Pony races!

26 Jul

On Saturday I went to the Landesturnier in Rastede. This is a larger show about 2 hours from Hagen.  I had a lot of fun and it is always interesting to see how differently things are done!

I have decided we thoroughly spoil our horses.  Here it is rather normal for the horses to be braided the night before, then travel to the show and wait on the trailer until the starting time.  The horses are often tacked up in the trailer and just pulled off for their ride. The horses seem to know that pawing is futile and that they should drink when offered water. Some have temporary stabling on the grounds but they usually do not stay overnight.

The shows are also very well attended. There were only two dressage rings and one warmup ring but they were completely surrounded by people. The shows seem to be a real event with restaurants being set up (yep, with waitresses, alcohol, multi-course meals, menus, etc). Dogs run around free. There are kids with cotton candy and people from the neighborhood pay to get in! It is almost like a carnival atmosphere and a part of the culture of the area!

The general quality of riding and horses is, as expected, high. Sure, it is great to see a PSG class with about twenty entries, but what really swept me off my feet was the presentation of the ponies! They are amazing! They are totally just large horses in smaller packages. They have such amazing gaits!  The pony classes are huge and small adults as well as kids ride them!  I just can’t tell you how impressive they are!

The young horse classes are truly awesome as well! There were so many young horses that were real head turners!  It is amazing to see the three year old stallions trotting around like super stars in the material class!  The real stickler for the judges seemed to still be that the horses were consistent, soft in the back and steady in the rhythm. It did get a little exciting when they had to do the victory gallop with crazy loud music, huge sashes and everyone clapping.

Finally, the best part of the show for me was the pony challenges. This was a team challenge of kids riding mini ponies bareback in various tasks. There were about 12 teams with four or five kids on each team! The challenges included racing to one end of the ring, jumping off, running in a potato sack back to the start while leading your pony, tagging the next kid who then was to race to a line of buckets, jump off and run across the upside down buckets, jump back on, grab a flag, race back to the start and hand the flag to the next. They would then gallop off, do slaloms and switch horses and gallop back! The kids (probably around 8 to 12 years old) were crazy! They raced those ponies like pros! The teamwork was amazing and they had the handoffs down to a science including slapping the next horse on the butt for them to run off with extra gas! I really have never seen such a thing and almost died at how those kids and their horses worked together! They were fearless and having so much fun; galloping with legs and arms flailing as if their lives depended on it! The audience (numbering about 5,000!) was clapping, shouting and just enjoying seeing the young onesgoing for it! Those mini ponies ran like crazy and knew their jobs! I wish you all could have seen it!

On the other hand, my not so mini pony, WakeUp, enjoyed a nice Saturday off. To thank me for it, he scraped his face on who knows what… Does he really want to make sure thateveryone at the World Championships knows he is Mr. Scarface from the Wild Wild West or something???? Luckily it is just a scrape, far from the heart, and hopefully the hair will be back within a week. He is looking really good otherwise and finally eating very well!

Finally, wish my mother some luck for the final test of the National Young Horse Championships! She was fourth in the 6 year olds after the Preliminary Test and I am so excited for her! I so wish I could be there and can’t wait to hear all the details!




3 Responses to “Pony races!”

  1. Pat July 27, 2010 at 7:39 am #

    Hey Emily, I’m surprised you didn’t try to bribe one of the kids to participate in the pony challenge!
    Thanks for this morning’s smile.

  2. Linda Durbin July 30, 2010 at 12:38 am #

    oh come on those poney races, not so different than a day on the trail with the wagner bunch. lol Love ya girl

  3. Trish Clark July 31, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

    That’s what the cowboys do. They load their horses on the trailer with saddles on. They stand quietly til there time to go. and then they go! Love reading all your updates! Trish

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