Saturday, 29 August 2015

The Grand Summer Gymkhana

Yesterday was the event that they had all been waiting for.  The Grand Summer Gymkhana Event!  Everyone was very excited... 

...the riders gathered in the holding area.

Left to right:  Flora on Rufus, Ella on Snowfall, Wee Edith of Sparks Flying, Davy on High STeps, Peggy Sue on Pacific Sunrise.

The audience and judges were ready...

From left to right we have Reuben who is watching over Edmund, Florence is relaxing back in her chair enjoying the sunshine.  Nicholas James with Wren standing in front and Trendon Elliott.  Miranda has brought her young foal for the day to get it used to such events.

Bobby walks Indiana round the ring with Henry following.

Once all the riders have completed a walk around and warm up the show begins.

Bobby is first up and approaches the first jump fearlessly and full of confidence.

Indie is bold

First jump cleared they make their way to the fence

The audience and judges watch enraptured as this young cowboy approaches the fence  which he clears without any problem

The next fence is also cleared.

Henry gathers his thoughts before approaching the show ring.

He waits his turn.

Oh dear, it seems Stratford knocked the first fence...

Henry almost takes a topple, but fortunately manages to stay on.

Nicholas James helps Wren put the fence back up.

Meanwhile Henry bravely continues round the ring.

As he approaches the second fence, Bobby is completing his circuit.

Fence rebuilt - Nicholas James stands back to watch Wren tidy up the  corner.

Henry clears the third fence successfully.

He completes the circuit pleased that he didn't fall off, even though he was disappointed they knocked the first jump.

Alice gives Peggy Sue a pep talk...

You can do it she tells her.... and explains, that just because she doesn't have all the 'proper' gear, it doesn't matter, it is how you compete that counts.

Peggy Sue approaches the first fence on Pacific Sunrise - whom she calls 'Misty'' for short after one of her favourite horse books.

She leans forward slightly looking over the first fence and towards the second as she has been taught to do.

She approaches the fence...

...clears it and is on to the second fence.

With lots of concentration...

Peggy Sue and Pacific Sunrise are almost up and over...

The audience watch with bated breath.

She cleared it with finesse, makes the approach to the third fence perfectly..

She lines her horse up...

Almost there....

...with a little encouragement....

Peggy Sue and her trusty pony make it safely over the next fence.

They complete the round with a bow and salute to the judges.

Nods of encouragement and approval from those watching.

Peggy Sue hops off Misty...

...pats her and tells her how well she did.

Henry is praising Stratford - even though a fence was knocked down, Henry realises it was probably his fault, and something he needs to work on with Stratford.

He does some 'horse whispering' as he has seen at the movies.

The children all love their horses and know that a good relationship with them is paramount to not only success but also to mutual enjoyment, respect and love.

Next up we have Davy on his trusty Appaloosa 'High Steps'

He approaches the first fence

with complete confidence as only a young cowboy is capable was seen with Bobby who was the first to complete the circuit.

Quick!  Someone needs to get that puppy off the field!

Wren rushes to the rescue

and carries the puppy to safety so Davy can approach the second fence safely.

Wren sits with the puppy on her lap to keep him from any further trouble.

Fortunately Davy cleared the second fence without any mishap.

He approaches the third

...lines up beautifully.

...makes it safely over...

..and completes the round with his salute/bow to the judges. 

Laura, complete in her full show refinery on her beautiful horse Emily is ready to commence her round

Both Laura and Emily have much experience in the show round, and Emily is already looking ahead at the next fence with a certain intelligence in her eyes. She knows just what Laura expects of her.

Naturally they make the first fence with no problem and approaching the second fence, Emily again is ahead of the game and already looking towards the third.

They approach the third with experienced confidence

The audience and judges watch with their complete attention at this well executed round.

Laura is in deep concentration.

The round of course is completed beautifully and horse and rider stop beautifully for the judges.

Next up is the ever so enthusiastic rider Flroa on Rufus her new young horse.

They approach the first fence...

Rufus is really not sure about it and eyes it warily to start with...

Flora fears that Rufus is going to refuse it...but to everyone's surprise, Rufus takes the jump boldly.

However, the next jump wasn't so successful.....

Rufus knocks the bar off the fence

and ploughs straight through the fence.

Flora utters words of encouragement....she knows her horse is young and inexperienced and she is glad she put the bandages on his forelegs to avoid any injuries.  

They approach the third fence but look like they are going to miss it...

Sure enough Rufus shies...

...and passes the fence completely.

Despite the round,Flora bravely brings Rufus to a halt before the judges to complete her round.

Davy and Bobby chat in the sunshine, the boys and their horses are very relaxed.

Henry and Laura chat about their rounds and horses and have a general catch up with each other.

Ready to begin her round is Ella on Snowfall

The approach the first fence with confidence and clear it beautifully.

They continue round to the second fence....

Uh oh, although they cleared the fence, Ella takes a topple

Stop Snowfall!

Fortunately Snowfall stops, just after the jump and Ella bravely gets back on her horse.

They approach the final fence...

...but it appears both horse and rider are shook up about the fall and Snowflake refuses to jump.

Ella bravely finishes....

...holding back her tears, as she was so hopeful.

Henry points towards poor Ella....

...did you see that?  He asks Laura.  I do hope Ella is okay?

With the main competitors having completed their rounds Miranda takes the opportunity to lead her young foal round the ring.

The intention is to get the foal used to seeing such objects and also to wearing a saddle.

As she shows the foal the fences, Miranda talks quietly uttering words of reassurance

She is very dedicated to the training of her foal.

Meanwhile Wren has taken to sitting on the pony while the audience and judges confer.  
Nicholas James is trying to get Trendon Elliott and Alice to help with the decision making process...but seems they are deep in conversation about other things.

No interrupting them!

Meanwhile Miranda continues to lead her young pony round the ring.

She shows that there is nothing to be afraid of.  She knows that if she shows confidence then that will give her pony confidence as they can sense how you feel.

While waiting for the judge, Reuben watches on as Wren gets up to some hi jinks on the pony.  Florence is relaxing in the sunshine next to Edmund, the very well behaved toddler. They are looking forward to the award ceremony.

Once completely she comes over to see if Nicholas James has made a decision.  He has.

Nicholas James stands beside the table with the rosettes, trophies and medals on and gives a short speech about the success of the day and the courage and enthusiasm of all the riders.

Much to her complete surprise Nicholas James approaches her with a trophy in his hand.

She is completely shocked.  'For me?'  She gasps.

Indeed. Nicholas James replied.

Peggy Sue is completely overwhelmed.  She thought because she didn't have all the posh gear that she had no chance.  Nicholas James explains that it isn't always about what you have, but what you can do, and that she showed just what was needed to be a successful horse rider.

She still can't quite believe it.  It is not often one sees Peggy Sue speechless...but this was definitely one of those times!

Nicholas James goes and picks up the next trophy and rosette

The next prize winner was no surprise as it was of course the experienced Laura on her graceful horse Emily.  Nicholas James pins the rosette on to Emily's bridle.

He presents the trophy to Laura

Who accepts it graciously.

To the surprise of the audience two other riders were called forward for awards....

Henry is not sure why he and Flora were called forward as he knew neither of them had performed perfectly.  But it seems this show was all about encouragement and praising achievements.

Flora was awarded a medal for her sportsmanship and enthusiasm on her new inexperienced horse Rufus.  Henry was also award a medal for the way he completed his round.  

Flora is very surprised and excited.

Henry is very proud.  

The winners line up.

They are all proud of their achievements and those of their friends.


Peggy Sue and Henry proudly pose with their prizes.

A very wonderful day was had with great friends and good company.

They pack up their tack, groom their horses and head home, tired and exhausted after a very busy day.

Davy, Ella, Flora and Wee Edith's person is Jocelyn.
Laura, Miranda, Nicholas James, Florence, Reuben, Trendon Elliott, Edmund, Leo and Mabel's persons are DollMum and DollMum's daughter.


  1. A fantastic day - congratulations to the organiser and photographer!

    1. Thank you - it was a joint effort organising it, although thanks have to go to DollMum for hosting it at her place and giving us a wonderful lunch! The photographer (aka me) says many thanks!

  2. How I enjoyed this post! What a wonderful day you had. The action was such fun to follow. Thank you for documenting and sharing it. Congratulations to Peggy Sue and all the others who rode,

    1. So glad you enjoyed this post, it was a really fun day and some laughs were had and I enjoyed putting the post together.

  3. What a wonderful afternoon you all had ! And so much work must have gone into such a spectacular event. Well done everyone and thank you for letting us all join in !! xx

    1. A lot of work indeed! So glad you enjoyed it Linda.

  4. Great work! Going to make a book of it?

    1. Probably Tom, although I can't use the photos straight from here as they have all been edited to a smaller size for ease of uploading and reading. It took me hours this morning!

  5. Fabulous! I felt like I was at a real horse show, and yes, it would make a wonderful book! congrats to you and to Dollmum. Norvell

  6. I enjoyed this story very much! Applause for Ella for being so brave, and for all the contestants! And for Peggy Sue and Henry of course, such an encouragement is always great! The photos are beautiful Serenata, great job!!!

    1. So glad you enjoyed this post - it really was a fun day, so hopefully that was portrayed. :-) Encouragement is always good.

  7. I am so pleased you have blogged first as I don't know all the horse terminology like you and Jocelyn so this will help when I get to my photos and blog post. we had such fun yesterday with this story and I am glad that this time the weather allowed the gymkhana to go ahead, unlike our previous attempt in May when it poured all day.

    1. We were lucky with the weather weren't we? A day before or later and it wouldn't have happened again. Such fun it was. We will have to make it a yearly event!

    2. Yes, the lawn is very soggy again today and I think will be tomorrow too.

  8. Love it!

    All those horses! :)

    1. Great fun, got to love horses, brought back some great memories of my pony club years.

  9. Being a lover of horses and coming from a 'horsey' family (each of us being lucky enough to have had our own horse/pony and taken part in gymkhanas/shows etc) I and my Sasha Brood were delighted with this very entertaining post.... especially as earlier this month my Brood had actually been given their very own ‘Our Generation’ horse.
    Superb variety of horses/ponies on show. (This, had it been shown earlier, would have been a great help to us in choosing ours, not to mention the fact that we would have loved to have joined you all!)

    We had to smile at the first jump made from Weetabix biscuits! Very inventive indeed! It looked so realistic as a jump made from stacked hay bales. (The other two remaining jumps were very true to life too.)
    Loved the setting (fab. planting and well cared for lawn) and the spectators sitting enjoying the show in the sunshine. Particularly liked that metal/nylon folding chair.

    PS. Must add that Little Laura was excellently turned out for this event.

    1. Wasn't the Weetabix jump innovative?! ;-) That was DollMum's great idea. We had such a fun day indeed. It reminded me of my pony clubbing days as well as when I lived and worked on an Appaloosa Stud times indeed. It is hard to believe it was so long ago now. Great fun reliving some of those experiences through the fun of the dolls, horses and great friends.

      Wasn't Laura turned out beautifully indeed? My lot have asked for me to make them some 'proper' horse riding gear! There have been orders for jodphurs, shirts and riding jackets.

    2. well you've got a year before the next gymkhana to satisfy their needs for 'proper' horse riding gear. Peggy Sue will be pleased if you can find her some black boots to fit her tiny feet.

  10. Wasn't it amazing that every single one of the horses owned by Lorraine, Jocelyn and my daughter are all different.

  11. Thanks again, Lorraine, for a great story and photos! Once again you made my day. Loved the horses and their riders and the audience too. I look forward to your next creative posting. Thanks. Millie

  12. Lorraine, Doll Mom and Jocelyn, Thank you so much for all the work you did. I enjoyed it very much :) Carole L in MA


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