a BIG change.
I'm NOT talking about a Political Change, or a change in Religion, or even a change of under garments (which I promise happens every day).
I'm talking about a Change in Equestrian Discipline.
It has been my dream since I was a young child to ride at the AQHA or APHA world show and win the garland of flowers, and the trophy, and the medal and all the hoopla that goes along with it.
However. I've learned some HARD lessons as I've gotten older, and wiser. Horse showing at the 'majors' is A - Political and B - Expensive and C - up to individual opinion!
I have a problem and A and C. I can understand B. All hobbies are expensive! So, since I don't see winning the lottery in sight so that I can go drop 20k PLUS on a fancy horse, 5k on a show saddle, another K plus on outfit, hat, boots, bridle and all that other 'stuff' that is required......I'm going to take a different route.
Speed Queen. This is comical! Speed Queen I am not. Maybe if I were 12 again, and fearless. BUT, riding all out and a 1/2 crazed horse around 3 cans or around 6 or 7 poles is NOT my idea of a good time. Count ME OUT
Cattle Barron - ok....so.... There are a couple options here.
Roping - Swing a rope WHILE the horse comes BUSTING out of the box and try to catch heels or horns. NO thanks! I don't think I'll enjoy giving a little bitty ole calf whip lash! And, again, the SPEED factor......no thanks!
Cutting/Working cow - Chase the cow, Chase the cow, Chase the cow......turn the cow, turn the cow, turn the cow.....circle the cow, turn the cow, circle the cow....DONE! Ummm yeah....I don't think I'll take the chance of the horse TRIPPING over the cow! No thanks, AGAIN.
Open Shows - For sure an option. Spend lots of time/money running around to 'local' open stuff for........what? A tiny ribbon? A cheaply made year end saddle if you pay dues, work for the group, and spend all day (8 am to 10pm) showing in every class imaginable so you can 'chase the saddle'. No thanks. I know some nice people who show at open shows....but I also know there are soooo many very NOVICE horse owners who don't know the first thing about showing or proper show turn out at those shows. They THINK they are doing the right thing and won't listen if you try to offer help. The 'back yard' type, if you will. I know that sounds mean, but I'm NOT going to put myself or my horse in an arena with a novice rider who can't control their mount. NOPE. Sorry. Nothing doing!
Jumpers - Did I mention I'm afraid of heights? Yeah, I am! a 16h horse is tall ENOUGH without going over a 5 foot Oxer with a 6 foot spread! NOPE
Eventing - 3 phases - Dressage, Stadium, and Cross Country - I like dressage, and once I get back in the saddle, get in shape, lose some LBS stadium and cross country might be a possibility. I'm going to keep this on the back burner.
I know I'm leaving out things like endurance racing, extreme cowboy race, reining, polo, and some others.....I just can't write about them all!
So......what have I decided to throw my equine energy?
Dressage! Yep, it's true. I feel ANY horse can do your basic Dressage. No reason I can't get through Green as Grass, Into, and Training with one of the horses I have now. Now, when I am ready to move on to 1st level plus.....I may need to move on to a different mount. BUT, until then.....I'm Dressage arena bound. I'd better brush up on my alphabet too!
With Dressage, you are judged on your ride, ALONE. You aren't in the arena with a horse that may move better than you, or a rider who may have a more glam outfit. You are judged on how well you ride your test, period. YES, there are maneuvers you are supposed to perform, and as long as you perform them well, your score will reflect that. There are judges that are tougher than others.....but that just takes showing to then a time or two, or asking around and finding out who those tough judges are......and then not taking a lower score to heart!
And YES, when I get my bootie back in shape, I full intend on getting in a hunt saddle and starting to hop over fences. That may require a new horse....as Casper doesn't JUMP.
My GOAL? Get in 2 or 3 schooling shows this year. It's only April....should be do-able! Get in the arena, get a few shows under my belt......and then....
Next year? Go for a schooling show championship :) at Green as Grass/Intro level.
So.......anyone else contemplating a change in the equine adventures? If so....I'd love to hear about it! What's making you change? What are you changing to?
I hope no one is mad for the use of their photos! Thanks!