Left home around 8am for Karen’s first Equestrian event today at Jamhuri Park, Nairobi, Kenya. I may have been as nervous and excited as Karen.
The traffic was just awful! We took a bypass that is being created on that side of the city. It did save us a lot of time, although we did have to dodge many large stones, raised lots of dust, were amazed at the steep ups and downs of the road, and had to put it in 4 wheel drive once to get up over the edge onto the road going parallel and push our way through the car to car traffic at the top going in a different direction, in order to continue on our way
After about 45 min. we pulled into the entrance of Jamhuri Park, assured the gate guards we knew where to go, and proceeded to get lost. I had a hand drawn map, but it was missing the first turn.
Jamhuri Park appeared to be a huge complex with lots of overgrown grass, many buildings badly in need of paint, lots of little roads, but nothing that assured us there really was a
horse competition in this park. We stopped to ask a lonely soul walking by the road two times, the first time the person pointed us in the right direction, the second person we asked didn’t know anything about a horse event. Finally, the third person got us back on the right path, and then, there we were! The horse equestrian center!
We sat and watched other riders do some jumping events for a while and then checked in on Karen’s horse, Sololo. Sololo was in the beginning stages of being groomed for his events with Karen. First stop, the salon. Sololo was
not happy with all the hair care, but by the end was looking very smart in his braids and soft coat.
The sun was hot, a beautiful day. Karen’s required outfit was hot as well. She looked great, but had to sweat it out. Black boots, light colored English style riding pants, a white shirt with purple striped tie, a jacket of brown with horse club pin, a protective vest, a helmet, and gloves.
First event was First Off Leading Rein. All riders were together in the ring and showed their riding position, a variety of strides, and control of the horse. Karen did very well and came away with a third place finish!
Then she performed in a Dressage Combined Training event. This is when she walks the horse into the arena, stops and salutes the judge, and then performs a variety of walks, trots, and turns while her trainer calls them out for her. It takes a few minutes to complete the event, and once again, Karen did a great job! We won’t know results until tomorrow, but from my view she “kicked butt”!
Then a bit later it was time to compete in the 70cm jumping competition. It was fun to hear the announcer call out Karen’s name as the next competitor. Karen and Sololo began the first jump with nice clearance and advanced to the second of nine jumps.
Sololo veered off to the side just before the second jump, however, so Karen took her back around to try again. (A rider is allowed to try a jump up to three times.) Karen and Sololo were making nice speed this second time and it looked like smooth sailing ahead……but Sololo put on the brakes at the last second this time and Karen slid up and over the other side, landing gracefully on her feet. Because Karen came off the horse she was disqualified from the event. This was frustrating, but not much you can do when the rather large animal you are riding decides they don’t want to do something. 🙂 We are proud of Karen all the same.
So, back we go tomorrow to see how it goes for her last event in the competition, 80cm jumping. We leave the house around 7:15am for her 9am event.
I am excited all over again! Go Karen and Sololo!