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!
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.
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).
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!
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.
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
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.
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!
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!