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2018 Gathering and Finals “It is a Wrap” by Jenni Grimmett
We are home and the horses are settled into their own beds again after a 10 day trip to Northern California and back for the 2018 Cowboy Dressage World Final Gathering. This was our 5th Final Gathering and they just get better each year. So many amazing things happened at the Ranch Murieta Equestrian Center this year. I’ll try to put into words the magic that goes on each year when we bring together like minded horsemen from across the globe to celebrate soft feel, but if you weren’t there to experience it yourself, there is always a little something loss in the translation. It’s like the difference between being in the audience to watch an amazing freestyle performance and seeing the video of it later. You kind of have to be there to experience the magic.
We arrived on Monday to begin set up and decoration for our barn isle and to allow the horses a day to recover from the 2 day trailer ride. Greeting old friends and meeting new ones as you settle into camp always sets a welcoming tone. I was pleased by how our horses settled right into the calm and relaxed environment. Chico is now a seasoned traveler and campaigner, but Dan’s mare Mia hasn’t been to many shows with us. Because the rest of the horses are happy and settled and quiet, it’s easy for the new horses to settle right in. I know of two young horses that arrived at finals for the very first time this year during one of our busy show days and they walked onto the grounds like there was nothing to worry about. I think it speaks volumes for the calm and relaxing atmosphere that we work so hard to cultivate.
The Cowboy Dressage World Partners work so hard to make this Gathering an event to remember each year. This year we were treated not only to a special lectures on disaster preparedness by Wyatt Paxton and equine behavior by Dr. Robert Miller, DVM. Then after some amazing cupcakes provided by the cupcake wars we were all entertained by 7 time WMA Cowboy Entertainer of the year, Dave Stamey. Dan and I have long been Dave Stamey fans and the opportunity to see him in this intimate private concert setting was so wonderful. Dave is an amazing songwriter capturing the essence of the western spirit with a healthy dose of horseman in there as well. We were thrilled to listen to 2 full sets of Dave and his amazing guitar playing while we all sang along. I could have listened to Dave for hours and it sounds like plans are already in the works to bring him back to see us again next year.
Wednesday kicked off our first day of classes. The office staff, volunteers and gate folks made the running of the show seamless this year. Keeping 5 arenas flowing with tests and happy riders is a feat itself. We had two large warm up arenas in two convenient locations and of course, the atmosphere at each arena remained welcoming and quiet for the horses participating in the show. We had riders in our group in 3 of the 5 arenas keeping us hopping and logging lots of “steps” as we compassed the grounds. No problem there, though as it gave us ample time to mingle and nod and say hello to our friends as we traveled from one end of the grounds to the other.
Wednesday evening was the opening ceremony with all 5 of the Cowboy Dressage Partners welcoming the participants. Aside from having all 5 of the partners mounted to ride into the court, we also featured our fellow Idahoan and veteran Marcia Moore Harrison carrying the American flag for the anthem. Then demo riders showed any newcomers what a test ride might look like in each of the divisions including partnership on the ground.
Thursday evening after a full day of tests we were all entertained by the golf cart competition. I was amazed by the level of participation and the effort that went into the 11 entries. The decorations and enthusiasm displayed by the groups was awesome to see. What I originally thought was going to just be a parade of golf carts turned out to be a driving competition with fun directives such as “Stop at 8 and do the hokey pokey” or “10 m circle working drive”. Many of the entries had folks on foot that followed the cart along. The MM Connection entry featured “Bad” Betty Nagle driving while they blasted “Bad to the Bone” on the boom box. Watching 84 yr young Betty get out and do the hokey pokey while getting tangled in the fake cobwebs decorating the cart had me in tears of laughter. The judges agreed and awarded this cart the award for the evening. Jessica Hutchings entry with the Peter Pan theme was also a crowd favorite. They had all the characters of Peter Pan including Capt. Hook and Wendy with Tinkerbell riding along. The best were the inflatable costumes for the parrot and the crocodile that ran along behind the cart during the test. We were all cracking up watching them try to hoof it behind the cart through the test. The last entry was Australian entry featuring Phil Monaghan at the wheel and Dink riding shotgun. Phil decided to drive the course riding backwards straddling the steering wheel. One minor little wreck and they survived the drive with Dink holding on screaming for her life! It was a great event and I’m sure we will see a repeat of this one with the level of participation and the crowd getting into the act as well. Be planning your golf cart entry for next year!
Friday evening was the final night of musical freestyle performance and for that evening they moved the freestyles from arena 4 to the big arena 1. The acoustics and seating are so much better for the freestyle performances in that arena. There were several excellent freestyles this year that were a pleasure to watch. The quality of the rides continues to improve and this event definitely continues to be a crowd favorite. We had 2 hours of freestyle performances on Friday. It was fun to watch all the performances.
Saturday wrapped up the regular tests and concluded the show as we prepared to watch our Top Riders gun it out in the Top Hand Competition. 11 riders threw their hats in the ring this year allowing all of the preliminary qualifying rides to be showcased during a catered dinner in arena 1. The rides were great and the food was fabulous as we gathered to watch each rider give their best. This test (Challenge WJL Test #2) continues to be a great one to separate the men from the boys and none of the rides were perfect, each rider having a bobble or two on this difficult test. The highlight of the evening for everybody that was in attendance was a moment that I won’t soon forget as it is best example of our Cowboy Dressage Culture and putting the horse first. Phil Monaghan who travels each year from Australia to ride on a borrowed horse with partner Tanja Kraus has been competing in Top Hand since the 2015. Each year Tanja and Phil hop on these horses that they only see once a year to come and compete at the highest level at finals. The horses are used as therapy horses for the rest of the year and have to really step up their game to come and compete not only in Top Hand but in the other upper level tests as well. Phil and his horse, Smoke had had a very good week with some beautiful tests. But as they rode into the court on Saturday it was obvious that Smoke was not as interested in the Top Hand ride as Phil was. Phil attempted to get him back in partnership but after a few maneuvers pulled up and tipped his hat to the judges explaining that his horse wasn’t with him tonight and he was pulling him from the competition. The crowd gave him a standing ovation. The Top Hand Competition is not undertaken lightly. Its expensive to enter and the rides up to that point had not been perfect either. Phil likely could have muscled through and completed the test with no more serious bobbles than some of the other riders had. But, he knew Smoke was tired and had given his all the previous days of the test. He pulled up, took himself out and earned the respect of everybody else there.
When the tests were tallied and scored that night we were left with our Top 5 riders. Jessica Hutchings, Tanja Kraus, Rudy Lara, Heath Parsons and Abigail Miller. As always the switch rides on the mystery test the following day allowed the cream of the crop to rise to the top and after a great ride on both her own mare and the switch horse, Sparkles, owned by Heath, Tanya Kraus of Australia was crowned the victor and Sparkles was awarded the top horse.
After the conclusion of the Top Hand rides the remaining high point and soft feel buckles along with some special awards were given out. I love how the awards in Cowboy Dressage tend to spread out and there were many different faces coming up to receive special recognition for their hard work and achievements. Having the final awards presented on Sunday afternoon allowed for a seamless awards presentation as all of the point tallies were calculated the previous day. This year, the big prize and trophy saddle went to Cherie Cross. After riding right along side of her all week, I can’t think of a more deserving rider. What a beautiful example of soft feel and kindness!
And just like that we are all wrapped up for the year. Rumor has it that CDW has some exciting things in the works already for 2019. As this discipline and family grow each and every year we are so gratified to see that the original vision of a horse community based on kindness and soft feel continues to be strong and protected not only by the Partners guiding this dream but by each of the participants as well. We truly are a family of like-minded horsemen and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of it.
Reflections From Deb and 8
Maria Marriott Photography
I have been pondering the post I would write after our Gathering and Finals. I wanted to say something heartfelt and sincere. Of course there would be all the thank yous, congrats and kudos.
After reading the many posts from others that were there I believe they said it all and said it best.
Kindness, warmth, welcoming, supportive, partnership, sharing, family and fun pretty much sum it up.
Eitan and I wish it will always be this way. You will all have to work hard to keep the integrity of this new discipline, to keep it focused and on track. It is not just the partners task but all of ours. We feel you are up to it and Cowboy Dressage is in good hands. Thank you all for this…. in a lifetime we could not be more honored or proud of so many.
Want to tag Eitan Beth-Halachmy?
Deb and Eitan
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Inside the ‘Listening to the Horse’ Docu-Series
I’m Elaine Heney, a horsewoman from Ireland. I love to spend time with my horses. But I also wanted to be a better horseperson and rider, so I decided to undertake a crazy adventure. I got in contact with 70 of the most remarkable horse people in the world today. Including Mark Rashid, Jim Masterson, Dr. Robert Miller, Jeff Sanders, Steve Halfpenny, Eitan Beth-Halachmy, Lester Buckley, Smokie Brannaman, Carolyn Resnick, Warwick Schiller, Guy McLean, Pat Parelli, Julie Goodnight, Karen Rohlf and many others.
With some incredible stories from these top international clinicians, physiotherapists, vets, equine dentists, natural horsemanship trainers, mindset coaches, and a new documentary ‘Listening to the Horse’ was born.
This documentary covers the whole horses life – including stories and lessons on groundwork, working with young horses and wild horses, ridden work, collection for your horses health, bodywork, animal communication, saddle fit, the riders mind, building trust and confidence, stabling, home environment, building a great relationship with your horse.
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Garn Walker Ready to Take on More CDW for 2019
Garn is looking to expand his Cowboy Dressage Clinics and Teachings. He now has more available time to share his knowledge and expertise. Garn specializes in the amateur and junior students. You can contact Garn at: (530) 305.4341 or Garnwalkerstables@gmail.com
Thought with our friends affected by the No. and So. California Fires
At our 2018 Gathering and Finals Wyatt Paxton gave an excellent lecture on Disaster Preparedness. Little did we know at the time how much his presentation would soon be put to use. It is with a heavy heart that the CDW Partners and all CDW folks send support, prayers, and healing thought to those devastated by these fires. Many CDW friends have lost everything ……. keep them in your hearts and prayers. They need all we can send.
A special Thank You to Wyatt for his help, love and risks he took to help those in need in both the Car Fire and the new Camp Fire that totally wiped out a whole community and city.
Count Your Blessings My Friends…..
This Girl is on Fire!
Lyn and John have been in the land of Down Under (Australia) spreading the joy of Cowboy Dressage World. Lyn was fortunate enough to judge the Australian Gathering and Finals this fall. This is Lyn’s 3rd year teaching in Australia and she says the growth is substantial and the improvement in riders exciting.
Lyn will be hosting a Judge’s Boot Camp in February. If you are interested be sure to sign up. I have attended this clinic and it is fabulous.
Lyn Ringrose-Moe, Cowboy Dressage World Partner, now has a podcast hosted on iTunes! It is called “Keeping Your Horse Dream Alive”. Lyn is interviewed by her student/friend, Joan Denton. They discuss all things that pertain to our journey with our horses. To check this out, click here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/keeping-your-horse-dream-alive/id1440402242
Riding Point with Dr. Karl
Missed the 2018 CDW Gathering and Finals?
Want to relive the event and the fabulous folks that were there?
Visit this FB page for posts and video clips capturing the people and moments.
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CDW Jackets, Vests and T’s for Xmas.
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- Watch for Rule and Test Changes for 2019… all for the better!
- CDWPA… Join for 2019. Be a Part of This “Start Up” Discipline.
Want to be a Cowboy Dressage World professional? Join the cdwpa today!
Conatct Sheryl Strathman firstname.lastname@example.org or https://cowboydressageworld.com/cdw-professionals/about-cdwpa/
- Be Sure to Update the CDW Calendar of Events on the CDW Website.
- Kudos and Winners
Be sure to send your high point show results to Donna Muniz email@example.com for posting on the CDW website.
- Watch for CDW articles in the following Magazines:
- Cowgirl Magazine
- Cowboys and Indians
- Horse Illustrated Nov issue
You can catch up with Cowboy Dressage by reading past Newsletters Click Here to catch up!
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