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Kathy & Greg Lyons are busy working on the first edition of a new annual Morgan magazine (which is due to come out in a month or two). The magazine is a historical journey of the Morgan horse - something readers in Australia have not had before. OGO has the only foals by Cortez to be born this year - anywhere, while he was standing at stud in the States. OGO's next Cortez baby is due in August, then two are due in September and the last to be born in October. Now...here is the latest updates on The Adventures of Cortez!
We've just had the Regional Dressage Championships here in Toowoomba and...nah!!...no first ribbons or prizes, but what a great weekend we had. It was exhausting and exhilarating, as we were living on adrenaline to get all the things done at the right time.
On Friday night, I rode my very first Novice Dressage Freestyle to music. Mt. Tawonga Natasha (otherwise known in EFA circles as Wilga Park Elegance) was feeling high on the atmosphere of the lights and crowds in the big indoor arena. Her ears were pricked and she looked great. However, along with the atmosphere came more energy in Elegance, so it was sometimes difficult to look like we were in harmony with one another. I was trying to waltz and she definitely wanted to quick-step at times. We managed to stay in time with the music and she was so in tune to the whole sequence of events that she knew just when to power across the arena in lengthened canter strides. She was impressive down that center line, as we did our lengthened trot all the way from one end to the other - to halt and salute the judge on the last note of the music!
"Imposing finish!" commented the judge at C.
"Yes!" I thought. All of my supporters were very enthusiastic about it afterwards, so I was on a high for the rest of the evening. We didn't score anywhere near the top, but it was a first and it was fun! I even got a big hug from Grace Pretty, who loves Morgans and would like to have one of her own. The embrace came Saturday as we waited to go to our separate arenas - her to judge, and me to pencil for someone else. She was so excited to see us out there giving it a go on a Morgan.
Mind you, in our tests on Saturday I had to keep half-halting every step down that center line, or across the diagonal, as Elle was still in 'Freestyle' mode. By this afternoon, she was a little tired and prepared to listen to those half-halts and our best score of the weekend was our last Novice test.
Then, the hype continued. Even though I was competing all weekend, we had to have Cortez ready for the Stallion Parade on Saturday evening. Each stallion gets up to 5 minutes in the arena to do 'stuff' while the commentator tells everyone about the stallion. It was organized to happen between the Inter I and the Grand Prix Kurs.
Linda Shore, who is our instructor, horse starter, mentor in all equine things and the organizer of the whole weekend - rode Cortez. She loves him, so...as it is five minutes of 'flash and impress', she desperately wanted to go out and show off his Western training prior to going into the Dressage moves.
She planned to gallop Cortez in and do a sliding stop, as his Western training has been in Reining. Then she planned to throw in some spins, rollbacks and then slip into his Dressage stuff. Greg and I were a tad concerned that he would look very amateurish, if it didn't come off properly. However, we were not prepared to dampen Linda's enthusiasm, so we just let her go for it. We knew her ego would not let her make a fool of herself - or, the horse she had future plans for. She was proudly announcing to anyone who would listen that she was putting her best 17" warmblood mare to him this coming season. Yep! She really likes him...and she breeds warmbloods!
As the other two stallions in the Stallion Presentation were both huge 17++hh, educated to high level Dressage, there was no way to compete against them at that level. So, she determined herself to show just how good Cortez was in his own right. In her organization of the presentation, she planned for Cortez to be the last one into the arena. (good move, I thought.) As we watched with excitement, we saw two magnificent warmblood stallions come into the arena. The did their half-pass and their pirouettes...and then piaffe...and passage...and it was impressive! Each one received their applause as they left the arena. And then...
To the music of Mustering the Colts from The Man From Snowy River...in gallops RanchBoss Cortez...to do a magnificent sliding stop! Cat calls, whistles and whoops from parts of the crowd followed. How cool, I thought! Linda then proceeded to take Cortez through some moves. His 'spins' were not fast, but nothing to be embarrassed about and he showed his paces off to perfection.. He had wonderful movement. Linda commented later, that she found Dressage moves that she didn't know he had! She just felt he was right for it and did them. Linda, herself, is an FEI rider, so knows the moves inside and out.
The big crowd-stopper that mad people suck in their breath was when she was cantering around the arena and then just let go of the reins. With the buckle of the rein sitting on his wither and reins swinging loose, one hand at her side and the other sorting out a stray hair from under her helmet, she cantered a 20 meter circle on him! No hands...what-so-ever! He did not change frame or rhythm for even one stride. He was the highlight of the night.
He certainly showed his magnificent temperament and his great paces. A heap more people know about Morgans now. I had someone ask about his service fee, as he was leaving the arena! That's gotta be good. One of my biggest fears was that Cortez would be dwarfed and fade into insignificance with the two magnificent warmblood stallions there beside him. For Dressage people it was Jaybee Alabaster and A'Seduction - two beautiful stallions. When they all came back into the arena together, he came out in between both of them. To my very pleasant surprise...his movement was just as impressive as theirs! He had the same action and he did not look out of place at all! He did us proud.
We had a tiring - but fun and fabulous weekend.
Greg & Kathy Lyons
Wilga Park Morgans
8A Junction Drive
Gowrie Heights Qld 4352
Phone: 07 4630 7544
International Phone: 61 7 4630 7544
Mobile: 0438 463 075