Monday, April 14, 2008

The Horse Show at Ram Tap

The directions said to drive slowly through the village to the grounds. Even though we were in Fresno, I had this mental picture that it would look like a village in a Nancy Drew novel with trees and brick houses and people waving as we drove through. Instead the village looked like a bad trailer park without the trailers.

But at dawn the silhouetted horses did look pretty as they warmed up for part one of a three day event: dressage. Unless you're a horse person, watching dressage is bewildering.

We found Dinah grooming Tia in her stall. She asked if we noticed anything different about this show, which was filled with horses in stalls and trailers parked nearby. Jon and I were stumped.

"There are no grooms!" she said. Wow, this is so different from the princess life style of hunter jumper horse shows where a groom does all the polish and shine work, tacks the horse, and helps you get on. Eventing is a whole different style. The riders even clean their own stalls, as well as feed their horses. I like this, a lot.

We almost missed Dinah's go because the mother of one of the girls was telling us her life story non stop. Maybe she's telling it to Dinah too in this picture:

Anyway, horse and rider both looked good in what we saw of their go. But Dinah was very worried about the next day's event: (what the show is all about), cross country jumping.

In cross country you gallop across a giant field, jumping through water and over solid coops and ditches and walls. There are about twenty obstacles, and you cover more than a mile. She said they had included a table you had to jump onto and off of, and she'd never done that. It's not usually part of the division she's in, and this was her first time showing in cross country. Cross country takes guts- not a sport for the faint hearted.

Jon pictured a sturdy dinner table, but it's more like a big berm. He gave Tia some advice on the table.

Up and on

She headed to the warm-up, we headed to the hill.

On the hilltop various competitors were gathered. I overheard them talking about the dressage judge the day before: "She ate me alive!" "She so ate me alive." "She ate me alive too."

Judge must have been mighty hungry.

Dinah's round began. Way in the distance we could see her galloping on, over one fence after another, everything going great.

Down the hill they came:

and up the hill:

"But what's this?" says Tia as they jump onto the table.


"Ain't jumpin off this table, Dinah!" But the next day she was allowed to go onto the course for a training round, and actually trained Tia to jump off the table, and they got to jump in and out of the stream too. Dinah loved it. She can't wait for the next meet.


Linda said...

When I got to the part: "and up the hill:" heart was pounding! Of course Tia isn't going to jump on and off a table. Why would she do such a thing? She has better manners than that. (Seriously, if she's never been taught to do that, why should she?)I pictured a big dining room table, too. That first photo is beautiful and Dinah looks great--and so happy-- riding Tia.

Sally said...

She called tonight full of plans to go to the next event.

stray g said...

Thanks for sharing all the excitement! Congrats to Dinah and Tia.

I remember my friend telling me about trying to get her elderly father to do some exercises. He resisted, saying, "Kid, it's not that I can't; I just don't see why I should have to at this point."

Namowal said...

I'm with Linda- Tia's no fool. She's not going to jump on something she's never seen before. Still I'm impressed that she was able to learn the table trick with a little practice.
I think horse riding events, like dog agility events, are neat. They give social animals a chance to do what they like to do- team up with another member of the pack/heard to accomplish something.

Sally said...

Dinah said the way they trained her to jump off the table was by flanking her with horses that already knew how, at a lower height, and jumping them repeatedly. Then she gave it a go.

srpplr1 said...

It appears this is down bank, not a table. Horses are never asked to jump on to a jump, only over them.


Sally said...

srpplr, thanks for the clarification.