I have never backed away from an opportunity to see children riding Arabian horses. It’s a real treat to see young ones out there getting their horsemanship confidence up and running.
Words: Kylie Hogan | Photos: Tracey Muller
My boss’ daughter Sienna Alexzander was having riding lessons but didn’t have a horse of her own, so I decided to bring my Arabian gelding Tannamara Montesshah (Tannamara Shahtahn x Tannamara Vitesse), aka Monster, to give her some one-on-one time with a horse of her own at her property. Soon, Sienna gained more and more confidence and we brought over my other Arabian gelding Gamaal (A Jakarta x Gameelah KA exp US) to help her move on to the next level. Sienna was having lessons with both Gamaal and Monster, along with her friend Taelira Bowes.
Just for fun, I suggested the girls may want to have a go and enter the Downs Arabian Club’s Annual Youth & Non-Professional Show that was coming up in a few weeks. My geldings were in paddock condition and a bit woolly, but I knew they would scrub up okay on the day.
Our to-do list included a call out to a few friends to see what horse equipment we could borrow before we went out and spent money. Racheal Spring, Alan and Annemarie Wallen and Deb Watson all came to the rescue with equestrian equipment and assistance. Between these generous people, plus a trip or two to see the girls at a saddlery, we had Monster, Gamaal and the girls kitted out with the gear they needed for their first ridden show.
Next, we were invited to Alan and Annemarie Wallen’s home, where Annemarie taught Sienna and Taelira what to expect in the show ring, about show etiquette and what the judges may say to them. Then there was a trip to Wayne and Miranda Beasley’s property, where the girls and their son Lane were given pointers on how to show the horses in-hand. Quite a challenge for Taelira as Monster has only two speeds – slow and stop!
The day prior to the show the horses were bathed and Sandra Alexzander plaited Gamaal’s mane. Sienna’s father, Tony, was in charge of transport with a 3.30am start to Laidley showgrounds, the spectacular lunar eclipse making the journey a memorable one and perhaps a lucky omen!
I decided the newly crowned ‘show mums’ were going to learn ‘on the fly’ with a quick lesson doing rosettes and hindquarter patterns, while the girls blackened the horses’ feet. Taelira’s mum did a sensational running braid on Monster.
It was quite emotional for the mums to see their girls out there in the ring. The first few classes were at halter and Gamaal thought it was fun to grab the lead as Sienna ran around with him. It was terrific seeing the girls receiving their first blue ribbons while holding onto the leads of Arabian horses.
A quick saddle up followed, and it was on to the ridden classes. The girls had some challenges but by the end of the day horses and riders got it together and each had a neck full of ribbons to take home. Taelira won the 10-13 Years Professional Encouragement Award and Sienna won the Newbie Handler/Rider Award. They are keen for the next show already!
The tutoring, lending of expensive horse equipment plus encouragement from the big-hearted people who rallied around the two girls to help them achieve their equestrian goals was indeed heart-warming. It made me proud to be a member of the Arabian horse scene.