I have a new camera lens. A loooong 150-600 Sigma lens. I am not a professional photographer but I decided that I needed a longer lens for the horse competitions .This lens did not involve taking out a mortgage and seemed like a reasonable choice for an amateur. Yesterday was my first day practicing with the lens.
But to fuel up for this mission my husband and I went for lunch at Strathmore Bagels in Wellington. If you are in the vicinity I urge you to try it but remember that they close early at 2pm. Sitting in Strathmore Bagels I always feel like I could walk out the door and be in Manhattan. It has a very New York vibe and I think many of the patrons are Snowbirds from New York.
When we got to the Adequan Global Dressage Festival show grounds I set off with my camera and long lens mounted on a monopod . The thing is heavy! My husband and our little dog went for a walk. I started with taking some shots of the National show warm up ring. Then moved on to the CDI ( Concours Dressage International) warm up ring. These riders were professionals warming up for the Intermediare 1 class. The Inter 1 is what I am hoping to move up to during this show season so I thought it would be a good idea to see it ridden by the pros.
I have seen the Inter 1 many times before but this time I was looking at it thinking about riding it myself. That makes a big difference! The first rider rode a lovely test. But in my mind I was thinking :” Good grief, this is a long test!” and “Holy smokes ,the movements come up so fast.” I decided that I should investigate finding a schooling show to ride in for the first time out with this test.
The next rider was rung out.This means she was disqualified for some reason. In a CDI there are five judges and the judge known as the “President of the Ground Jury” sits at the letter C which is in the middle of the short side at the end of the arena. This judge is the person who must make the decision to stop a test ride and disqualify the horse and rider. This decision can be made if the judge sees blood anywhere on the horse; from a spur mark, in the mouth or on the legs. The judge can also decide the horse is not 100% sound and will ring the bell and then tell the rider why he or she is disqualified. I don’t know what happened and most of the people standing around me did not know either. It was bad luck for this rider.
I went back to the warm up to watch the riders getting ready . It is always an interesting process to observe. You have to know your horse and know how he or she is behaving on the day to calculate what is required for a sufficient warm up. And the warm up can get busy with several horses warming up together. The rules are you must pass left to left and most riders always follow this rule.
I watched the last rider in the Inter 1 class. A very impressive looking horse but he threw in a few moves that were not part of the test. The rider managed to salvage as much as she could but I knew it would affect her score badly. On seeing this I reminded myself that even the most accomplished professional riders and stunning horses can have days when it does not go right in the ring.
I did not stay for the rest of the afternoon having worked in the new lens and calmed myself about the prospect of riding the Inter 1 I felt it was a successful day.