Charm and I love the number 5

It couldn’t have been a more perfect weekend for a horse show. Cool, dry, breezy. Overnight on Thursday it rained probably a couple of inches at the showground, but by the time we arrived on Friday evening the wonderful sand arena had soaked up almost all of it and left us with near-perfect footing. The Rockin’ Riders quadrille team had plenty of time to get into the ring on Friday and get both ourselves and our horses oriented to the space. I will state at this point that Charm behaved perfectly all through the practice, which is something she does not necessarily do in unfamiliar territory.

Saturday morning Charm and I had one class, First Level Test 3, before our quadrille class. Fortunately I have no photos and no video of our First Level test so I do not have to show what a total twit she was. The highlight of her performance was to break from canter to trot (usually the opposite of what she does–she prefers to canter when she’s supposed to trot) and when I asked her to give me the canter again she absolutely refused, and shook her head so violently in protest that the entire running braid fell out of her mane. This was near the end of the test and we looked really dorky coming up the center line for the final salute with 10-inch mane flying out every direction. This performance garnered us a score of 54.412. It also gave us 5th place out of 5 competitors. We’ve been scoring mid-50’s for the past two years, but since we have also been moving up the levels I maintain that getting the same scores when the level of difficulty increases means we are getting better. I did say we love the number 5, right?

I was completely taken aback–not by her behavior or our score, but by the fact that I was certain I had conquered the “mane coming unbraided” quandary. We had done many lessons and practices and the mane had always stayed put. So-o-o-o, before the quadrille I re-braided it after dousing it with probably half a bottle of Quic-Braid, which functions as a sort of glue for obstreperous manes.

Here’s a pic of her about 1/2 way through the quadrille. She can look like a dressage horse when she wants to. The mane is still nicely braided, and stayed that way. And don’t you just love our orange-gold feather boa mane decor?

Just to show that Charm can look pretty good, even with a swishy tail. I’ll just take the high road and assume the tail was blowing in the breeze…also notice our paisley jackets!

Our quadrille music this year was Beatles once again, this time with a Sergeant Pepper theme. Thus the paisley jackets. They’re a short (rideable) version of the popular 60’s Nehru jacket. So, let’s start at the top, shall we?

Nice spacing as we head for the entrance at A. Charm is second, the only chestnut in the group.

The “Chicken Circle”–one of our signature movements. This circle is in the vicinity of 8 meters in diameter. Nice and tight! We come at it from the four corners to the center, hence the “chicken” name.

Charm, just thinking about acting up–watch the tail.

Thar she blows…launching into a canter while everyone else trots.

A closer look at our paisley jackets and the boa mane decor.

We got 73.846 for this performance, our lowest score ever. But, in our defense this is the most advanced quadrille we have ever attempted. The movements are difficult and they come very quickly one after another, making it quite exciting to watch. We will be doing it again in a week and a half and should have some good video to show so you will all believe that I’m not kidding you. Hopefully Charm will be a bit more cooperative since we will be riding on our home turf.



About Alli Farkas

Equine and landscape artist specializing in rural Americana
This entry was posted in dressage, horses, quadrille and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Charm and I love the number 5

  1. anne leueen says:

    Love the yellow manes!


  2. Mares 😉
    We never know what we’re gonna get.
    They break our hearts haha. Well done with the team and OH MY, I need a feather boa!!!
    Go again!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I wonder what was bugging Charm? I guess we all have good days and not-so-good ones….

    Five – “I love the number 5.” – -what a great attitude!!!!!!

    Love the theme, the jackets, manes and the music!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alli Farkas says:

      I’m not a horse psychiatrist, but I can offer the following suggestions as to what was “bugging” her:
      1. She’s the dominant mare in her herd, and when removed from the herd (as for a show) she attempts to dominate the other mare (rider) in her now 2-mare herd. She also thinks she knows the pattern of the riding test better than her rider and likes to anticipate the next move way ahead of time.
      2. As a horse who spends 23 out of 24 hours grazing in a pasture, she does not appreciate being cooped up in a stall overnight. But at a horse show there isn’t much of a choice.
      3. She feeds off the excitement generated by being in a strange place occupied by a bunch of strange people and strange furniture. Although she does not generally shy away from people congregating along the rails to watch the show, she is greatly distracted by them, causing her rider to spend her brain power trying to get her horse’s attention rather than concentrating on the riding itself.
      4. She does not like her mane braided tightly, which in this case was necessary to keep the feather boa in place. I have since experimented with a different braiding technique and think I have found the solution and will hopefully have less head-shaking.
      5. She’s a mare.


  4. Living being – whether horses of humans – are never predictable, are they. Hope you will have fun next time the two of you are going to compete again. 🙂


  5. karinbielefeld says:

    I just read blog. You had me in stitches. Good job all around!!!


  6. Pingback: The long-awaited…2017 Rockin’ Riders Quadrille video | Alli Farkas Artist Adventures

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