I’m an Equestrian?

Yesterday was a big day for me and Drew. We have been in our first horse show and survived. I guess it was our first half horse show, since we still have another event to do, but this one was challenging to say the least. I had a lot of support from Sara and Tarrin in my endeavor, but hey, Drew and I did it! We even looked pretty good for a stooped old woman and a young gelding.

Competing hard! All images are from the video taken on Sara’s camera, because who had time to take pictures while everything was going on?

It was a most excellent day, I must say, for both me and Sara, and there was just one little glitch on her cool camera that can follow a horse around, which impressed the heck out of me!

Yes, it is true. I ran the whole thing. Whoever said horse stuff wasn’t exercise was being silly.

Sara did two events, Trail and Agility (Agility is Trail only fast). I did Trail. Since I was doing “in hand” my Trail wasn’t as hard as hers was. Tarrin ran around and set up the course for each of us and tried to keep things from falling down, especially the object we were supposed to knock off a pole and the “slicker,” which is a jacket you have to put on and take off without spooking your horse.

We were all impressed with both horses. Aragorn was a real trooper, because he had to do one thing twice. But, what a guy! He was especially pretty on his double slalom, in my opinion. I think Sara was pleased overall.

That is a happy face!

I went through my course once, just to be sure I knew where to enter and exit, then we did it for real. I was so happy with how Drew did! He only had trouble with the side pass maneuver, and even then he got it on the second try. I was thrilled at how well he did going over the brush. It probably helped that he was familiar with the hill. He bumped into me a couple of times, and slowed from the trot once or twice, but all in all, he did super for his first time.

I’ve got this brush thing down!

And I did super for my first time (according to my audience). That was a lot of jogging. I looked rather overly serious, and my posture sucked. But, it’s something to work on! I look forward to the judging results to see what areas we have for improvement. That’s the best thing about Working Horse Central shows: they are educational and focus on ways the human and horse can improve their performance based on soundness and kindness. If you are looking to become a better partner to your horse and develop skills you will use every day, check them out!

This is so cute. He “rang the bell” himself, then backed out fine. Apache is over there supervising.

Now I have a baseline to improve on, and I know all the things I do with Drew this year from the ground will make starting out in the saddle with shows a lot easier. Yay for us all. Sara and I still have to do our Functionality tests, which we will do once Tarrin takes down the obstacles and restores the dressage arena area. I think we should do well on that one if I remember the order of the steps. I may have Sara call them, or not. It’s not too hard. Here are a few more pictures of our progress.

Anyone who really cares can watch this YouTube video. Thanks to Sara for filming.

I am very proud of this little boy, his trainer, and even me.

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!

sara annon

seeking the middle path

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