By Henri Reed
Published on Facebook November 23 at 9:58pm
Gymkhana Day! The. Best. Day. Ever! Ok, so really it was a fantastic day, in a life that already has many 'The. Best. Day. Ever!' days in it, but this day ranks right up there :-D I was lucky enough to be a helper all day, and just getting to be involved, and a part of the team that made for such a very happy day for so many, is just the best feeling, let alone getting to ride in my first ever Gymkhana.
So what was it like? Well, it was a day filled with really happy people - kids and adults. I think I was the, erm, most mature, but pretty sure I was as excited as the most excited young one too! There were parents helping kids, other adult riders having their first ever go at plaiting manes and tails in their first show too, and some gorgeous very polished young ones and experienced adults who just looked stunning! Like Horse Of The Year stunning. And no matter which group people belonged to, everyone was so supportive and excited for each other, it was just awesome!
It was breathtaking how beautiful everyone looked, be they non horse owning students on riding school horses, or polished horse owners with show experience. Everyone did their individual best for their horses and it was delightful to see the effort everyone made.
Was I nervous? Turns out not at all :-) Those of you that know me, probably would not describe me as the shy type ;-) Anxious not to let Cruise down, yes, star that he is, and that I was lucky enough to ride in my two flat classes. But the biggest thrill for me, hands down, was being confident enough to canter, in a group, with people watching. This from a person who a year and a bit ago, refused point blank to canter on lovely safe old Billy in my first few lessons. What a mile stone for me!
I was so busy helping I almost missed my first class, and ended up with uneven stirrups and cramp in one leg and was so excited to be in the class I hardly noticed it :: I am laughing just thinking about it!:: and I was determined not to make Amy McPake, my wonderful instructor look bad! So Best Paced And Mannered was my first class, and had the cantering in it. Cruise took off like a rocket in trot (which he NEVER does in a lesson!) and I was like EEK! and held him back, and that made my trot was not energetic enough - my fault, but I was totally thrilled when Anna Von Winterfell said our canter was a nice bright one, and well done. I mean, me and cantering - a nice one!?! I thought I had died and gone to heaven!
Next was Best Mount and Cruise was a star, we bended, picked up and deposited jackets, halted, and trotted, and walked through a maze without hitting poles........... and got FIRST EQUAL! My first ribbon and I was excited as anyone is when they get their first ribbon. So much fun :-D
And on to Games where I got to ride the gorgeous Blue! Bending, Mug Shuffle and Egg and Spoon with lots of laughter and lovely people, and a great time was had by all. Such a lot of fun, and in our group, my team won! So another First Place gold ribbon, and best of all? Amy tying it on Blues neck, and the best photo of day? - Me and Blue and our gold ribbon, with Amy, my instructor and friend!
Thank you Amy McPake, Isabella Harley Lana Page and Rosie, the A Team of Gymkhana organizers, Janet Tolo for making it possible, Judith, Mary Anne and Amy McPake three of the judges who worked so hard and were so fair in their judging, and the totally amazing, dedicated, incredibly focused and hard working Anna Von Winterfell who did the most astonishing job of judging the jumping and flat classes, with kind and encouraging words for every single competitor. Just fantastic to watch, a truly magnificent job.
Thanks to Lana Page and Harriet Teichert for taking the pictures and videos so the Facebook Blog of the Adventures Of The More Mature Rider was able to make a VIDEO! So if you have made it all the way to the end of my longest blog ever - Thank You! And my impressions of the whole day? Happy people, the smell of horses, shampoo, hay and sausages, laughter, friendship and a day well spent.