Central Oregon Dressage Classic, dressage competition, dressage show, natalie perry dressage

Testing 1, 2, 3

This weekend I filled the role of horse show announcer at the Central Oregon Dressage Classic. It took a circuitous route to get there.

Several months ago I mentioned in passing that I’d announced for Fort Vancouver Dressage several times. You have to be organized, but it’s otherwise a pretty easy job and you get to watch all the rides.

At the time, I didn’t know my friend, Tina, well enough to understand that Tina is a Communications Expert. Within three days, Tina had let it be known that I had Announcing Experience.

I hadn’t realized how far and wide Tina’s ‘reach’ is. If Tina was an advertising campaign, she’d be highly successful.

Within just a few days, Mari, assistant trainer at our barn (Natalie Perry Dressage) said, “We need to talk.” I assumed I was in trouble and had killed a horse or broken a serious barn rule. I held my breath, waiting for Mari to continue. Would I have to find a new barn?

“We need an announcer for our June show,” Mari said. She is president of Central Oregon’s dressage chapter and an expert volunteer rustler. I was so relieved I hadn’t killed a horse, I would’ve said ‘Yes!’ to almost anything.

Which is why I spent the day in the announcer’s booth at Brasada Ranch. Here’s a photo of my headquarters.

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The first 20 minutes of day 1 were a bit rough, as those of with walkie-talkies figured out who we were and what we were supposed to be doing. We couldn’t see one another and had to learn to transmit vital information such as Rider #1 is moving toward the indoor; Rider #3 is in warmup; Rider #2 is nowhere to be seen, and so on. With time, we developed our own code and rhythm.

Since Mari had rustled up nearly every barn boarder possible with her ‘We need to talk’ technique, I recognized most of the voices and quickly came to know who I could rely on. We were a well-oiled machine by 9:00 a.m. And, since they wouldn’t let us have Mimosa’s at lunch, we made it through the entire day pretty seamlessly.

A highlight of the day was watching Akela ride. Akela co-leases Micah with me and, since we ride on alternate days, we’re rarely in the barn at the same time. It’s also fun to watch your horse from a distance, objectively observing his way of going. As you know from previous posts, Micah is super in the show ring.

From my upstair’s lair (aka: the bat cave), I watched their first ride, where Akela achieved her goal of a 70% score. She garnered two blues and a red over the weekend. Here’s a photo of my bird’s eye view.

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Just as adorable was observing Akela’s family, who came out in force to watch her ride. Talk about a supportive family. It was heartwarming to watch them photograph and video every moment.

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While part of me longed to be out there, riding a horse, the bird’s eye perspective was fascinating. More about that next time — along with my top Horse Show Pet Peeve.