Looking ahead with a long lens.

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.






12 Comments Add yours

  1. Avery says:

    Exciting! Also very smart to watch different advanced riders ride the test. To try and effectively ‘ride the test with them.’ See how they handle different challenges at an upper level. Prepare for the movements. Picture yourself and B there. I have never ridden at such a level, but I imagine it would be a great idea to practice at a schooling show, just as at any level.


    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes it is exciting. I have practiced many sections of the test but when you come to putting it all together, that’s when it gets challenging. Thanks for this supportive comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooooh! New lense!
    I see somebody is going to have some fun!!!
    Any cons against such a lense? Other than size,weight?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Size and weight are the biggest drawbacks. I only got it for taking competition photos. For everything else my 50-200 is fine.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My wrists are simply too puny if it’s too heavy!


        1. anne leueen says:

          You don’t have to worry about that. I mount it on the monopod and then put the lens over my shoulder and use my hand to balance it with the monopod. Does that make sense?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes, very advanced set up 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, this was new information for me. I am glad I got to know about some information about happenings inside the ring! (Agree, We all have kind of a day!)

    The pictures have come up really eye catching. YayY! new lens! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks for the appreciation. Dressage can be a mystery to the viewer so I hope I can shed a bit of light on the process.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pleasure. That was informative! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Alli Farkas says:

    About a year and a half ago I purchased the Tamron version of your 150-600mm lens. It’s the same weight and length as yours, so I can heartily sympathize when you say it’s heavy! However, it really does a super job as long as you’re not inclined to take it on a long hike. Congrats, and enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks for commenting! And you are correct I won’t be taking it on any hikes!


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