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Wentworth Hunter Pace - June 6, 2021

After Margaret and I had such a fun time at the fall hunter pace, we opted to go again this spring! This time, while I rode Rejoice again, Margaret rode her horse Jester and had a friend ride Ladyhawke. All Kennebec Morgans!! Jester and Rejoice have the same dam and Jester and Lady share the same sire. Unfortunately instead of a lovely late spring day, we had one of the first intensely hot and humid days of the year. It was definitely a bummer, but the ride was mostly in the shade of the woods and we had a great time!  most of the fences were 3' coops but we found a small log and this hay to jump haha Until we didn't. 😑 We brought along a third friend who rode Margaret's older mare, Ladyhawke. She's a good rider but hasn't known Ladyhawke for very long and didn't realize how much of a cranky boss mare she could be at times. She kicked Jester right in the front leg just about halfway through the ride, and while the cut itself ended up not being a big deal in the

Our work gets harder....

I have spent the summer interspersing lessons and harder dressage training rides at home with trail riding and western pleasure work.  Dreamy has been mentally happy and well conditioned.  Sadly, last week when I went out on the trail, there was a small dead deer right next to the dirt road!  I could smell something dead, then suddenly I heard the flies and then saw it........YUCK!  So I have not done any trail riding this week (I guess it has actually been a week from Sunday, so more like 10 days.)  There is no way to get to the trails without going past this spot, so we have done more dressage and ring work this week because I have not wanted to see the dead deer.  :(

Anyway, between my last NEDA Flextime lesson and my lesson yesterday with my regular instructor, we have started to increase the rate of difficulty in our work.  This is good, of course, but does feel frustrating since I am pretty used to our "routine" of what we work on this year.  Now instead of just perfecting what we already know how to do, we are starting to introduce harder concepts.  Dreamy is stepping up to the plate well.  I just have to stop worrying that things are not "perfectly right" and allow us the learning curve we need.  :)

We started the lesson with lateral work and then some trot lengthening across the short diagonal.  Judy had me begin by spiraling in and out on a 20ishm. circle.  It may have gotten as large as 25 m. since her ring is a little wider than a regulation size ring.  Dreamy is stiffer in her left stifle, so spiraling out tracking left was hard.  I had to sit at times so I could really use my left leg to MOVE her over.  

Then we did leg yielding on the long sides. Tracking left, for example, we would yield to the left with her head pointed towards the rail.   So she was bent to the right, tracking left.  On the short sides, Judy had me shoulder-in.  After coming around each long side once, Judy had me ask for a lengthening across the short diagonal.  It helped to ride deep into the corner beforehand, as Judy explained it put more weight into her inside hind, so we were able to have more power and engagement for the lengthening.  She had me give a little more with the reins for now.  And Dreamy did GREAT!  She really likes the lengthening, I think.  And I love how it is not actually a faster trot, but a BIG trot with lots of power and energy.  SO FUN.  :)  Judy said that while she is a little longer in her frame than we will eventually want, it was a great start and right where we should be.  Eventually, I will NOT give as much with my reins, and instead Dreamy will engage her hind end more and LIFT in the front.  All in good time......  :D

Lots of walk breaks in between each exercise, since it was pretty hot.  Not nearly as humid as Monday and Tuesday, but still quite sunny without much breeze.  

Then we worked on the hardest part of the lesson....15 m. canter circles!  This is not something we have ever really worked on, so I was pleased with what I did get.  We started with her right lead, which tends to be the "worst".  But we actually got a nicer small canter circle to the right than to the left.....again with the left stifle.  (She is NOT lame, just stiff in that side.  She is on a joint supplement, but now I think might be the time to try the product called Surpass.  Neither of my vets think she is ready for anything like Adequan, but thought the "next step" would be the Surpass.  I think I might try it now (2 times on the joint for up to 10 days) and then if it seems to work, I can use it as needed next year.  I am hoping to avoid joint injections, even IM, until or unless she really shows a need.)

It was harder to keep her on the small circle at the canter, as she rather go large and preserve her balance.  I had to really think about using my outside aids more than I normally do.  I ended up doing more sitting trot work in between, as it was easier to keep her straight.  So, while I am sure Dreamy was tired at the end of the lesson too, upon dismounting my legs were unhappy with the amount of sitting work I did!  LOL!  And it was not even as though Judy made me do it, which is kind of funny.  I did it to myself!  :P

Overall, great lesson and lots of homework.  Though I have to remember not to overdo the lengthenings (because they are fun!) or small circle work (because I want to "perfect" it).  :)  I am feeling sad thinking about my summer vacation coming to an is much harder to have regular lessons once I am back to teaching, but I HOPE I can make it work! 


  1. Just read your blog, and I am impressed with what you are achieving in your lessons. Far too many people don't make a serious effort to educate their Standardbreds. It is this lack of education that is largely behind the perception that Standardbreds retired from harness racing don't have the goods needed to be performance horses. It's enough to make me want to stamp my feet and scream, except that wouldn't help.

  2. Wow, thank you! :D And I agree, most STBs are ridden by those who "just want to trail ride" (which is FINE, I just happen to have different goals but don't look down on pleasure riders) but then when they take the horse to a show one day, so then others see it and CRINGE, thinking STBs are inferior. :(

    I work really hard and feel proud of how much we can accomplish, because even though it is hard work to train a STB for dressage (and eventing and hunters), it is SO rewarding when it pays off. :D

    Sadly, many STB folks in my area are intimidated by me (at least that is how it appears) and then think I am a "show off" for doing what I do. Ummmm....okie dokie! Most of my STB friends are in NJ because they "get it". LOL!

    I would be working this hard no matter what breed I rode. It just so happens I have a STB! :)

    Thanks for reading!

  3. Was about to ask where you lived...if you might be coming to the STB National show in NJ next week...and I see you are in AUS! LOL! Kind of far from me in the USA. :D

  4. What organisations do you have in your local area to promote Standardbreds? In my state of Victoria, we have the Standardbred Pleasure & Performance Society of Victoria. There are branches in other states of Australia too. We also have the Standardbred Riding Group which you cannot join unless you ride a Standardbred.

    Don't let people get you down. People often criticize the things that they do not do themselves, or see as unnecessary.

  5. Here in the Northeast, we have many Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organizations (SPHO). The one here in my state is not very supportive of racing or showing. :( I was very involved with it for years, even was treasurer, etc. but chose to not renew my membership last year. I love the SPHO of New Jersey and the one in Florida, and am a member of both, but I am pretty far away....7 hours from NJ and 23 hours from FL. I stay in touch with email and Facebook and twice yearly trips to NJ.

    This has prompted a handful of us to begin the Standardbred Performance Society.

    It does seem to me that Australia and Canada have more STB organizations. :( Bummer.

    Thanks for the support! I have definitely come a long way in the last two years and decided I would do what I wanted and not let others make me feel "bad." :)


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