Saturday, August 16, 2008

AiM Sport Horse Classic/Region IV Championships

The main outdoor arena at Devonwood Equestrian Center in Sherwood, Oregon.

Trainer Tracey and Aaperizcion (Lefty) preparing for a test.

Lefty says "It's hot!" Our string of hot weather with temperatures near or above 100 degrees continues.

This year Arabians in Motion (a chapter of the Arabian Horse Association) combined its Sport Horse Classic show with the Region IV Sport Horse Championships. As you can see, the setting at Devonwood is fabulous. The facility is terraced and has several outdoor sand arenas in addition to the covered arena with its adjacent warm up ring. The site easily accommodated dressage, hunter/jumper, sport horse in-hand and under saddle, as well as carriage classes. And all in great style.

I volunteered to assist and was assigned the warm-up ring and main dressage arena gate. Little did I know that I would be expected to spot check equipment. So every third rider got a "Mind if I stick my hand in your horse's mouth?" Not really. But we did spot check bits, spurs and whip length on a third of the horses when they finished their tests. I lucked out...we had a canopy at the warm up arena so those of us who took a shift didn't have to bake.

One of the banes of an outdoor horse show. You never know if you'll be drenched to the bone or melting under record-breaking high temperatures.

Anyway, I got to see Trainer Tracey and former boarder Jewel warm up...though I didn't see much of their tests because I was lining up the next riders.

When my shift ended I checked out the hunters. Sad to say, the Arabian hunters still seem to lag behind "real hunters." Turnout has improved and the jumping isn't nearly as scary as it used to be. But several of the rounds I witnessed lacked rhythmic pace and consistent impulsion in addition to nice finishing circles before exiting the arena. Granted, I only saw a very few rounds. I'd say the local Arabian hunter/jumper folks need to compete in Oregon Hunter/Jumper Association shows to learn how it's done. The area Arabian dressage enthusiasts compete in Oregon Dressage Society shows, and this experience is obvious.

Regardless, it's heaven for an Arabian horse lover to spend a day surrounded by gorgeous and athletic horses.

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