Sunday, March 15, 2015

Working Equitation Schooling Show

Last December for our Whoa Podcast about Horses & Horsemanship I interviewed Tarrin Warren.  Tarrin and I had met at a campdrafting clinic in Colorado in 2013.  I learned she was participating in the sport of Working Equitation.  I knew little about W.E. but I'm always looking for new topics for the show.  Tarrin was great on the show and encouraged Ranae and I to attend a schooling show happening a few hours from our home.  I called the vice-chair, Julie Alonzo, of the national organization WEIAUSA and asked if we could participate in the competition and record it for the podcast.  She agreed and gave us a few instructions so we would be prepared.

W.E. combines three "tests" - a dressage test, an ease of handling test, and a speed test.  It was explained to us many times that the dressage test wasn't the big fancy dressage - at least not at the level we would be competing.  We download the test and set up a ring anywhere we could and practiced the pattern.  Of course, it was the blind leading the blind, leading the blind, as Ranae, the horses, and I tried to figure out the nuances of dressage.  We managed to get the path down, the gaits were iffy and the circles were, well, kinda ugly.

For the show we would have to come down the night before, stable our horses at a horse hotel, stay with a friend and be on the show grounds to start at 9 am.  It was also the time change weekend.

The group was having a week long clinic with world class Portuguese trainer Nuno Matos.  Six trainers had been there for five full days receiving training.  When I told Julie we might be down late Saturday afternoon she encouraged us to bring our horses by for instruction.  This was motivation to have us get there around noon.

Ranae got some training with the obstacles and I got a wonderful lesson in dressage.  Everyone was very open and willing to help us.  Ranae competed in the Introductory Level and I competed in the Novice.  I was able to video some of our runs and you can watch them here or on YouTube.

The judges remarks on my scorecard have given me a long list of things to work on.  Most disappointing was the notation of a "lack of bend" and "learn proper bend".  As long as I've been following the Downunder Horsemanship Method one would think Jessie would be as flexible as a slinky.  So, while this was a bit depressing, we competed, we discovered what we needed to improve, and we've started working on it.


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