I think this was already the 5th Gymkhana of the Ramona Santana Riders Equestrian Club that I have been shooting in the last year and a half. However, the challenges for horses and riders seem to be changing each time – this time it was the temperature. When I arrived at Casey Tibbs Western Center at around 9:00 AM it was about 90°F – when I left, about three hours later, the temperature was in the triple digits, 102°F to be exact, measured in the shade.
A gymkhana is a multi-game equestrian competition held to display the training and talents of horses and their riders, particularly in speed events.
Depending on the event, I usually go to a different place, where I have a close view of horse and rider. Those places don’t necessarily provide any shade and for the 1st time ever, my camera gave up on me, shutting down, due to overheating .. I had to pull out the battery to make it start up again.
Neither horses nor riders seemed to find it too difficult to negotiate the rather high temperature and I thought some off the classes were contested especially fiercely. I hope some of the photos below will convey the intensity of the competition.
But not for a second, confuse this gymkhana for a cutthroat affair. There is a community feeling surrounding this event and it’s for sure more fun than fight and I hope these photos do communicate this as well.