Westernaires White Olympics was this past weekend. Westernaires is divided into three divisions, Red, White and Blue. Blue division is the entry level riders. They don't do any shows but they do have an inter club competition for horseman ship. Next year, early in the summer, watch this blog to see how Kira does in here first inter club competition. White division is the middle level and Red division is the top. Red division travels to a lot of places for shows and they have their big show in November. If you go to the National Western Stockshow here in Denver you have probably seen Red Team doing their show. Kumi is in White Division and every August, just before school starts, white division puts on their big show for the year. It is a two day event and it is judged.
The show starts with White Grand Entry. The kids have to try out for the team and Kumi made it. This is Kumi and Beamer in their post position for serpentine. The show takes place at the local fair grounds so sometimes the backgrounds for pictures are, well, less than photogenic.
Serpentine is a neat thing to watch. The grand entry team posts riders along the length of the arena. The first team to compete and all the owner horses then come in, circle around the outside of the arena and then start snaking around each of the posted riders. For this show there were some 119 horses in the arena at the same time that were all moving at a trot. It looks really cool. Here is a little idea of what serpentine looks like.
The show also has ground specialties. These include batons, whips (one boys team and one girls team), Indian dancing and a few others. Ground specialties are optional and the kids sign up for these as their interests dictate. This is Kumi whipping from a seated position. I can tell you from experience, making that whip pop from a standing position is not as easy at it looks and these kids do it while seated, laying down, in pyramids and there is even one move where they are spinning their whips right at each! Pretty impressive.
Then there are the "base teams". Each kid in Westernaires belongs to a base team. They work hard to learn to ride boot to boot at a lope. They execute maneuvers such as the Mariner Cross, pass-throughs, propellers and more at a lope. With flags. Each drill lasts about 7 minutes and they are neat to watch. Every now and then they are painful to watch when a team just loses it and they fall apart.
The next day is horse specialties. This includes liberty riders where they ride there horse bare-back and bridleless with only a wire loop around the horses neck to control their horses. Liberty teams do a lot of jumping in their drill. That is, when the horse feels like jumping. There are harness teams, vaulting teams and a dressage team. Kumi is on the dressage team. She taught her horse to bow and here they are bowing to the crowd.
I mentioned that this show is judged. Here is how things turned out. First, I want to let you know that at the other judged show, Kumi's team finished dead last. We were all a bit surprised by that because there were some other teams there that had some rather larger errors than her team. I should also point out that their practices leading up to the show were terrible. Even the kids knew they were bad. On the last practice before the show the instructor finally gave up and told them to just go do whatever they wanted because they weren't listening to her any how. It was ugly. Half the time we couldn't tell what they were doing. On the night of the show the instructors got the team together and did a couple of walk throughs. It helped. When they took to the arena their drill was darn near perfect. They had one of the best stars of the night. And the maneuvers that had alluded them all summer went off without a hitch.
So, Kumi's team, Shadow Riders, finished in second place. They were thrilled.
Kumi's ground specialty team, White Belle Star (whips) won the ground specialties!
On Sunday, for the horse specialties, Kumi's Dressage team won!
Pretty fun weekend!!