To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Dressage takes a detour, but is not derailed

What a whirlwind the last few weeks have been! Schooling, giving lessons, visiting Perrydale Trailscleaning horse and tack, showing at the State Fair, horse-camping. Doesn't sound like the life of a dressage horse, but I think a well-rounded education makes a horse a better dressage mount – and  having a dressage education makes a horse a better mount for everything else!

The day we spent at the State Fair Mustang Show was long, warm, and HUMID; I don't think I've ever sweat so much! We were totally out of our element, but Lance was such a good boy and I had fun hanging out with the mustang exhibitors and Wanda, who came and supported me with her friendship and ready help for most of the day. Lance's Kiger sire Riddle Me Dino was there and Dino's owners were also incredibly supportive; I heard them say several times, while pointing in our direction, "That's a Dino baby!" I think they liked my Lance. ;-)  Some strangers in the stands really took a liking to my handsome horse, too, giving me thumbs-up and big smiles when I rode by, and clapping and cheering wildly for him in the line-ups.

So how did we do? The judge didn't favor us much; we came home with five pretty ribbons, but none of the blue or red variety. We placed third out of five in the halter class; Lance surprised me by standing pretty quietly instead of fidgeting. We also placed third out of five in the trail class, even though it had few of the elements I was expecting, other than backing through an L and then sidepassing back along the L which we didn't execute cleanly. I thought we'd do best in the three English Pleasure classes, but slipped to fourth and fifth places in those, thanks to making our only mistakes right in front of the judge. :-/  Oh well, it was good experience, and fun overall. I don't know that we'll do it again; I think I'll save my funds for dressage shows and keep the trail-riding on the trails from now on.

The show photographer got some really good shots – but charges really high prices for them which I just couldn't justify. (When he gets them on his website under exhibitor #, I'll post the link so you can see the online proofs.) Here are some photos Dino's owner took; at least they prove we were there!
Senior geldings halter class
Backing through the L in the Open Trail class
Standing out in our English tack, waiting for the trail class to be placed
Dino on the left, his son Lance on the right
A better photo of Dino, hanging out at the Fair

We had a good time horse-camping over the Labor Day weekend. We got to our destination in the Ochoco National Forest late Friday so threw up a high-line for the night; the next day we set up paddocks with electric fencing. I wasn't sure how well either would work for my "escape artist," but Lance was a model camper with both set-ups.

My friend Laura was there with her mare Tang, and our ride together Sunday was "the cherry on top" of the whole weekend. First we herded a range bull out of camp with our dressage mounts, who surprised us with their bravery. Then we rode through the meadow and up the hill, then down past the site of a small forest fire and back to camp.

As we returned, my husband snapped some photos on the sly with his long lens:
(A full report of the weekend is on my farm blog here.)

Since our return Lance and I have resumed our regular dressage schooling. I'm looking forward to taking some more lessons with Julie in the near future –and going to the beach with my boy!


Mary said...

Wonderful times!! You and Lance make a great team.

Laura said...

That ride was the highlight! I love the pictures that Rick took - Tang looks glad to be home and looking forward to being fed, while Lance is still looking around!