Yesterday, Hannah and I met up to spectate at the GMHA Sleigh Rally. We weren't sure what we were getting into - other than a stated goal of seeing some cool sleigh driving - but it was an incredibly special day. We saw most of the classes through the day, and I couldn't stop staring at the gorgeous horses, gorgeous sleighs, and seriously fancy outfits. I remain a bit mystified at what they were judging - class list is here, if you're interested - but it was cool to see. Some basics carry over across sport: even driving horses ran the gamut of engaged, obedient, coming through their back, etc. Some things confused me a great deal.
In short: amazing day. If you are even remotely close to GMHA - and we met people who drove 3+ hours to spectate - I can't recommend it enough. We even got lucky with the weather: sunny, clear, and no wind, comfortable weather to stand outside for 4-5 hours even if it was in the high teens/low 20s.
On to the pictures!
The last of the light. Note Hannah taking video in the middle ground.
The streams at GMHA are pretty even in the winter.
I don't know if the above picture really captures the utter gorgeousness of that particular sleigh, and how seriously fancy the horse was with his matching not-quite-quarter sheet.
I was absolutely enthralled by the way the trailers had been modified to hold carriages and sleighs. Every one was different.
This pony's name was Mr. Wee. I am so not making that up.
Look closely. Yes, yes that is a greyhound in a top hat and Baker sheet rocking the sleigh dog class.
These guys came out of nowhere and absolutely crushed the Currier & Ives class. There were audible gasps in the crowd when they drove over from their trailer to enter the class. It was the only class they did all day, I think. They clearly came to win!
This pony's name was Edward. Look closely. There is a Corgi wearing a scarf in the sleigh.
Later, when they came back in from the cross country pace, the driver pulled him to a halt and announced loudly "That was so much fun! This is the best pony ever! I have to get out and hug him!" And so she leapt out of the sleigh and gave him a huge hug. It. was. adorable.
GO MR. WEE GO. That quarter sheet was about the size of a regular horse saddle pad.
Go and check out Hannah's blog for more photos and a video. Joan of FlatlandsFoto was there, too, and I'm sure she'll post some gorgeous stuff, so if you don't follow her on Facebook you should do so.