Last Saturday, 11/5/2011, was promotion Saturday at Westernaires. It is a nerve racking day for most girls. It is the day that you find out what team you will be on fro the coming year. The powers that be look at equitation skills (there is test the riders take in September where judges grade their riding skills), their diagramming points, participation and everything else that you do at Westernaires and decide what team you move to.
You can move laterally or you can move up. You move laterally when your scores indicate you need a bit more work and you move up when your scores indicate you can handle the next level. So Kumi got a slip of paper with a number on it that told her she moved to
A bit about Westernaires. They are divided into 3 divisions, Red White and Blue. Kira is in Blue division. All first year riders start in Blue Division and are known as Tenderfoot's. Kira will be in Blue Division until this time next year when she will move into the next division up or White Division. It is the only promotion that is guaranteed in Westernaires.
White Division is divided into A, AA and AAA teams. New riders go to a A team which is the entry level into white. It is possible for them to jump straight to a AA team and sometimes they can go from a A team to a AAA team. There is much that is looked at, including age, when determining where a rider will move to.
White Division is also the first year that riders can sign up for specialties. Specialties include horse specialties such as Dressage, Trick Riding and Liberty and Ground specialties such as whips (bull whips that is), batons and ropes. Kumi is in whips and Dressage and Kira can't wait to start Trick.
Once a riders skills and maturity have improved sufficiently, they move into Red Division. Red division has 5 teams. The entry level team is Nighthorse Rangers. I think it is probably the hardest move most riders will ever make. Normally, riders have about a year to learn one drill. In Nighthorse, the riders have to learn three very complex Red Division drills. In 5 or 6 months. From Nighthorse, the girls can move to either Crimson Rangers or Royal Rangers. From either of these two teams the girls would move to Precisionetts. The top team is Varsity Big Red and it is by invitation only. You can be invited t join from any of the other Red teams at almost anytime during the year.
The reason the Nighthorse Rangers have to learn three drills is that after stock show the graduating seniors are done with their careers in Westernaires which creates a lot of holes in the teams. Red Team fills according to their rules, Precisionetts pulls from Royal and Crimson and Royal and Crimson pull from, you guessed it, Nighthorse. That is why the Nighthorse Rangers have to learn three drills: it is entirely possible that the girls promoted last Saturday will be promoted again in March. So there you have it, an overview of Westernaires.
Wait.. I'm forgetting something.. Oh yes! Kumiko. Kumi is now a Nighthorse Ranger! She is one happy young lady right now and is looking forward to her first ride this coming Saturday. Congratulations to Kumi.
On a side note, the Red Division teams always practice indoors. With winter here and the distinct possibility of snow and bitter cold winds, it will be nice to be inside for a change.