It's show season! For us, that means getting our manes french-braided and doing everything from dressage tests to trail classes to leading patterns, all the while being filmed on video. The videos are then uploaded to Para-Equestrian Canada where our riders compete on video against riders from across the country, all of them with some kind of disability.
What a cool idea. We horses get to show off to people we've never even met, and the riders love it, too. They not only get to see themselves on video (on our Facebook page: Stonegate Farm Therapeutic Riding), but they have a chance to win some pretty nice prizes, too (our favourite prize is the Studmuffins).
On Monday my protege, Louis the Canadian, did a really elegant dressage test with Sarah. Now, Sarah is a wee slip of a thing, and Louis is... well... a tank... but they did SUCH a lovely job. Their circles were round, their transitions happened in the right places, and Louis even shifted his usually lazy trot up a notch. Sarah rode it beautifully. She was pretty thrilled!
Next day, Louis was up again, this time doing a leading class and an equitation class, along with Dooley the Appaloosa. Now Dooley, being 26 years old and a patient sort to begin with, is content to get led around and do the same patterns over and over again while the camera rolls. He followed his riders around like a puppy in the leading class, and then did the equitation class twice with each rider, happy as a clam. But Louis is like me -- too smart by half and very easily bored. He memorizes the pattern after going through it once and then starts looking for ways to make things more interesting for himself. In last year's competitions he knocked over one of the jump standards we use for the kids to put rings on, while I destroyed the course of cones (just once, though... we did get a great video in the end!). This year, however, Louis is controlling himself admirably. He only forgot himself once -- grabbed Carolyn's shirt sleeve in his teeth as she was leading him in the trot during Emilee's equitation class. But he let go almost right away!
I really hope our riders do well. Some of these kids don't get to compete in any other kind of sport, and being able to go up against riders from all over Canada? Wow. What a feeling that must be.
We'll be filming trail classes and more dressage tests next month.
I think I'm as excited as the riders. I can't wait to find out how everybody did.
Beats a regular old horse show anytime.