Recording my videos for the WDAI Battle of the Saddles (BOSS) show seemed so easy. “Team Blondie” (me, my husband, and Heidi Lemack) had the indoor arena set up for the small ring with just the right amount of lighting to do WDAA Intro Tests 3 and 4. The tripod that held my iPhone in horizontal mode was parked at C to catch every movement, including the equipment and bit check after each test.
The tests were recorded, submitted, judged, and placed. Blondie and I surprisingly did quite well placing third and second respectively despite a few flaws in the tests. Easy. I expected the same when recording my tests for the World Show.
The day that we chose to record was a perfect September afternoon. The arena and tripod were set up again for Tests 3 and 4, as well for the Amateur Horsemanship class. Since it was the world show, I chose two outfits to ride in (hold my tiara please!). For my horsemanship pattern, I went with a conservative look of a Hobby Horse western blouse and black chaps. For the Intro Tests, I went all out in a cream sequenced jacket and matching cream-colored chaps to compliment my palomino. A Western Dressage Queen dressed to kill (hah!).
We did two takes for the horsemanship pattern because the lighting was a little dark in spots. A quick wardrobe change and onto Test 3. Blondie’s back was nice and loose as we moved through the test, however, as I was doing my free walk across the diagonal, dirt flew into my right contact lens causing me to blink too hard and move the lens off the center of my eye. The next move was to halt at A for four seconds. I THOUGHT I was at A, but the camera tells a different story. DANG!!
I managed to get the lens back in place after the bit check, which Blondie, who has quite a sense of humor, refused to let go of the bit. This is no time to play tuggy, horse! Contact lens in place, cream-colored chaps dusted off. Time to record Test 4. Unfortunately, Blondie started to lose steam after the first salute and the test was not as good as the first. In fact, my centerlines were a hot mess!

Since it’s the world show, with 123 entries in Test 3 and 96 entries in Test 4, I wanted to redo at least Test 4. However, scheduling the ring during the height of the Fall show season was hard. I tried again the following Sunday afternoon, recruiting Heidi and her mom to be my camera crew. We managed to redo the horsemanship but had to put off recording test 4 because the barn was busy and people were waiting to ride. A weeknight would be better.
During the following week, I asked my husband to come out to the barn after we logged off from work and record Test 4 one more time. Blondie, who is usually the Felix Unger of horses, decided to get dirty that day. Great! Now I have to do hair and makeup on him too. And to top it off, the bottoms of my cream-colored chaps were dirty as well. My conservative horsemanship outfit suddenly looked pretty good and became my choice for Test 4.

By 7:30 pm we were ready. I managed to get enough energy out of a sleepy Blondie to get the test done. There were some flaws, but nothing glaring so when I got home that night I uploaded it along with the last horsemanship test and well as the original Test 3 because despite stopping too soon before A, Blondie was happy and relaxed during that test and it would be a shame not to use it.All 3 videos were accepted and now the wait to be judged.

The 2020 WORLD SHOW IS NOW TRULY A WORLD SHOW. When the WDAA announced that Phase 2 (video submissions) were now closed, the 16 judges would have two weeks to judge over 1000 tests. Yes, you read that right, over 1000 tests! Riders from all over the U.S. (including Hawaii), Canada, and Sweden had entered. This truly was a world show and I jumped in a big pond to swim in. (I may need a life preserver.) The scores would be emailed and posted by November 10th followed by a ZOOM awards ceremony on Saturday, November 14th at 8 pm.

Ever since it was announced that the World Show was going virtual, the WDAA Social Coral has been buzzing with excitement. For many, including myself, it was a dream come true as we all shared our thoughts and information about recording equipment, arena measurements, legal bits, attire, etc.
The most popular conversations were about the mishaps that happened while recording the tests. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one having issues. Many of the riders had to schedule or rent their arena time to ride, even if it meant high winds, a pop-up thunderstorm, wildlife running near the ring, and domestic pets entering the ring while the tests were being recorded.
Cindy Butler, the President of the WDAA, joined the conversation and thought it would be fun to have a bloopers reel contest. The person with 100 “likes” or more would win a special prize.
I quickly made a bloopers video that I thought was pretty funny and posted it on the WDAA page. However, it was nowhere near as funny as a woman from Canada who used Tic Toc for some of her clips. It’s downright hysterical!

All in all, I’m glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone for this experience. It has been a lot of fun. Thank you WDAA for doing a pivot and allowing the World Show to happen. Special thank you to “World Show Team Blondie” (Willie, Heidi, Bernice, and Jason) for your help and patience. I don’t know how I will fare against such stiff competition, but it’s been a great experience and a dream come true.

Submitted by Joann Sarni on 10/23/2020

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