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Showing posts from May, 2008

Ellie's Big Adventure - Equine Affaire 2019

On the last day of September, I received an email from the Vermont Morgan Horse Association asking if I would be interested in bringing Ellie to Equine Affaire in Massachusetts from November 7-10.  I became a member of VMHA this year when I decided to compete at Vermont Heritage Days; so even though I live in Maine and not Vermont haha, I made a snap decision to say yes!  
Honestly, it was 21 minutes after the email came in that I responded yes!  Then I had to figure out how to actually make it all happen hahahahaha.  Typical.
I attended Equine Affaire as a spectator a few times way back when and then for many years I ran the breed booth for the Standardbreds, including a four-day stint in C Barn with Dreamy back in 2013.  It is fun and exhausting to travel 4+ hours one way from home to talk with thousands of people, walk thousands of miles around the venue (ok, not that far but close), and ride in demos on a horse that has never seen such a huge venue (though in her defense, Ellie was …

More Good Rides.

I have had a bunch of good rides this week. Did some dressage schooling on Monday and Thursday (tonight). Monday's canters were excellent. We also did a bunch of trot poles and small gymnastic jumps.

Thursday's canter to the right was fabulous, soft and easy and no scrambling. I did a half of a 20 m. circle at the canter, and then half at the trot, then canter in the same spot, then trot. We did it four times and she stayed soft and round for the FIRST TIME EVER! And her pacing steps were very minimal, which was exciting.

Dreamy did, however, have a really hard time picking up the left canter lead. It has been weeks since she has refused to canter to the left. I hate when she does the pace-pace-pace-pace, throw my head racehorse thing. It is so ugly and hard to sit. So we went back to something she COULD do easily (trotting long and low on the circle) and then tried again. I also did some turns on the forehand to get her ready to canter.

She picked up the left lead canter twice a…

I need a RING!!!

OK, so I have been dealing now for 5 years without a ring. FIVE YEARS is a LONG time. I have had to ride on the back lawn. It is small and has trees on it, so therefore it is less than ideal. I also take down part of a fence (yes, every night) so that I can ride in part of the pasture. It is hilly and rocky. Again, less than ideal.


This spring I have been doing a lot of canter work with Dreamy, which is churning up the lawn enough to make a dirt track around the perimeter. Previous years the grass held up OK. So now S is complaining about how I anm ruining the lawn.


Well, my response? Yeah you guessed it...."Then BUILD ME A RING!"




It is not like we do not have the equipment. S can cut and yard the trees with his chainsaw and skidder, he can stump with the backhoe, and he can bring in sand with the dumptruck. We will make money on the trees to pay for the sand.


UGGGG. I used to jokingly say, "Wow I do so well in competition without a ring. Imagine how much better I could do …

Riding at Different Times of Day

Yesterday morning my dad took C for the morning, so I was able to ride at 9AM. Dreamy loves routine, but I never gave this any thought when I went to ride. We usually have to wait and ride after dinner, so being able to ride in the morning sun was a treat for me.

Dreamy was SO UGLY at me. She would not stand on the crossties, she would not stand to be mounted, and was so foolish under saddle as soon as I mounted. So I figured we needed a fitness day anyway......we did trot sets and TONS of bending at the walk and trot. I made her snotty little self WORK and WORK SHE DID!

By 30 minutes into our hour long ride, she finally settled. As if to say, OH all right, I guess I can behave now. I finally did not have to DEMAND her attention, as she gave it willingly. It was a good ride eventually, but we both had to work hard to make it happen.

Then tonight.....I go out and ride at our usual time of 7PM. She was all lazy and statue-like on the crossties, had an easy warm up, and was complet…

Nickers

As of the end of this month, I will have owned Dreamy for 5 years. :)

She has never "talked" to me....whinny, nicker, snort, nothing. Sparky nickers to me all the time; actually she does it every time I enter the barn. She especially nickers at feed time, of course! ;-)

So I am walking out of the house yesterday mid-morning and headed to the barn. Dreamy is watching me (she is in the front paddock/pasture) like she always does. All of a sudden, she NICKERS! It was so cute! LOL! It is funny, but after 5 years I figured she would never be a talker like Sparky. But she finally did it.

And then today, she nickered a couple of times. Not every time I stepped out of the house like my other girl, but enough that I know it was not a fluke yesterday.

Ah, it is funny how us horse people get excited over something like this. My husband thinks I am foolish. But I like that she is now "communicating" with me.

Watch.....now she will not do it again! ROFL!

Good ride

Dreamy is such a good mare. :) We had a great ride tonight. I almost thought I was not going to get to ride.....as it began to rain/thunder during dinner. :( But 20 minutes later, the sun was out. Gotta love spring showers.

She was so forward and relaxed and SOFT! For the first time she is actually accepting contact all of the time! (Well, except right after her canter to the left, as that is when she wants to ignore all aids and blow through my half halts. Oh joy.) It is amazing what "Riding Correctly" can do for your horse! LOL! :D I knew I was the one holding her back and I am happy I am fixing my bad habits....mostly my elbows and hands.

I put my stirrups up one hole. Seemed to help my leg a bit. This set-back stirrup bar thingy feels weird. Hopefully after a while I can put my stirrups back to where they need to be.

The satisfaction of a good ride is like nothing else. :)

To Canter or not to Canter....

Now that I have moved up to Training level with my extremely talented STB mare.......there are folks who think I should move up at the SPHO shows too. Hmmmm....something to definitely think about. Are we ready???

I am not sure yet if we are going to move up to 3-Gait at the SPHO shows. There is a BIG difference between cantering a 20 m. circle versus maintaining a canter all the way around the big Hollis ring 2+ times in an under saddle class.

So I may stick with 2-Gait at the SPHO shows this year (and move up in 2009), but do WTC at my dressage and 3-phase events. Time will tell. I do have a few more weeks to prepare. I could always do 2-gait in June and 3-Gait in August. Dreamy will tell me what she is ready to do.

Strength and balance are the keys to Dreamy's canter right now. So then should I be cantering her for long stretches, with the idea that the more I canter her, the stronger her canter will become???? If I allow her to continue cantering and cantering around the ring (as …

SMDA Show results 5/11/08

Dreamy and I attended the Southern Maine Dressage Association's show on May 11, 2008. It was our first show of 2008.

Dreamy is a fantastic horse. I truly lucked out with her. I am proud that despite the fact STB are not bred to be dressage horses, she is proving that STBs indeed can do dressage (or anything else you want them to do!)

We placed 2nd in Intro B Senior out of 6 riders with a 68.5%. Not our best test, but we had just about all 7's with a couple 6's.

We placed 4th in Training Level Test 1 Senior out of 4 riders with a 55.65%. My goals for TLT1 were to get both canter transitions correctly and immediately and score at least 50%. I do not care at all about the ribbon or how I placed, I am just so pleased she cantered when I asked in the tests. No it was NOT pretty, but it is a START.
We actually got an 8 on our entrance, lots of 7s, but then a 5 and a 3 on our canters. Her worse direction is right..cross cantering....hence the 3. I am motivated to make that at least …

On Being a Student Again....FINALLY!

I have not taken a riding lesson since I graduated from college in 2001. I did take driving lessons within the past 7 years however. I miss being a student of riding. :(

I started Dreamy under saddle in 2003, but did not actually start doing anything "for real" until the end of 2006. We were successful at the "ameoba" levels in 2007, but I knew I had taken her as far I as could without an instructor. There were holes in her training that I knew I needed help with. Mostly I knew I was not riding her correctly, as seven years without instruction does lend itself to BAD HABITS. And boy do I have some. Look at those ELBOWS! UGGGG..... Riding HUNT SEAT in a dressage saddle! UGGGGG!
I love the area I live in....usually. There are downfalls, such as finding a (good) dressage instructor. Not only do I NOT want to drive 45-60 minutes to take a lesson, with gas prices I just cannot afford it.

So I finally found an instructor about 20 minutes from me in the neighboring town. Judy…

Well, I guess I now have a blog...

I have been thinking about doing a blog for a while, but never really got around to it. :)

Where shall I start???

Last year brought about a lot of changes. Joydale Sparklerslas (Sparky) was officially retired from showing at age 25. I have owned Sparky since she was 10 and I was 13 years old. We have been through a lot together: middle school, high school, college, grad school, marriage, motherhood....she is my first horse and have taught me so much.It was hard to make the decision to retire Sparky, as she loves the show ring and does not look or act her age. But I knew it was time. Sparky now gives gentle leadline rides to my four year old son Clarence.



Dreamy Starlet (Dreamy) made her show ring debut in 2007. We tried a liitle dressage and a little eventing, just to see what she was capable of. Or more accurately, what she was happy with. We ended up with nineteen year end awards for 2007 (with 9 of them being championships). WHOO-HOO! I was rather impressed. ;-) Check out our website …