My First Horse Show

That’s right. I’d never been to a horse show until yesterday, when Sara and I returned to the beautiful McClennan Community College Highlander Ranch for a working equitation competition. Fun was had by us, and we sure learned a lot!

Amazingly beautiful grounds with immense oaks.

It was hard not to drool at all the gorgeous gaited horses, Gypsy vanners, and giant warmbloods. but, thanks to the very welcoming people at Heart of Texas Working Equitation, we did learn what was going on, what the goals of the dressage and obstacle competitions were aiming at. What fun.

Here are Pam and Jed in the dressage part of the competition. They won!

We lucked out in that two really experienced women were sitting near us, and they were nice about explaining what made a good horse, what made a good rider, and the history of some of the competitors. That made it lots of fun.

Our favorite of the many great stories we heard during the day was about Pam and her gray paint/something fancy Jed. It turned out he had a year like Apache did last year, only worse. His feet were so bad that they recommended he be put down, but they managed to nurse him back to health. This was their first time in the arena since 2019 (well, they didn’t compete last year anyway, but he wouldn’t have been there).

This is BEFORE she got the overall best rosette! We were all so happy for her.

He is such a great horse that I see why she didn’t want to lose him. He basically slept between his events, breathing so heavily on Pam that her shirt was wet. Then, when she put his bridle on, he perked up, went out, and won the obstacle course, too!

I just cut the nice lady’s head off, because all I cared about was her horse. It’s the family pet, raised by them, and with an incredibly laid-back disposition. He also aced every move and won the more advanced class.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was very happy to get to see my first Gypsy vanner horses in person. These are small but robust horses that were used to pull wagons, but also had to be very tame, because they were always around children. They are a perfect “Suna size” horse. And of course, there is the hair. The glorious hair. Brush, brush, wash wash, braid braid. Sounds like a good retirement hobby to me.

This one is their stallion, doing the gate opening activity. The judge is behind them. Can you see how long the braid is that’s keeping his mane out of the way?

Naturally, these are really expensive horses, so I will admire them from afar. But, they are living My Little Ponies!

It was also fascinating to watch all the gaited horses, which have a different, smoother “trot” than quarter horses and most other horses. The horse looks quite busy when gaiting, but the rider is smooth as if they are sitting on a couch. I am really tempted to get one of those, since Apache has a really rough trot (one of the horses in the show did, too, and its rider was bouncing around at both trot and canter). I’m afraid I was too enthralled with the warmbloods and hair horses, so I didn’t get any photos.

I did enjoy one little quarter horse, mainly because she was such a great size. This is the one where Sara asked if she was a former brood mare, and her owner said no, she was a nightmare. But, she did pretty well considering her history of not doing much until she was older, and was a very friendly girl

They are in Western dressage attire.

It was exciting to watch the experience riders, who were on Lusitano and Andalusian horses. Those are the big ones. They are able to do all sorts of collection moves, fancy walks, snazzy trots, and things I will never do in my entire life, but are fun to watch.

The final part of the day was where they ran the course as fast as they could. That was a lot of fun. Two of the most fun were when Doreen, the woman who did yesterday’s clinic, didn’t go fast, but did the whole course as smoothly and with as few extra steps as possible. She wasn’t getting scored, because her gaucho pants had knocked over something and disqualified her in the obstacle course. She was a great example of taking one’s mistakes with grace, and showed that even the experts have mishaps.

They are backing up.

But the most fun one to watch was a woman who raises Australian stock horses. She and her horse ran that thing like a race, and it was a hoot to watch. And in this part you are allowed to cheer. It was a great way to end the day!

Zoom!

I look forward to doing some of these obstacle things with Apache, if I can ever ride again, and to taking some lessons to become a better rider, even if I’d never get past the first level of this stuff!

Thanks for bearing with my horse love. I am moving on to another topic soon, I promise!

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

6 thoughts on “My First Horse Show”

  1. A great report. Beauties😊 You have a lot of time to get into this activity of you really want to. These events would be fun to watch.
    Very unique. Can anyone watch and when are they?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, anyone can watch. They have a Facebook page where they post their schedule. Usually not too far away. It’s fun!

      Like

  2. Hey, you hit my favorite topic with this one! We have owned Tennessee Walkers for more than 20 years now. At one time we had 9 of them! The two that we still have were born and raised at our ranch in Cameron – a week apart. They think they are brothers! We named them Tango and Calypso for their natural and comfortable gaits, and have ridden them on many trails in Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Maine. Although we are no longer riding, I just can’t bear to part with these great guys. We have a saying: “Ride a gaited horse today. Own one tomorrow”. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.