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She's Not a Baby Anymore!

Early spring saw some immediate changes in how Ellie carried herself and our dressage work started to truly improve.  There had been times last year where flat work felt like a fight and I wondered to myself if she was ever going to just relax and listen to me haha.

Thankfully, as the title suggests, Ellie has suddenly grown up in front of my eyes.  We have had some really stellar lessons lately, where I feel like I am suddenly able to make things click.  We also had an incredibly frustrating dressage lesson a few weeks ago where Ellie was in rip-roaring peeing heat (not normal for her) and we worked through 45 minutes of her refusing to bend right.  So, ya know, as much as she is improving, she is still an opinionated redheaded mare!  ;-)

But, I have to give her credit because she is really working her little butt off for me!  Sadly, I had not been able to schedule in a jump lesson before our first three-phase, which led to me riding her ridiculously backward at a slow trot the entire …

SMDA Show Results 7/27/08

Thank god Dreamy proved me wrong yet AGAIN. :D

The mare who could not bend or canter at home was a rockstar at this past weekend's SMDA dressage show. We scored a 70% on our Intro B test which was outstanding! It is the highest we have ever scored on a dressage test (we did score a 27.3 on our last three phase event dressage test....which translates to a 72.7% for USDF dressage....but that is not something you usually point out. The scores are calculated differently for each....percentages for USDF dressage and penalty points (lower is better) for eventing dressage.)

Anyway, so the 70% was a nice surprise. We had an excellent warm-up, so I felt pretty confident when I rode. But when I went up to the booth to see about my test sheet, I nearly shouted when I saw the blue ribbon attached to it. "That's MINE????" I said to which the manager (who is a STB friend) replies, "SHHHHHH!" ROFL! ;-)

So we had an hour break until Training 1. There were a TON of Intro riders. When we went back to warm-up for the Training test, I just did a bunch of transitions, center lines, circles, and changes of rein. About 10 mins. before my test, I tried the canter. I worked VERY hard at keeping a "Of course she'll do it" mindset. I was actually pretty worried.

And of course, she canters just fine in both directions. Foolish mare. Now granted, it was NOT the same canter we had in the beginning of July or at my July 15 lesson.....but it was certainly better than the May canter! LOL!

I was pleased with my test despite only scoring a 53.9%. Odd thing is that we got a 6 on the left lead canter (which USED to be her worst side) and a THREE (!!) on her right canter. I thought that was a bit harsh. I mean, we were accurate, picked up the correct lead, it was 3-beat, she was not round but certainly not above the bit. Yes, it is true she is not 100% balanced. But man, we did the movement. Couldn't we have gotten a 5 for at least doing it???? (OK I am now letting it go....breathe in, breathe out.)

We did get 8s on our centerlines! YAY! And a bunch of 7s and 6s. But we also got a 4 on one of our trot circles in Training 1. WHAT???? Not sure what the judge was looking at when she gave THAT score. Unfortunately no video or pics from this show....Dreamy and I went alone. But I do think a photographer friend got a few I can buy from her. Just waiting to hear back on her prices....

And the judge really made me ugly. Usually at the end when he/she starts telling you all the things you did wrong, he/she will say at least ONE thing positive. (And of course sometimes the judge simply says "Thank you." Disappointing, but it happens when there are 20 Intro riders and 15 Training 1 riders to get through...). And no matter what the judge says, you smile and say "Thank you".

Well this judge tells me after Training 1, "That was a nice ride. Of course her canter needs work. It is very unbalanced.......actually as a matter of fact I do not even know what it was."

And that was that.

I was like WTF!!!! No it is not a pretty canter but we did it and it was indeed 3 beat. Couldn't she have left it at unbalanced? Because yes that is the truth and I can accept that. But to say she did not KNOW WHAT IT WAS? And to give me a 6 on one canter(ummm....she must have known what it was then). The 3 on the right lead was harsh and must have been what she was referring to.

So I just said, "Well for a Standardbred who has been cantering for 3 months, I am happy." She gets this surprised look on her face (Because she is a STB? Only cantering for a short time? Because I talked back?? LOL!) and goes I am walking away.

Yeah, whatever. I know what we need to work on. I know that Dreamy has regressed in her training since the chiro work. I know we were not going to win the class. But for goodness sakes, why would a judge say something like that?

We ended up 3rd out of 5 riders in my division. First place went to another Standardbred (yeah!) who earned a 58% something. So I almost wonder if the judge was really peeved at seeing so many "bad" rides, hence the reason for her snotty remark.

And we keep marching on......


  1. I had a kind of morbid theory for a while: if you go in expecting the worst, you can't be disappointed! LOL. Good to hear the show wasn't a complete nightmare, though. Congrats on the 70%!

    Shame to hear the judge was so negative. The first summer I started cantering Willie (before I realized he had problems with his hocks) the trainer I was working for saw him canter and said, "Okay. Don't EVER do that again!" I don't think we've run into any nasty judges yet, thankfully; I've had some tough scorers, but they were fair and gave us some helpful feedback.


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