With nearly all travel-to shows being cancelled across the globe for equestrians, it seems the only way for these folks to get their competition fix is online, provided their barn hasn’t shut down due to the virus.
Virtual horse shows aren’t a foreign concept – they’ve actually been around for several years now. They are, however, rising to prominence in this unprecedented time.
For Hank and I, this gives us an opportunity to try new things, like Western Dressage, form the comfort of our home barn/arena. (Although, we can only go up to Basic level tests, as our arena’s max size is 20x40m – we would need 20x60m to progress up to First level.)
All in all, it’s not a bad way to show, especially given the circumstances. The worst thing is that you don;t have the instant gratification of receiving your placings and winnings instantly. It is a bit nerve-wracking waiting several days to several weeks for results.
On the plus side, it doesn’t sap away as much time as an actual show would. A typical show for Hank and I would last anywhere from 5 hrs (6 or 7 classes) to nearly all day (10+ classes).
In 3 hrs one Saturday afternoon, we were able to film 13 classes across 3 different shows, and that includes setting up and taking down patterns and obstacles, plus a couple of practice runs and reshots when things went wrong (like our cowboy curtain getting caught on Hank’s bridle and dragging along behind us).
I’ve gotta admit that through my own bullheadedness and good fortune, I have nearly everything needed for setting up trail courses and showmanship/horsemanship patterns. Gotta have something to use to practice in between shows, right?
It’s an odd world we live in right now. To cope and bring a sense of normalcy back, some folks have taken to meditating, some to art (which I sorely need to do), others to binging shows on streaming services. I’m building my horse’s skills and my own – and hopefully we’ll get a ribbon or two in the process.