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The D1/D2 Horse Rally

Based on a real story


By: Jennifer E.
Dedicated To: My Horse—KoKo

Chapter 1 - Introduction

It takes a lot of time to prepare for a rally. My neighbor and I practiced every day for this
rally. You have to be able to make your horse walk, trot, canter, and jump. I have to
memorize a dressage test. In a dressage test you have to trot, walk, and canter in certain
places. Dressage shows a horse’s obedience to the rider’s commands. The dressage
arena is twenty meters by forty meters with letters around the outside. The rider
memorizes a dressage test and is judged on how well the horse listens to the rider.

I have to keep my horse in shape for cross-country. Cross-country means that you have to
go a long distance in the woods with lots of jumps. The jumps vary in height by what
level you are in. The levels are D1, D2, D3, C1, C2, C3, B, and A (A being the highest
level.)

I am a D2. I jump jumps that are waist high. I also have to do a stadium course. It
consists of ten to twelve stadium jumps. They must be jumped in the correct order, so I
have to memorize the jump course beforehand. If I jump the wrong jump, I will be
eliminated from this phase of the rally.

To practice, Kelly and I set up jumps and practice jumping at different heights. We
practice having our horse walk, trot, canter, and walk backwards. We riders have to put a
lot of time in, giving our horses commands like turn, walk sideways, slow down, go
faster, and stop. Your position is very important to the horse. Some horses only listen
when the rider is in proper position.

Chapter 2 - Preparation for Rally

I must thoroughly clean my tack. The saddle and bridle must be taken apart completely.
The bit and stirrup irons must be soaked, cleaned, and shined. If Dad doesn’t see, we
sometimes run them through the dishwasher!

All the leather is first scrubbed with saddle soap to remove the dirt. Next, it is
conditioned, then oiled with neatsfoot oil, and finally buffed with a clean cloth.

My horse must be clean. All bot eggs must be removed. His hooves must be neatly
trimmed. Usually I give my horse a bath-not in a bathtub. I use a hose. The mane must
be trimmed neatly. My brush box and brushes must be cleaned. All items must be
labeled with your name, pony club, and competitor number.

Chapter 3-The Rally


It’s four o’clock in the morning. We’re waking up. I’m so tired, as I quickly get dressed.
Down to the barn I go to feed my pony. My Dad is checking the trailer and truck lights to
be sure everything is working. Dad and Mom are busy loading all my equipment into the
back of the truck. We usually take our own water, because sometimes ponies don’t drink
other water. We bring lots of hay along with the horse first aid kit, human first aid kit,
tool kit, tack cleaning kit, water buckets, plus many other items that are listed in the rule
book.

Here I come with KoKo in his halter with lead rope. He’s nice and clean and excited
about going somewhere in the trailer. KoKo leads easily onto the trailer. I tie him using
a quick release knot. We go to pick up Kelly and her horse, Taffy. Taffy and KoKo are
glad to see each other. We’re off to the rally.

We arrive around six o’clock am. The grounds have just opened. We try to find the other
two members of our four-person team. We know that their trailer is blue and their truck
is red. There they are! We introduce ourselves and begin to set up our tack trailer. Our
trailer is being used to tie the horses to. We get out our hay bags and water buckets.

When everything is ready, we unload our horses and tie them to the trailer. Kelly and I
are going to pick up our packet at the registration table. We put on our pinnies, and we
must wear them the entire day. My number is forty-one and Kelly’s is forty-two. The
other two girls are Erin and Christine from another pony club.

We look up our formal inspection and ride times and begin getting ready. We walk the
cross-country course with our instructor and stable manager using the map in our packet.
We talk about which jumps look the hardest and what approach we’ll take.

It’s time to start grooming our horses. The stadium phase is the first event. I am walking
KoKo to the arena. I am getting in line for my formal inspection. The judge inspects my
pony. Next she inspects me. She unbuckles my helmet and checks the label. Now she
puts my helmet back on and buckles it. Ouch! She pinched me!

After ten minutes of warm up, it’s my turn to do the stadium course. Do I remember the
course? There’s #1, #2, #3, #4. There’s jump #12. I got the course. KoKo is ready to
rumble! Here comes #1. I’m scared! I made it! Here comes #2, #3, #4. Oh no #5 is
taller than waist high. KoKo is cantering. His ears are perked up. He is ready to jump.
Whew, we sailed over the jump. KoKo sailed over jumps six through eleven. I am
looking for #12. The leaves are falling, the air is making my eyes water. There is the
jump. Oh no, I’m scared. I can’t make it. It is too high. Ahhhh! “You made it,” Kelly
screamed.

We’re ready for dressage. We enter the dressage ring at a trot and go toward the judge.
We halt and salute. When the judge salutes back we continue. Yes, we did it. I
remembered all the parts of the test and KoKo listened great. The next phase is cross-
country. It’s two hours away. We go back to the trailer and untack.
It’s time to eat now and take the written test. Kelly how do you think you did? I thought
it was hard. Let’s go back and start grooming. I’m up next on cross country. Look at
Christine go. She’s doing good. Her horse hasn’t refused any jumps.

It’s my turn now. We sailed over jumps one through six. Number seven will be the
tough one. It has lots of bright colored flowers. I put on lots of leg to let KoKo know
that I really want him to jump it. Ahhhhhhhhhh we made it! Way to go KoKo. Now just
five more to go. We sailed over the rest with no problem.
Whew! That was fun. Kelly’s up next. Go Kelly!

Chapter 4 – Awards

The scorers are busy on their computers adding up all the team scores. I wonder how we
did. Everyone gets two ribbons, one for the riding part and the other for stable
management. The announcer begins with the last place team. We got first in horse
management and second for the riding. What a day! We met lots of new kids and had a
lot of fun. Now it’s time to pack up all our gear and horses and begin the long drive
home.

The End