In addition to hosting our own show a few weekends ago, the western team also hosted a “get to know us” event at Nottawa Paint Horses for all of the non-western members of the equestrian teams and the equestrian club to come check out the place where we train and meet our coach, Denise. A small van-load of club members made the short trip over and we had a nice itinerary of events planned out.
First, Denise gave everyone the official barn tour, taking time to point out specific horses (including Jasper, the baby!) and equipment and then she answered several questions – sometimes at length! For instance, Miranda asked about what to do for a horse with unruly ground manners, so Denise did a quick Parelli longing demonstration and gave her some techniques to try. Then, several of the team members got to try out a few of our better behaved geldings! (See video footage below.)
We warmed the horses up, demonstrating the different gaits and pointing out differences between hunt seat, dressage, and western, and then they all took turns riding. The first remark that most people made was that their stirrups seemed way to long and some had a hard time with the idea of neck reining and executing a spur stop. Overall, I think everyone had fun (I know I did!) and they all enjoyed the chance to learn something new.
Since we had a little extra time at the end, Denise even let me get out her reining horse, Topper, out to do a quick demonstration. Though Denise had pulled her sliding plates off for the winter, she did a great job of demonstrating large fast and slow small circles, rollbacks, and spins. I had a lot of fun showing her off, and everyone thought reining looked really cool – I couldn’t agree more!