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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 …

Let's Try Something New!

There seems to be a new craze around here called "Versatility Trail Challenges".  There have been several close by me this year, but between trying to compete in USDF shows all over New England as well as the Maine Horse Association affiliated shows, I have not been able to try one.

So I was excited to go to a local farm (just 15 minutes from me) called Piper Ridge on Saturday, August 28.  It was a gorgeous day and the last weekend of summer vacation, so I thought it would be a great day to try something new!

I had no real idea what to expect.  I knew it would be something like a big glorified trail class.  But Dreamy and I have never actually PRACTICED most of the different things.  I had done the trail class at Nationals this year and won a fifth place ribbon....LOL!  So that was the extent of our experience.  ha ha ha

There were 18 people in my division and they only placed out to 6th place, so I had no expectations for a ribbon at all.  I just wanted to see what Dreamy might do, and if this "versatility" thing was really as fun as everyone says it is.

Well, I had a blast!  I am definitely going to try to do more of these events next year.  I guess you can even compete for year end awards!  Whooo!  Right up my competitive alley!  LOL!

There are many pictures of us on the professional photographer's site.

We are # 39-40, then #168-184, and then #646-655.

Pics 39 and 40 show us waiting our turn.  :)  We were one of the only ones in English tack.....and of course I did the DRESSAGE tack!  LOL!!!  I was watching the course intently, because I have such a hard time remembering courses and such.  And you had to do each obstacle just so in order to score full points.

Then 168-184 show us on course.  We had to do other things (through a hula hoop and go through a puddle) in an adjacent round pen, but there are no pics of that.  Instead we were photographed by two different people in the big arena.  We did things like opening the gate, stepping through a bunch of plastic bottles, going over a bridge, sidepassing over a pole to tie a bailing twine, pulling a log (pic 169 - you can just barely  see the rope behind us) and the log is out of the frame),  going over a tiny crossrail, backing between two barrels.......and of course, Dreamy was perfect!  :D  She did have one problem.......THE SCARY NOODLES!  LOL!  You can see her showing her disdain by her tiny baby rears.  Oh, Dreamy mare.  :-P  I have NEVER done a noodle curtain with her, so I had no idea what to expect.  She thought I was asking her to go through a wall.  Ha ha ha.  We had to go around it and got a zero for that movement.  Bummer!

But she was fine with walking through the plastic bottles (pic 647 shows me totally expecting a HUGE leap over the entire thing, hence the forward three point), she did not hesitate on that big bridge (I totally thought she would but she climbed right on and off!), and she went through the puddles with no problem (even though on the real trails she dislikes water and has to be slightly convinced).  She was even perfect when I dragged the log behind was heavier than I thought it would be!  I WISH the photographer had gotten us in DRESSAGE tack dragging a LOG!  HOW FUNNY!  LOL!  :)

I love pics 181-183.  I was having so much fun!!!!!  :D

Pic 650 shows my intense concentration during the first sidepass.

Pic 655 shows us trotting for the finish line!  

We ended up with a score of 58, just behind the 6th place winner who scored a 61.  I was impressed...on many of the obstacles we scored the full 5 points.  Some we had 4s and that scary noddle curtain netted us a big zero.  :)  We got some nice comments: lovely horse, pair works well together, good confidence, good concentration (that was the sidepass), and steady horsemanship.  :)  Yay Dreamy for being a versatile dressage horse!  LOL!!!!!

So I was not that far out of the ribbons, and out of 18 people, that made me pretty happy.  It told me that without any practice we are not that far out of the competition.  With some practice over the winter, we could actually be competitive next year!  LOL!

And it was just plain old fun.  I met some nice folks, reconnected with some horse friends I have not seen in a while, and enjoyed a gorgeous summer day at a beautiful horse farm.  What more could a girl ask for???  :D :D :D


  1. I did a clinic with a set up like that a while back, but no competitions. There are competitions similar to that down here, but they're on a trail, and they look like great fun. I would love to try it with Greta one day!


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