, pep rallies, homecoming, dating the quarterback (LOL), and of course the big one – NO PROM! With an extreme shortage of male exhibitors in our industry, prospects for social activities outside the show ring can be a little slim.

When asked recently at an Ohio Quarter Horse Youth meeting what my favorite Disney movie was – I had to say Cinderella. I can totally relate to sitting at home (in my case the motor home), while my friends and peers are marveling over dresses, limos, jewelry, shoes, trips to the MAC make-up counter and everything associated with the big dance. After admiring all my friends’ prom pics last year on Facebook and hearing incessantly about their fairy tale evenings, I have to say I was a little envious. When I was just a tiny diva in training, my dream was to go to prom. However, as I approach my 18th birthday, I found myself feeling like some kind of old spinster! I had simply resigned myself to the fact that prom was not in the cards.

Now for the good news and bad news. The good news is that Dakota Diamond is no longer a Damsal in Distress – LOL. Fortunately, a knight in shining armor rode in on horseback to save the day. (O.K., he was wearing chaps, not armor, but he did have the whole horse thing going on). Fellow horse show exhibitor, and BFF, Nick Murphy has come to my rescue, and invited me to his prom. Only a horse show guy could understand the social challenges faced by a friend who is a full-time show exhibitor.

As many of you know, Nick is a Congress Champion exhibitor from the Murphy family horse show dynasty. Grandmother, Ann Murphy has owned some of the greats in the industry, including Congress Champion, Racy Rumors. Here’s the crazy twist of fate!! It sure is a small world, because I took my first rides in the horse industry on Racy when I was a baby (That’s me in my mother’s arms in 1993 aboard the great Racy Rumors. Who knew all these years later that my prom date would be linked to that horse?) To this day, she is my favorite pleasure horse of all time and widely considered as one of the greatest ever. It wasn’t until recently that Doug Carpenter and I put two and two together with the Racy connection and the Murphy’s. Who knew?

So next up is the challenge of working the April 24th prom into my hectic horse show schedule. Let’s face it, you don’t win Honor Roll titles by staying home. Thanks to a huge group of supportive friends, I think I’ve figured out how to make it work. First, pick a show half way between my home in Ohio and the prom in Missouri. Okay got it…Cloverdale, Indiana. Then try to make sure that I can show on Saturday and get to the prom on time. Fingers crossed! Next, line up very good friends to take care of my precious black mare as I will certainly fly out of there like a bat out of h… (this is G rated) after my class to get to my hair appointment. Check. I love you Tommy Sheets for always being there for me in a crisis (including the time when my extensions were falling out at a show and you gave me your wheels to go and buy glue)!!! Embarrassing, but true. Next, have an understanding mom (that would be the mother of my date), to help coordinate all the details upon arrival. Check. Linda Murphy is the best! Finally, have an amazing horse show friend, who understands that like Cinderella, this horse show girl has to run out at midnight after the big dance to get BACK to Cloverdale to show in time for the HUS on Sunday! Check. Nick you are my BFF! Finally, let’s hope that my glass slippers make it back with me.

Oops, I almost forgot. Now for the bad news. I am overwhelmed by dress choices, and have no idea what to wear. Thank goodness my Mother has a retail and fashion background, because my prom dress shopping experience has been an ordeal in itself. Anyone who knows me can verify that when my Mother and I get together on a mission, that drama is bound to ensue. Dress shopping was no different. The dresses were either too pink, too tacky, too frilly, too revealing, too loud, too ugly, too long, too short, and even too prom-like. Shopping with my Mom is not a task for the faint at heart. To break up all the tension was our trusty male dress salesman who loved to attempt to “pop” into the dressing room when I was wearing just my birthday suit. Then there was the mother next door who I could hear complaining in a very loud voice – “Why is SHE getting all the good dresses over there?” Next thing you know, there were strange arms reaching into my dressing room like a bad horror flick grabbing for leftovers. Seriously, it was crazy.

At the end of an exhausting and grueling shopping trip, I was beaming over how happy I was with the dress I had selected. There was no reply from my Mom who was driving and not talking. Knowing that something was up, I asked her if she liked the dress I had chosen. She replied, “Yes, it is beautiful…B U T, I really thought you looked like a Greek goddess in that other gown.” What?!? Sensing her disappointment, I quickly dialed my trusty salesman, and asked him to put the other gown aside as well. Now, I had two prom dresses.

Matters went from bad to worse. As I was cutting through the mall the following day shopping for shoes, I spotted the “perfect dress.” As a self-proclaimed “wannabe” clotheshorse like my fashion idol Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), I had to slip it on. The gown was absolutely flawless, and required no alterations. It was also going to look so perfect with my great-grandmother’s pearls. As a believer in fate, I knew this was the one for sure. Third times a charm after all, right?

Now, reality has set in, and my Dad is ready to kill me. I have charged three dresses to his credit card and two of them need to be taken back ASAP! Leave it to me but the dress ordeal has gotten bigger than the prom itself. I am relying on all you fashionistas and fashionisters out there to “PLEASE HELP ME PICK THE PERFECT DRESS!” (After all, when a girl lives in her motor home more days than her hometown, she has to rely on her horse show family for help. ) Pictured here are my three options – tell me which one is your favorite BY VOTING BELOW! (Note: voting ended 4//19 at 5:00 central.)

Dress 1: One of a kind pink and silver silk charmeuse beaded halter gown with train by Jovani. A little tough to dance in, but definitely Prom worthy!







Dress 2: Tony Bowls “Le Gala” collection white chiffon strapless gown with turquoise print and beaded embellishments. I loved his entire collection, so narrowing it down was tough! This dress is a little more “dance-friendly” with a Dakota flare.







Dress 3: Ivory chiffon strapless gown by Bee Darlin with soft petal accents. The shoes for this dress are killer, and were surely made to match. My Mom called this dress “ethereal.”  I had to look it up but it means heavenly, delicate or refined. She cracks me up!

The prom is just weeks away, so the pressure is on for you to select my prom dress. Cast your vote now, and I’ll be on my way to Missouri for the big outing April 24th! Look out Saxony Lutheran High School, here I come!


P.S. I’d also love to feature my fellow-horse show diva’s prom dresses too! Please email me all the reports, pictures, and juicy details. Can’t wait!


Voting ended 4/19 at 5:00 and we now have a winner!  Thanks to all the GoHorseShow readers who voted! This story is one of the most read articles we have ever had and it received the highest article rating in GoHorseShow history. After thousands of votes were received, DRESS #2 won by a mere 1% of the votes!

Dress #1 received 33% of the vote
Dress #2 received 34% of the vote
Dress #3 received 33% of the vote

Have fun at the prom Dakota.  We know you’re going to look great!