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I must admit that, like so many others, I had an image of western riding as all yeehaw, lassos, barrels and skidding stops...and loads, and loads of bling. I am pleased to say how wrong I was.
Here’s my story A few months ago I discovered that my western saddle, bought for a birthday over 20 years ago, fitted my lovely gypsy ‘turbo-cob’ Ziggy. That was the start...
With the encouragement of some friends, who are members of WES, Ziggy and I played around with the feel of the new tack and the different style of going. We then joined in with a couple of local western play-days. Ziggy thoroughly enjoyed this new game, and was immediately relaxed, content and responsive...less turbo-cob, more pinto-pony.
So...Hey Ho, why not??? Grabbing the bull by the horns, I entered the Western Equestrian Society Scottish National Show at the end of September. I also booked into the training Clinic the day before. As Ziggy’s and my first ever pony party, the whole weekend was utterly fantastic. Firstly, on the Clinic day, everyone was so very, very, friendly and encouraging. They were ready with genuinely helpful guidance when I needed it. The horses were all very laid back and settled, giving Ziggy the ‘herd cue’ to relax and be at peace. I, in turn, was able to absorb the jolly atmosphere, and concentrate on learning.
The Show itself was incredible... not one jot of stress, no dramas, or over excitement...just like-minded people enjoying a gentle competitive day with their horses. With plenty of classes, even for beginners and nonmembers, the day was packed with joy, new experiences, laughter, and fun...with a subtle touch of bling here and there.
I need to say that after over 50 years with horses, I have never been to such a relaxed competition. The organisers deserve a huge thank you...and a resounding ‘well done’. Can I also say that, I have never, ever, met such a delightful, generously spirited judge...Scherie’s sheer enthusiasm, and love of the sport, was infectious and inspiring.
To my fellow competitors, watching you ride with easy flow, grace and dignity gave me something to aim for. You have a new member, see you next year. Remember that bull I mentioned earlier, he’s well tamed now...and not a lasso in sight.
Emma Thompson and Ziggy