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Sunday, 30 August 2015

Grand Summer Gymkhana gathering

This is a photo heavy post, so a cuppa, biscuit and a comfortable chair might be needed!  You may have seen Lorraine's version of this at (I'm so glad she blogged first as I am less familiar with horse riding terms than she and Jocelyn are, as they both did horse riding).

The day for the Grand Summer Gymkhana dawned bright and warm.  The riders, horses, judges and spectators gathered eagerly, especially as the previously arranged date was rained off in May.

Bobby on Indiana tested out the fences ahead of the main events ...
... while the riders and horses gathered in the holding area
Miranda and her foal watched Bobby
The spectators and judges chatted ...
... as Bobby and Henry continued to walk their horses around the ring
Jocelyn's fence announced the 'Horse Jumping competition'
The prizes were all on display and the competition began
Bobby the Cowboy approached the first fence on Indiana
Bobby cleared the first jump and approached the second as Henry prepared to start
Unfortunately Henry had a disaster with his first jump as Stratford's hooves knocked down the fence however Henry held on tight so he didn't fall.
Henry and Stratford approached the second fence just as Bobby completed the circuit and went to take his bow.
Fortunately Henry and Straford cleared the second fence without mishap and galloped up to the third fence which they jumped over successfully, much to Henry's relief.
Back in the holding area Henry told Stratford how brilliant he was despite the first fence as he felt he rather than Stratford had mistimed the approach so they would work together to improve their jumping.
Meanwhile Nicholas James and Wren reassembled the broken fence
Wren added the finishing touches to make it ready for the next rider
Peggy Sue received encouragement from Alice as she was a little nervous and was feeling self conscious because she didn't have a hat or smart riding clothes, however Alice reassured her that the competition was open to any rider.
Peggy Sue and Pacific Sunrise (Misty) approached the first fence in fine style
They cleared it with ease and galloped up to the second fence
After jumping the second fence they were not daunted by the third fence
Peggy Sue and Pacific Sunrise saluted the judges when they finished their perfect round
The audience including toddler Edmund, Florence and Wren were thoroughly enjoying the competition, Edmund was longing to have a ride but was content for this time to watch the others with the foal beside him.
But what's this? A puppy from the audience was making his way onto the ring ...
... just as Davy on High Steps was lining up for the first fence
Fortunately Davy and his Appaloosa successfully cleared the jump, skirted around the puppy and Wren rushed out to capture the escapee
"I'll have to keep a close eye on you, naughty pup" said Wren has she carried the puppy back to the spectators
Davy and High Steps had no trouble with the second fence 
and the third fence didn't cause them any problems either
Davy and High Steps bowed to the judges
Next it was Laura's turn with Emily, they had plenty of experience and approached the first fence with self assured poise 
As the others in the holding area watched, Laura and Emily lined up for the second fence while they considered their timing for the third as well
A perfect jump and clean approach to the third and highest fence resulted in a successful final jump too
As the audience applauded Laura and Emily saluted the judges
By contrast Flora and her new young horse Rufus were new to the circuit, however they successfully cleared the first jump mainly down to Flora's enthusiastic and positive encouragement of the rather reluctant Rufus
Unfortunately for Flora at the next fence Rufus refused to jump and walked through it instead, knocking down the bar
Flora was relieved that she had remembered to bandage his forelegs before they started so he wasn't hurt by the bar falling
Rufus was also not keen on the third fence especially as it was higher than the others ...
... Rufus shied away and passed the final fence
With a lump in her throat Flora bravely saluted the judges as she completed the round, she knew she had some work to do with Rufus to increase his confidence for higher jumps
The judges  and audience could sense Flora's disappointment as she gave the salute
Davy and Bobby relaxed on the grass with their horses as they watched the competition
Laura and Henry discussed their rounds
Henry and Laura chatted eagerly about the horses as they waited for the next rider
Ella and Snowfall began their round confidently with a good first jump
However they weren't so lucky when they landed after clearing the second fence as poor Ella tumbled from the saddle
"Stop Snowfall!" cried Ella as she started to pull herself up again
The tumble gave both Snowfall and Ella a fright ...
... which meant that when they approached the third fence Snowfall refused to jump
However they made their way to complete the round with a salute to the judges, feeling rather dishevelled and disorientated
"... did you see that? I hope Ella is okay?" said Henry to Laura.  "So do I, I think Ella needs a hug she looks so upset" said Laura and the two friends went to console their friend as she returned with Snowflake to the holding area when the competition finished
Miranda and her foal were not taking part in the competition, as part of her training Miranda showed the foal around the ring.
Wren sat side saddle on Edmund's foal as she watched Miranda
The foal walked with Miranda to the second fence
Trendon Elliott and Alice were deep in conversation and did not pay any attention to Nicholas James who was trying to get them to help him deliberate over the results
Miranda earnestly encouraged the foal to approach the third fence and explained in a friendly voice about jumping.
Wren had aspirations about being a circus rider as she waited for the judging to finish.  Edmund watched her with some amazement.
"Have you decided the results?" asked Miranda
"Yes, I have" said Nicholas James and quietly explained to Miranda, who fully supported his decisions.
Nicholas James called some of the riders and horses to approach him at the trophy table which was brought out into the ring.  "This competition was about participating and enjoying our horses.  You all did well, even if you don't think you did, the most important part was trying your best, working with and encouraging your horse when things went to plan as well as when they didn't.  You all displayed courage and patience, so well done for a great effort - I think this has been a very successful event."
Peggy Sue was amazed when Nicholas James presented Pacific Sunrise with a blue rosette and her with a trophy for doing so well in their first competition.
"For me?" she exclaimed
Emily was soon wearing a pink rosette and Laura graciously accepted the other trophy from Nicholas James for their perfect round
"Thank you" said Laura as she held her trophy
Henry was awarded a medal for completing his round calmly even after the mishap with the first jump.  He was very surprised and thought about what Nicholas James had said in his speech.  He was convinced that Davy and Bobby would have received a medal instead of him, however the medals were not for winners but for encouraging improvement.
Flora received a medal for sportsmanship and enthusiastically encouraging Rufus around the course.  She was amazed and waved excitedly to the crowd.
Flora and Henry with their medals as the Grand Summer Gymkhana came to a close
I would like to thank Lorraine and Jocelyn for inviting me and my younger daughter to participate in the doll horse gymkhana.  We attempted to do this in May however on the chosen day when we met it was clear that the rain would not stop and a large mop and bucket would be needed to make the lawn dry enough to use.  However we used that wet day to plan more features for the event and were eventually able to reassemble in August on a glorious day (though it got breezy which made standing the dolls and horses a challenge for any length of time on the lawn).  I had made the wooden fence in time for the first date, Jocelyn had acquired the highest fence earlier (which I think is what gave them the idea) and on the day we dreamed up the first fence by using Weetabix (later fed to Lorraine's guinea pigs)!

This event was not exclusive to Sasha dolls.  Peggy Sue (Schoenhut), Bobby (Kids 'n Kats) and Wren (Makie) were very welcome and we would have brought some of our modern Gotz dolls and Jakob (Kids 'n Kats) downstairs to join in too (though their riding outfits were borrowed for the Sasha dolls, so they would have been spectators instead) if we had enough seats for them.

The four of us had a lot of fun setting up this scene, taking photos and discussing the next moves before the breeze decided them for us (dry weetabix is lightweight)!  We finished the day with tea and cake.