RanchBoss Cortez – in the Stallion Parade

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…

RanchBoss Cortez makes an entrance!

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.

RanchBoss Cortez rode by Linda Shore

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.

Cortez and Linda at the Regional Dressage Championships

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.

Cortez and Linda in Toowoomba

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
Email:  Greg & Kathy Lyons