Sunday evening I went to meet some of my friends at a gymkana not far from my home. The gimkana was a part of this year’s Equiraduno “Moun Parl”, here in the northern Monferrato Astigiano. The venue was nestled in a small valley among the sweet hills—Barbera and Malvasia vineyards—of the Monparleto, between Grazzano Badoglio and Casorzo.
This local Piemontese event, taking place each year, draws riders and their equine companions, from the neighboring communities. Actually the gymkana was only one component of the raduno which already began earlier at 9:00 in the morning with a trek across the hilly Monferrine landscape from Alfiano Natta over to Cascina Moncucchetto where riders stopped for lunch. Early evening the gymkana began, and afterwards some of the riders trekked over to Casorzo where the evening’s vaulting exhibition and dinner at Cascina Monticello took place. So, riders did not need to necessarily participate in all the phases of the event—doing only what they felt comfortable with.
When I arrived at the gymkana, a snappy wind was blowing—a pleasant relief from the day’s scorching heat—giving a fresh momentum to the early evening event. Then I saw the huge lofty breezy tent that sheltered all the horses from the sun. Very nice setup! The event was certainly well organized—great care taken to ensure the horses were always comfortable.
Participating were ponies and horses of diverse shapes and sizes, of various breeding, and of various colors and color combinations—quite the odd equine assortment. It was sooo refreshing to see a horse event that was a bit out of the ordinary and sooo relaxed. There’s nothing like a cozy country show among horse-loving friends and family.
People of all ages and riding levels were competing in the gymkana, from children to adults 60-plus, not to mention the assortment of saddles used: english gp saddles, jumping saddles, western saddles, and dressage saddles.
Gymkanas are excellent for riders and their horses. They gain good experience maneuvering through and around various obstacles. Two options were offered in the gymkana, making it attractive to different levels of riders. And most of the horses did quite well—a necessity if the horse is to be a good and safe trekking partner.
An American flag was one of the things the riders and their steeds had to transfer and negotiate around. Surprisingly none of the horses spooked despite the flag flapping wildly in the wind. So nice to see so many level-headed horses!! Gymkanas are always a good exercise because they expose riders and horses to diverse and sometimes unexpected elements—along with a cheering crowd.
Despite the heat, a number of riders and horses did manage to do the entire day’s events. Some only participated in the individual components. This is an event riders of all ages can enjoy. Last July the weather was different and perhaps next year it will be different again. And next year I plan to participate in the raduno. Can’t wait!
Ciao, Karin Susan
Copyright Karin Susan Fester (c) 2013