The sky was gloomy and the afternoon threatened thunder showers, but the attitudes of the riders and organisers were sunny at Alzu Weltmeyer Equestrian Club (AWEC) in Alberton, Gauteng. We were there for their Dressage Series 1 Show. I got up that morning full of excitement for I knew that it would be a day of firsts.
IEA Elite Gold Nugget, a rising 10-year-old thoroughbred – one of the loyal school horses at The IEA Elite – would be competing at his first dressage show in three years and that would be in the Adult Novice Training classes. Meanwhile Naledi Kamohi, 12-year-old learner at the IEA Elite, would be competing at her first dressage show on IEA Elite Duchess Jasmine – a lovely little Welsh show pony – in the Junior Prelim classes.
I was first up on Gold, who arrived acting like he thought he was a stallion, but settled into his serious work-mode the instant his bridle was fastened. We gave a happy greeting to the judges. When the bell rang, Gold knew that it was ‘show time’. Both tests felt absolutely brilliant and the IEA Elite learners who came with us to show their support were in awe by the time he stood for his last halt. Gold’s performance, earning a solid 60% for each test, set the stage for Naledi’s ride to follow.
Our team of instructors, groom and learners worked together to get Jasmine ready. She was pretty as a picture as Naledi headed to the warm-up arena. Naledi and Jasmine worked their way around the warm-up arena, getting settled in and finding their pace while waiting for their turn to shine.
In all, 14 riders completed their Prelim tests, most of them adults and a few older teens. Then it was finally time for Naledi. Naledi greeted the judges with excitement; smiling back – they were sent off with an ‘Enjoy your ride’. The bell rang and I called ‘enter in working trot’; Naledi and Jasmine picked up a bold trot which brought smiles to the crowd.
As Naledi hopped off to untack after the second test, the announcement was made:
Naledi Kamohi and IEA Elite Duchess Jasmine, fifth place
I had to repeat the announcement for Naledi to believe it was true. Fifth place for both tests – in the biggest classes of the day, at their first dressage show – is a fantastic achievement!
Everyone went home beaming with pride on successful day out. The IEA Elite has definitely put their foot in the dressage door and look forward to competing in future shows.
By Diane Lutge, Dressage Coach at The IEA Elite