Raining at Follywoods, So I Watched the Reining
When I went out to feed in the morning, it was OK--gray and cloudy, but still dry. That changed rather quickly. I did leave Tucker out anyhow, after I had dressed him and the other two Boys in their slightly more than lightweight waterproof sheets. He will have to stay in tonight, I fear, hopefully with both shoes still on.
I did some cleaning inside again in the never ending project of trying to get the house in order, but I am a dreadful housekeeper and there is still much to do. And, I spent a good bit of time watching the Euroreining Futurity which was being broadcast live on the Internet. Muriel had posted the link on her blog and I finally had a chance to visit.
Well, I soon became quite captivated watching the performances. Reining is, essentially, like a western riding dressage test with various required movements and a set pattern all competitors in a class must ride. (There are freestyle tests, too but that was not on the card for today..tonight.) This was the International Limited Open Class for four year olds. I watched the first few rides, trying to figure out the scoring. Then, I went to a few websites to see exactly what was required of each of the exercises so I could try to guess what kind of scores each ride would get.
At that point, once I had a benchmark score of 218--high score of the early rides--I began to estimate what each ride I watched would earn. I am happy to say that I got pretty darn good at it! Two of the later rides--the last one, especially--really impressed me. The ride was smooth, especially the transitions between required gaits. The horse was not overbent as some of the others were, and the rider was very subtle with his aids. The pair: Spark N Whiz ridden by Paolo Orlandini . Sure enough they earned the high score of the night at 219.5. Turns out this horse has quite a background, and was a reserve European champion last season, so he was one of the class horses in the field. But I was really pleased to have been right in my assessment of his performance.
What was interesting to me was that head carriage did not seem to be a vital issue. A good number of horses were really low in front and nearly behind the vertical. Others were totally "open" in front, and some carried their heads in a more traditionally accepted dressage frame, opening up for the extended gaits, and going into the sliding stops. As a matter of fact, the winning horse had that kind of frame, and yet was very quiet about varying his head according to the exercise. To me, it demonstrated a horse really working through his whole body to his his front end. Just a nice, overall picture.
So, while I did not ride my own Boys because of the weather, I had a good lesson inside. I have always admired good reining horses, but now I have a much better understanding of what is good and bad about required movements and just how the exercises should be performed.
If you want to check out the live video--making adjustments for the time difference in Italy--here is a link: http://www.euroreining.com/BroadCast/Futurity2009/Futurity2009_Live_2.htm
It's kind of like dressage on fast forward. *G*