Back in early spring four of us formed a dressage quadrille team. We had never done this before, and it was “fraught”! I had just acquired my new mare, Charm, and she was not fond of drill team-style riding. Didn’t like other horses coming at her. Didn’t like being squashed among three other horses. Expressed her opinion by bucking, snarking, weaving, snapping, tail swishing, ear pinning and any other number of horsey rebellion tactics. Another horse was intermittently lame (read: of uncertain status to guarantee appearance at a horse show). A third (another mare) decided that this was the year she would be in heat about every other week. Which meant she preferred to stop every other minute to pee whether she was part of the quadrille or not. Can’t have that happening in a show! The fourth horse was a pretty good egg. Thankfully.
Here’s a pic of the former trouble maker this past Sunday at the Willow Tree show where we (now known as the “Rockin’ Riders”) presented our debut performance of our quadrille. She doesn’t look like a trouble maker because miraculously in the last week before the show she decided to get with the program.
For the quadrille our leader chose 50’s rock and roll for music and poodle skirts for a costume. There was some doubt at first about the poodle skirts but they too miraculously turned out to be perfect for the theme. The class we entered was an “anything goes freestyle”, which meant that we could come up with the most creative costumes we could imagine and that we also could create our own choreography rather than following the patterns of a standard dressage test. We worked on costumes and choreography pretty much up to the last minute with the thought always in the back of our minds that we would muff the timing or the horses would help us mess up if we weren’t capable of messing up by ourselves! But the miracles continued, and on Saturday we had a near perfect performance and got a score of 80%! Here’s a little sampling of what we looked like–
These photos are from Sunday’s performance which, while good, had a couple of bobbles in it and lowered our score by about 4 points. But that didn’t matter because all of our months of hard work and pain and frustration paid off when everything came together in the end way beyond our wildest expectations. 80%–that’s practically unheard of! When the judge stands up and laughs and smiles and claps for you (two judges–a different one each day) you know you got something right!
If you feel inspired to watch the whole thing, you can entertain yourself here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRT22NAlhl0