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dressage show

dressage, dressage show, summer sizzler show

Dressage in a Downpour

Last month, a group of riders from our barn attended the Summer Sizzler Dressage Schooling Show. The show is held in Redmond, OR at a lovely facility called Stonepony Dressage.

An early heat wave ended just in time for the show, letting temperatures cool from the low 100’s into more tolerable 80’s. In Central Oregon, summer cooling generally means clouds with a potential for afternoon thunderstorms.

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We watched the sky all morning, as riders quietly went about their business, warming up in the indoor arena, competing in the outdoor ring. Akela and I took turns hand-grazing Micah, the second level schoolmaster we co-lease, walking him about the property before our rides.

Akela was scheduled to ride first in the First Level Test 1 class. Clouds built ominously as the temperature dropped and wind picked up.

As Akela did her warm-up ride, under the supervision of trainer Mari Valceschini, I ran back to the trailer and shoved our gear inside just as heavy drops of rain began to fall. I grabbed a jacket and headed back just as Akela headed to the outdoor show ring. That, of course, is when the downpour began.

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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.

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dressage for mere mortals, dressage show, natalie perry dressage, seat aids

Honey, Is That a Carrot on the Nightstand?

Of course it is! I’d spent the day at a horse show and will need days to unpack and regroup. You’d think my husband would catch on to these things, but I haven’t shown in several years, so it’s a new experience for him. The carrot accompanied a pair of gloves, so it was something of a montage.

After seven years out of the show ring, my return had the fascinating feel of something new yet familiar.

Familiar: getting up at the crack of dawn and hauling an incredible amount of equipment for a one-day event.

Familiar: a mix of anxiety, excitement, and exhaustion as I wait for my rides, scheduled for 1:41 and 3:04 p.m. It seems like an eternity.

Natalie gives Charles his show ring debut. He was scared but did a great job.

Natalie gives Charles his show ring debut. He was scared but did a great job.

Familiar: spending the day with our barn community, with their own levels of excitement and show nerves. We have owners taking new horses into the ring, horses who have never shown before, and even a young stallion. We’re all pitching in where we can. Everyone’s supportive and upbeat. Thank goodness someone brought Gatorade. Continue reading…

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