Dreaming of a Victory Gallop

Victory Gallop

Victory Gallop from the 2000 Olympics

So I have been riding horses for years and years. I am not particularly good at it, but I thoroughly enjoy it at all times. Growing up I never had my own horse, and I was never able to show. In fact, I dropped out of pony club because I couldn’t go anywhere ever and what fun was pony club if you can’t do anything? I have groomed for people countless times. One of my best friends growing up got into horses and her parents bought her a pony, and they the got a truck and a trailer, and eventually a second horse. I was so jealous I can’t even begin to tell you. I would come along every weekend in the summer to groom for her at shows. That meant that every Saturday night I would sleep over and lie in bed dreaming about the ribbons I would never get. And yes I do think this has done some sort of emotional damage on me! I leased a horse one year and was able to go to 2 shows at the local show ground. I was 15 and it was a dream come true! The horse ended up having lots of problems though so for many, many years those 2 shows were it.

When I went away to college I fell in love with dressage. You can read about my first show here and here. When I came for for the summers I would lease My True Heart, and after our first summer together my trainer allowed us to show together. I would get so nervous it was terrible. I put so much pressure on myself that show was just not fun at all. I would freak out before every show and say, “I’m not getting on” or “You can’t make me ride”. It was just not a good scene. When I got Gennyral everything changed. I had to be calm or else he would freak out. And I missed showing by the time that he was mentally put together enough to go anywhere. So with Gennyral I had my head in the right place about showing and have kept it there with X.

As you all know (because I talk about it A LOT) X and I qualified for our GMO championships which are Sept. 21st. As part of this championship if you place in the top 6 you get to be in a victory gallop! Which is one of my life long riding goals! Now competition is tough in this GMO at championships. It is kind of funny actually because this GMO has so many members that this little GMO championship show is actually bigger then some of of the USDF regional championship shows. Which means that there are so many people in each division that the chances of being in the top 6 are not great. But I still dream about it. I want to be in a victory gallop so bad.

Every time I go to a championship show and their is a victory gallop I cry. And I don’t know why I cry. Even watching the Olympic coverage I cried at every victory gallop (except Anky’s posting trot one because that doesn’t count as a lap of honor). There is something so amazing about just getting to run around the ring! The freedom that comes with a nice hand gallop in the ring can only be matched by a real gallop in the fields. I have been to watch many amazing horse shows and while some people pack it up and head out after the last ride I know better. I ALWAYS stay to watch the victory gallop because you never know what might happen.

A few years ago Cesar Parra(sp?) won the Grand Prix division at Devon at Devon. His horse nearly had a cow just getting the trophy and was being very naughty about the whole thing…with his rider on top and a groom holding him. He was so happy though that even though he knew he would get himself or someone else killed if he rode his horse around he ran, on foot, the entire victory gallop. The joy in that moment was palpable. I think that might be part of my love for them. The joy that comes from the run. There are few things in this world that I covet more than being able to have the moment of pure joy and being slightly out of control and tearing around a ring with a ribbon on the horses bridle.

There is a big push in the dressage world to remove victory gallops from competitions. And that scares me. Because for over a decade (since I knew they existed) I have dreamt of that moment. The moment when 5 other horse and rider combos and I fly around the ring. And if things keep going the way they are going and people keep taking them out of competitions I will never get to experience it. Unless of course X and I can place this year, which will be tough since we just got through to championships by the skin of our teeth. There is just something so magical about a victory gallop.

I wanted to explain why I love them so much in this post, but I can’t. I can’t find the right words to explain how I feel when I watch them. How badly I want to be in one. How cool I think they are. It is just something I dream of. If I can be in a victory gallop and win a cooler at some point in my life I will die a happy horse woman. And I have a chance, all be it not a great one, at the victory gallop this year. Have any of you ever been in a victory gallop? What was it like? 20 days till I have a shot to find out for myself.


7 thoughts on “Dreaming of a Victory Gallop

  1. I won reserve in my division at my GMO’s championship show last year… I was all set to do a victory lap, but much to my (and the wannabe-event-pony’s) chagrin, the “gallop” was little more than a working trot around the inside of the dressage arena. Boo — what fun is a victory gallop if your neck sash doesn’t even blow in the wind? ;P

    I can see where people are afraid of injuring their horses by doing an actual gallop, but why not at least canter? When we do the gaited horse show in June, the winner of each class gets to take a victory lap. They don’t usually gallop, either, because of the way their horses are shod and built, but they do at least rev it up and come out in the most expressive “show gait” that they have. It’s a tradition I wish more shows would adopt…

    The victory laps at the CCI**/*** every year are my favorite, though. Eventers aren’t afraid to gallop! 😀

  2. L – I have my fingers crossed for less than 6 people in my divsion…but since they hired an extra juge I have a feeling it is going to be a big show. I hope I get it this year too…but you just never know.

    NTAT- I was actully reserve champion in the GMO you are talking about back in 2003 (and yet I am a started for this new GMO…don’t tell on me! I have never done 3 or 4) at their championship show and they didn’t even let us do a “lap of honor” It was literally just a mounted, heres your ribbion type of thing! And I def. want to go to the Fresh this year…I might need to tag along with you and your friends though because I have no clue what the good cross country jumps to watch are…and of course I will come back to watch the show jumping and the victory gallop! I love that eventers just gallop. And honestly I think it is good for the dressage riders to let go a little! Most of them are so up tight about everything! And as I said before…I would love it if I got to run around the horse park this year, but entries are up so my chances are not great. Who knows though…we have been doing okay this year. I wish you and Willie were there too! It would have been more fun to run with friends.

  3. I think that someday you will get your victory gallop. I also feel that you are putting too much pressure on yourself. If you do the best you can at the show in September and are happy with you and your horses performance that should be a good feeling too. If you really want to do a victory gallop, why don’t you do it after a great lesson, just to get in practice for the day when you do it at a show.

  4. GHM – I agree with you 100%. I kind of think I am psyching myself out for championships. I mean, never do I focus so much on one show ever. How do I stop doing that? I normally don’t get too crazy about showing anymore so I don’t know how to fix the problem! And I already made plans many months ago that if I don’t make it in to the victory gallop this time I around I am going to make my own! I have 3 ponies with their owners and my friend and her horse who all agreed to play victory gallop with me 🙂

  5. oh I love the victory gallop. Last year at oregon Championships I came in 6th out of 28!! The only small horse, meaning not a warmblood. The line up looked silly, we are so small compared to the others! At 15.1 and they were all over 16hh. We almost got trampled in the Victory Gallop, although just as I was exiting the area they called me back. We had won Arabian Hi Point for the entire 3 day show, all levels, all riders and I got to gallop again all by myself and I cried the entire time!!!

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