Thursday, November 3, 2011
2011 Annual Show
Annual show has come and gone for another year. All the costumes and flags are packed away until next summer. Always a bitter sweet time. Promotion Saturday is this Saturday. Kumi will be moving to a new team. Will she be in White Division for another year? Will she move to Red Division? We will let you know.
That is Kumi in her final ride as a Shadow Ranger. She got to carry the team flag in serpentine.
This is part of the serpentine line. That is Kumi on the far side in front of the stands. I think the riders enjoy riding in the arena of the National Western Complex. I think it would be cool. I was on the side of the arena so I couldn't get all of the horses that were in the arena. Next year I will take a picture from the end oppisite the gate and that should show just how many horses they can get in that arena at a time. And they are all loping. Or at least should be. Every now and then we get somebody who only trots. That's okay, it still looks pretty cool.
Serpentine happens at the beginning of the show. Late in the show, just before the last act, they do cavalcade. Cavalcade is short parade of all the White Division teams. The White Grand entry team gets to lead the cavalcade. Owners get to ride their horses through a short drill in the center of the arena while the rest of the team marches around the outside of the arena in uniform and carrying their flags. This is Kumi carrying one of the cavalcade flags.
Usually the shows go pretty smoothly but this year we ran into a few problems. In the morning show, there was a bad collision during the final act. Two horses were to pass by each other between a posted rider and the rail. There is only enough room between the rail and the posted rider for two riders to pass and just barely miss hitting anything. As the two riders were approaching each other at a lope, one of the mustangs spooked. It wasn't a big spook but it moved the horse about a half step out of its path. The two horses collided head on and every body went down. The outside rider came down against the rail and it sounded a bit like a bell ringing from where I was standing on the opposite side of the arena. She got a nasy bruise behind her ear but is fine otherwise. The two horses jumped up and ran away and they were likewise fine. The second girl went down and stayed. We could see her raise her arm to her forehead so we knew she was at least conscious, but we all got a bit nervous when they brought out a stretcher. She broke her femur. She was in surgery before the second show started and as far as we know, she will be fine once she heals up a bit.
During the evening show one of the trick riders was doing a trick where she was just balanced on the saddle when the horse took a bad step. She fell off to the outside of the horse and her legs got a bit tangled with the horses legs. The horse stopped and she went down and had to be helped off. It looks like she hurt her ankle but I am only speculating.
Finally, in last act of the final show of the weekend, one of the riders went into a turn at a lope and her horse failed to pickup the correct lead. They went down hard and the rider had to be helped off. I don't if you have ever seen a horse go down when it is on the wrong lead but it is not pretty. It can break a horses leg. When the horse is on the wrong lead, it has one leg planted and the other leg comes up behind the planted leg, hits it and basically knocks its front legs out from under itself. Horse and rider go face first into the dirt and it happens so fast you don't have a chance to react.
So, we had a few more injuries than we ever want to see but it looks like all the horses and riders will be fine. Thank you God for watching over them!
Sunday night is my favorite show. At the end of each act, the graduating seniors are recognized. The team forms two lines. When the name of the graduating rider is called they tear down the middle of the two lines and wave good-bye to the crowd. They fly out the gate and that is it. They graduate from Westernaires and they will never ride in a Westernaires show again. (Well, they can ride serpentine as alumni. in later shows for as long as they want.) I used to think it was sad, that they were closing a chapter in their young lives and that is true. But I realized that when they are galloping out of the arena for the last time as a Westernair, they are really riding proudly into their futures. Gives me chills every time!