Championship Horse Shows on the Web

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The Olympics may be winding down, but August is still a great month for equestrian competitions. Two major American show horse championships are in full swing this week with live pay-per-view webcasts.

But horse show fans without broadband and/or on a budget won’t be left out. Each event offers updates that don’t involve video stream downloads.

On the Saddlebred scene, the World Championship Horse Show, live from the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville, is under way now and runs through Saturday, Aug. 23, when champions are crowned.

But, if you want to get some updates but the idea of a video stream gives you a headache, you can catch up by checking in on the American Saddlebred Horse Association for photos.

Also underway live is the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee. The Celebration’s website has a link to the pay-per-view but also offers results for the videoless.

However, if you can watch video yet you don’t feel like forking over the dough for the Celebration pay-per-view, you can watch daily updates on What A Horse , a cable channel and Internet show about the Tennessee Walking Horse. Usually a paid subscription forum, What A Horse will offer free views of its Celebration updates.

As the horse show center ring announcers often say, “This is your gate call. It’s horse show time.”


Thanks for your patience

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I’m in the process of renovating the site, but it’s a DIY (do-it-yourself) project. I’m learning by doing — and as I go — so the process is slow.

That’s why you don’t see any horse pictures in the header yet, among other things. I’m working my way through the tutorials, which sometimes don’t seem to be in my own language. And I don’t trust myself.

I just barely got my fingers around FTP.

I think I need to hook up that fancy orange Feedburner button, too. Let alone social media. And there are “plug-ins?”

So, thank you for hanging in there while I get my mind around the jargon and decode these tutorials.

Keeping Up with Olympic Equestrian Events

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Just FYI, even if we miss the live online broadcasts of the equestrian events, we can still catch up with what we’ve missed. The equestrian page at NBC Olympics offers both highlights and entire events for playback.

So, if we have time to only watch highlights, we have that option. And, if we can spare an hour or two (sometimes three), we can watch the whole event. And we can pause playback for trips to the home concession stand. 🙂

Again, we need relatively new high-speed computers and Internet service, like broadband, to enjoy the full effect.

The Newbie’s Guide to Watching Dressage

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John Rich/iStockphoto
John Rich/iStockphoto

When you finally know what to look for, watching dressage really is more exciting than watching paint dry.

After all, the casual viewer easily figures out jumping and cross country. In those faster-paced sports, the horse and rider must run an obstacle course faster than anyone else and not touch, let alone knock down, any of the jumps.

But the much quieter sport of dressage looks harder to figure out. At first glance, all we see is a horse and rider team moving across or down an arena. The two don’t seem to be doing anything exciting. And the rider seems to be sitting still, not doing much of anything.

So, how does the horse know what to do? And how do we tell who’s winning?

Making the performance look effortless is the point of dressage. Bottom line? The goal is perfect form between horse and rider.

Dressage is judged subjectively, like gymnastics or figure skating. The horse must show flexibility while moving through its gaits with grace and rhythm. The horse must also demonstrate confidence and trust in the rider through its response to cues that should be imperceptible to observers.

Probably the most accessible dressage event for newbies is the musical freestyle, in which the horse and rider can appear to be dancing to the music.

Most of the work happens before the show in the years of training and conditioning. All of the movements are natural to the horse and done willingly upon request from and under the control of the rider. The horse must feel confident and protected by the rider, whereas the rider needs to anticipate the horse’s reactions to what’s liable to be a new environment for the horse.

The result is a horse that prances, skips, glides and travels sideways, all prompted by the silent cues from the rider.

In some ways, the dance you see in the arena isn’t the only dance that’s there. A lot of dressage involves the dance between minds.

P.S. – Thanks, Marti.