This competitor is having her horse thoroughly checked out by the judge. All the horse parts are required to be there. The judge is counting the legs now, there has to be a minimum of four.
Horse trailers started pouring into the Fairgrounds yesterday afternoon and filled up a large dirt parking area right next to the boondocking area where I'm at. Even if I hadn't seen all the horse trailers I would still have known they were here by the sudden quadrupling of the local fly population. Horses apparently travel with their own bevy of flies just in case there's a shortage of flies wherever they're going.
I didn't know what kind of event this was supposed to be I just knew it included horses and I just hoped it was going to be at least half as exciting as the Sheriff's posse gymkhana tomorrow. So this morning I walked over to the event center and saw a sign that said "Dressage event". Now since I speak both French and Pig Latin fluently I interpreted Dressage to be the French word for "Dressing up your horse in a funny costume", so I expected to see all kinds of horses dressed up like Santa Claus and various elves, so imagine my surprise, and disappointment when I found out that was not the case.
Apparently Dressage turns out to be the French word for "boring" because this was the most sleep inducing horse event I've ever seen. I can see why people go to Rodeos but not to Dressages. Now there were a lot of little kids involved in this event so I assume it was designed to be the safest thing the little kids could do with a horse other than staying off of it.
I didn't spend much time at the event, for obvious reasons, so I don't know all the ins and outs of the competition but from what I saw the competition consisted of, first the rider walking out to the center of the arena with their horse in tow, where a judge inspects their horse making sure it has everything a horse should have, legs, mane, tail, standard horse stuff.
Then after all the horses are inspected the judge orders everyone to get on their horse, they called it mounting their horse but all they're doing is getting on it, and walk slowly around in a circle. After they've completed that five or six times, the judge yells at them to turn around and walk the other way. After a few minutes of that the judge, obviously having problems making up her mind, screams at everyone to trot.
All of this walking and trotting and turning around and going the other way goes on for about 15 thrilling minutes until the judge orders everyone to get in a line, where she walks over to a random horse and gives the rider a blue ribbon. The rider appears happy and surprised at this but the horse seems not to care one way or the other.
Now I know that to some people that sounds like the most exciting eight hour event they've ever been to, but I found it to be somewhat less interesting than watching people play golf or fish. All the folks there, which were obviously family members of the riders seem to be enjoying themselves immensely. So despite my personal lack of interest in Dressage I say anything that can get a family out doing things together is a great event and will make memories that will never be forgotten.
This young man was probably forced to wear this unfortunate hat by his mother.
The competitors are just starting to execute their 180° turn to walk in the opposite direction. You can see the tension in the faces of the horses.
Speaking of stress, the stress and tension of slowly walking around the arena five times in a row is beginning to show on this young competitors face,
I don't know if this young lady won anything for her riding, but if they were giving awards for cute, she got the blue ribbon.