Wagin Gymkhanarama

This weekend Andrew was invited to judge at the Wagin Gymkhanarama. We had never been before and since we had nothing else in the diary, we both headed down. Andrew would have 2 days of show jumping classes and I entered to do jumping and dressage with Coolie. I had wondered about entering Henry too, but as it was a venue I'd not been to before, and I would be on my own I erred on the side of caution and didn't enter him.

We headed down after work on Friday, and arrived in the dark. it took us a while to work out where we needed to be but we made it and settled in for the night. Saturday we were up early after a not so great sleep. After taking care of the horses we headed over to the office to get signed in and for Andrew to get the run down on all the official, super important judging stuff.
This ram is 9x the size of an actual ram

I had to marshall for the show jumping first thing, which was a good way to get to know a lot of the local riders. Everyone was so friendly and supportive of one another. I had thought I would get a bit bored and lonely over the weekend with Andrew judging and us not know anyone else down there but I needn't have worried, I spent all weekend chatting to everyone!

After my duty was done I raced to get ready. I had just over an hour to plait, stud, tack up, change clothes, walk the course and warm up for my first class. It was tight for time but I made it! I think I set a plaiting record, I managed it in 20 minutes. I grabbed my dressage bridle to take with us, because there would be no time to go back to the float to change tack between jumping and dressage.

Coolie was full of it while we were warming up, it was quite a spooky place to compete with lots going on plus he was feeling extra fresh from a day off. He felt great over the fences though and our first class, 80cm we jumped clear to place first. I was pleased I had studded as the grass was slippery and Coolie felt much more secure with the studs in.

After our round, I stripped his boots, changed his bridle and removed his breastplate and headed over to do my first dressage test. Coolie was still in jumping mode but I managed to convince him to get his twinkle toes out and we had a reasonable dressage test. Then it was right back over to show jumping to walk my next course. Thankfully Andrew held Coolie while I did the course walk and helped me change my gear back over.

We had one rail in the 90cm, just tapping the pole to fall down. Somehow we still managed to secure the win, so got to lead the lap of honour again! Then we had a break for lunch before tacking back up for our second dressage test.

My novice test felt ok, nothing too bad overall but he could have been more on my aides. I was happy with the test. The event was live scoring, so I got an email with my dressage score soon after my test. Both tests scored really well, but I didn't know my placings until I went to the office to collect my tests. You could have knocked me down with a feather, I won my first test and placed second in the second test!

My friend is a teacher in the area so she met us after we were done for the day and we had a very civilised dinner in the pub. It was lovely to catch up with her!

Sunday was another early start, though a less hectic day. Coolie and I were both tired but pumped for our first round of show jumping. The classes on Sunday were different to the classes we usually do. Our first round was 2 phase, the first par t of the course you have to jump clear, then the second part you go for speed. Unfortunately I took the first jump, I shortened my reins too much and we pulled the first rail. We didn't get to do the fast bit!

Once again I changed my tack to be dressage legal and did my first test. I didn't feel it was as together at Saturdays tests but it was reasonable for Coolie who was still in jumping mode. Our performance wasn't too shabby though and we placed second in the class. Back to the show jumping, we were now onto top score.

Rather than a set course, each jump has points allocated to it and you have to get the highest number of points, if you knock a pole you don't get the points, and there is a joker fence that is worth 200 points, but if you knock it you get 200 points off your score. I planned my course and went in having  a vague idea which fences I wanted to jump in what order. I rode forward and we were clear, even jumping the joker with no issues! Unfortunately I was a bit too ambitious and lined the joker up a second time, bypassing a number of other fences on my way through, but the time was up and I threw away some extra points with my ambition.

My third jumping class of the day was one I hadn't planned to enter because frankly I ride terribly when the fences go up to 105. I was having so much fun I decided to push myself. By this point we were both a bit tired, but Coolie put in a good effort, and I tried my best and I rode forward! We had a handful of rails but we came out smiling and that's most important. We placed in all our classes too!

By this point we had been up on the oval for over 3 hours. I had a bit of time before my final dressage test so stripped Coolies tack, made sure he had a big drink and fed him a lot of carrots. I don't think I was popular when I put his saddle back on for our last class of the day! I kept the warm up light and just tuned up our leg yields and transitions then went in. Overall the test was ok, better than our one earlier int he day but no as good as Saturdays. I was happy with it though, and pleased with the consistency we had shown over the weekend. I feel like we have made some serious progress! we finished 3rd.

Finally we were done, and we packed up while we waited for the final presentations. I had won some vouchers to spend so browsed the trade stalls about bought a pair of white jumping boots for Henry and a muck fork (so exciting!) then the presentations started.

Dressage had a high point champion for each level. I had placed well in all my classes so was eligible. Well, we won for the preliminary!! It was such a great moment and proved how far we have come this year!
Poor fellow was OVER my shit at this point!
This was a super fun show. Being so busy meant that I didn't have time to feel nervous, over analyse or pick apart my riding. I just got on with it and had fun! Coolie was such a good boy all weekend and showed just how versatile he can be. I am so proud of him.


  1. wow what a weekend, and so many great classes and excellent ribbons!!! congrats!! i think charlie would murder me if i tried to make him do a dressage test after jumping haha, but seems like Coolie took it all in stride! nice job!

    1. Thanks! I had no idea how Coolie would do, but I think in some ways it was better, he was really in front of my leg. Thankfully he knows his job so was pretty willing but it would be really hard for some horses.


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