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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 …

Downeast Horse Congress - June 18-20, 2010

This past weekend was one of the best horse shows here in Maine!  It is the 31st annual Downeast Horse Congress, put on by the Maine Horse Association (MHA).  DEC is one of the largest "A" rated shows here in Maine and it is held at the Skowhegan Fairgrounds.  This year we had three rings running.....hunters, pleasure, and dressage!  The manager called it "Maine's only three ring circus!"  LOL!!!!

Last year, Dreamy was the champion 2-gait Standardbred of the weekend.  YAY!  I played a large role in reinstating the Standardbred division as well as soliciting division sponsors at DEC in 2009, and we had four classes.  This year we were able to have seven classes: STB In-Hand, STB 2-gait Pleasure, STB 2-gait Equitation, STB 2-gait Championship,  STB 3-gait Pleasure, STB 3-gait Equitation, and STB 3-gait Championship! 

And this year......drum roll....Dreamy was the champion 3-gait Standardbred!  YAY!!!!!  :D

We had so much fun!  I love this show because there is so much to do, the grounds are great, and my show buddies are just awesome.  Also, it is double judged, so you get TWO SETS of ribbons for each class!  (Pretty cool, huh OTB???)  That means that I entered 10 classes and came home with 18 ribbons!!!!!  (The two dressage tests were single judged, hence the reason for only 18 and not 20 ribbons....)  There is the "call" judge (NEHC judge) and then the second judge is just an MHA judge.

We had a lobster bake on Saturday night and a pancake breakfast on Sunday morning.  My friend ST helped organize the lobster bake, which was yummy even though I only ate the chicken!  (Sad I was raised on the coast of Maine but don't eat seafood!)  And we were both asked to help with the pancake breakfast, which I was happy to do.  I was encouraged to take on a more active volunteer role in MHA, as many of the people who run things have been doing so for MANY years and of course, get burned out.  So that is something fun to look forward to!  :)

I trucked my mare up with my best horsey friend ST (whose horse was the 2010 STB 2-gait champion BTW) on Thursday night.  We arrived late and got our stalls all set up.  My classes were spread out over the three days of the show, but Saturday was definitely my busiest day with seven classes.  Last year it POURED the entire time but this year it was gorgeous and sunny, but a bit hot.  We did get a crazy 30 minute thunder and lightening rain storm that postponed the show for a while on Sunday afternoon though.....that was nuts!  :O

Anyway, here are the results:
  • Double Blues - Champion STB 3-Gait Championship!
  • 1st STB In-Hand (NEHC judge)
  • 5th STB In-Hand
  • 1st STB 3-Gait Equitation (NEHC judge)
  • 2nd STB 3-Gait Equitation 
  • Double 2nd STB 3-Gait Pleasure
  • 3rd Training Level Test 2 (57.5%)
  • 3rd Training Level Test 4 (61.2%)
  • Double 4th Roadster Under Saddle
  • 3rd Easy Does It Hunter Under Saddle (NEHC judge)
  • 5th Easy Does It Hunter Under Saddle
  • 5th Easy Does It Hunter O/F
  • 6th Easy Does It Hunter O/F
  • 5th Easy Does It Hunter O/F Stake
  • 6th Easy Does It Hunter O/F Stake
I like how well we placed with the NEHC judge.  Overall, it was a great weekend, lots of laugh and funny stories, and one very GOOD mare.  She did have to spook at everything again on Friday, exactly the same as last year.  The covered ring is scary to her for the first few trips, for whatever reason.  :p

She did very well in the STB division, and I had to laugh by her win and a 5th in In-Hand!  LOL!  It was perfect proof that for in-hand classes some judges LOVE her while others do not.  (Though I have to say these two judges were more often that not completely different from one another....in 2009 the two judges were almost always unanimous).  

We did OK in the Easy Does It hunters, though I am not a fan of jumping in that ring.....she gets very strong and spooky.  I did it mostly because we could, the jumps were tiny, and I figured it would be good to get her in the ring.  If we go next year, I don't think I will bother with the hunter ring at all (which ran on Saturday) and just do the STB division, dressage, and roadster instead.

We did OK in the dressage on Saturday (which was new this year...).  There was the "Relay for Life" going on about 20 yards from the dressage ring, which was, well, REALLY STUPID.  I mean, I know no one thought much about it while planning it, but it was nearly impossible to focus on a dressage test while masses of people were milling around, there was loud rock music blaring, and constant PA announcements from the head Relay people.  It was such a sensory overload that we both completely fell apart in Training 2.  She was tight, I was scared shitless of forgetting my test because I could not hear anything but the loud music, and it was not a pretty test at all.  I knew it was not above a 60%, and I figured I would be lucky to score 55%.  

I was PISSED about it, so I tried really hard to ride a better test for Training 4.  I was thinking, come on, dressage is our THING.  We should be able to nail this!  I schooled her for a bit right next to the Relay commotion and she did calm down quite a bit.  I just blocked out everything as much as I could.  I wanted to do a good T4 test.  I wanted to break 60%.  The judge was tough but fair (I have shown under her before with both Sparky and Dreamy) and I wanted to do the best we could.  I knew she would not inflate scores, just because it was a schooling show.  The test went SO MUCH better than T2, but I still had a heavy heart.  

I was floored to see we did indeed break 60% for the first time at T4!!!  We got mostly sevens and no fours.  I thought it was funny that we got 8s on both submission and rider position in the collectives.  On the T2 test, just 30 minutes beforehand, we had 6s on these two!  LOL!  Not sure how I became that much of a better rider, or how Dreamy became that much more submissive, but hey, I'll take it!  :D  

The judge wrote, "Lovely horse (underlined three times) and "A bit more impulsion will bring her poll up" on our T2 test.  I was riding her VERY conservatively and we were kind of slow.......I rather be tactful with the RELAY CRAP freaking us both out.  We got our only four between the two tests on our right lead canter in T2.

And on our T4 test she wrote, "I just love your mare.  Good luck and have fun!"  So even though Dreamy was nutty, and I was rattled, I was pleased with our comments and scores.  :)

But the BEST part of my weekend was the new Roadster Under Saddle class!!!!  It was late in the Saturday night evening session, so we ended up riding around 10:45 PM.  I have done this class a few times at the local SPHO schooling shows, but never like this one at DEC.  Roadster Under Saddle is a class where you show off three distinct trots. You must wear silks, the horse must have an English saddle, martingale, open bridle with snaffle, and white quarter (or bell) boots. 

You enter in a "jog trot" (which is waaaay faster than a western jog) going clockwise. Then you move into the “road trot” and switch directions at the trot. Then you show the jog trot and road trot going counterclockwise. And then……you SHOW YOUR HORSES! This is at speed where you FLY! It is SOOOOO fun! Then you come back to the jog trot and trot into the lineup. Basically you never stop trotting!  LOL!

It is judged on performance, speed, quality, and manners (in that order). I am breathless at the end…..being under the lights in the coliseum was such a rush and I could not come down from my adrenaline high until after 1AM….not for lack of trying to sleep and being utterly exhausted! LOL!  I liken this class to jumping a cross country course...same rush and excitement!  The first words out of my mouth when we retired to the rail was....."I wanna do that AGAIN!" which is just what I say at the end of a XC course!  LOL!

I was a bit worried about how Dreamy might feel about being in the class at night.  We went from near darkness in the warm up to BRIGHT LIGHTS and people screaming!  But she was PERFECT!  I swear to gosh she is smiling in her pics....ears forward and happy eyes.  But hearing the crowd screaming, hooting, and hollering was the best feeling.  We all had fun...there was a Hackney, Saddlebred, and a Friesian with us. I knew we did not have a prayer in doing better than double fourths, but that was fine.  We were all four excited in the warm up and ready to have fun.  Dreamy has an amazing trot, despite being a pacer (!), but there was no way would be able to compete with the high stepping action of the other three horses.  I did not care if I got a ribbon or not, to tell the truth.  I just had a BALL!  :D

I have a ton of photos to upload but will do that in a separate post.  I have tons of stories and other things that I could share, but part of me wants to keep that off the blog.  Not because I don't want to tell you all, but some of the silly things that had me and my show buddies (new and old) rolling on the floor, tears coming from our eyes, just would not be as funny on here.  :)  This blog is about my HORSE not the silly things I do/say with my friends.  LOL!  None of it is  inappropriate or anything, just not for here.  :)  Just so you can imagine, some of the funny stories include: The Carrot Pony, The Toothbrush Incident, The Lady with The Tooth, Stuck in the Bathroom During Dressage, "My Horse Looks Like Breaded Chicken!".....among others.  X-D

I love showing at DEC and will be anxiously awaiting the 2011 show!!!  :)

Comments

  1. Thanks for describing the Roadster class, it sounds fabulous!

    (gee, a class that's all about trotting...I can do that ! Now all I gotta do is get myself to Maine....hmmmm)

    WV: nosedo
    an obscure squaredance manuever involving, um, faces.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congrats on doing so well at that show! You and Dreamy really aced it!

    That roadster class sounds really interesting - love the picture at the top of you in your silks! Sounds like it would be fun to watch as well as ride!

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  3. It sounds like you guys had a wonderful time - and congratulations on all those successes and ribbons!

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  4. Congratulations! Sounds like you and Dreamy had a fantastic show! The Roadster class sounds like a lot of fun (as does the rest of the show!) I with we had STB shows like that around here, but we don't really :( Can't wait to see pictures!

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