Freestyle Reining Competition at the Dixie National
The Freestyle Reining competition at the Dixie National Quarter Horse Show in Jackson, MS was an action packed family entertainment event. The class is traditionally held on Friday night and fills the Coliseum, drawing well over 5,000 people. The entertainment began with a parade of new Ford pickups and cars, highlighted by a new candy-apple red Ford Mustang showing off its version of a reining pattern, sliding and spinning and performing figure eights with dirt-slinging enthusiasm.
The freestyle competition had required movements: four consecutive spins to the left and the right; three stops; one lead change at the canter to the right, and one lead change at the canter to the left. To these requirements the competitors could add any other moves they wanted within their 4 minute time limit, and they were allowed to ride with two hands. The horses and riders were dressed in costumes to accompany the theme of their music. Some horses were decked in flowing glittery tassels in their manes and tails, and painted to match. Connie LeBlanc riding Kid Tejana sported a colorful jester costume and rode to New Orleans jazz in a Mardi Gras themed routine. At age 74, Glenn Reed of Bald Knob, AR, riding West Coast Cash, performed a routine he had done 20 years ago that previously won the competition. He received a rousing show of crowd support as he performed to Elvis’s “Look Away Dixieland”, dressed in a Civil War coat with his horse draped in a rebel flag. Stacy Westfall performed her wedding dress routine and won the competition with nearly flawless moves.
During the intermission, a mustang, Docs Teddy Bear, trained by Doc Livingston Farm, was ridden to demonstrat how wild horses can become good mounts. The Livingstons have won four of the last five Mustang Makeover competitions. Teddy Bear was wild only 6 months prior to the competition, but in ninety days had been trained to ride and perform. He cantered over cavaletti and through a firey hoop, stood on a pedestal with all four feet, and even rode bridleless. All this with an applauding crowd – an impressively calm, cool, and collected “wild mustang”!
The River Bottom Mounted Shooters performed an exciting display of mounted shooting. Eight horses ran two different patterns, as riders of various levels of ability based on experience and wins, demonstrated how to run the horse, shoot balloons, change guns halfway through the pattern, and beat the clock. Cowboy Mounted Shooting emphasizes speed, coordination, and shooting skills has lots of action!
After Friday night’s performance Dixie National announcer Louis Amedee, age eighty, was honored with a retirement ceremony after. Amadee has announced the Dixie National show for 40 years, as well as the Quarter Horse Congress, the Paint World Show, and others. He was given appreciation awards to end his long tenure at the Dixie National.
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