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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 …

Hilltop Horse Trials

On Sunday, October 24, we competed at the Hilltop Horse Trials in Somersworth, NH.  It was our last show of the 2010 year!  I was quite happy to have a good event and end the year in style!!!
Thankfully, one of the mothers at the trailer next to me was willing to snap this photo at the end of the day!  I hate showing alone because I never get any pics!  :)

Yay Dreamy!  :)

It was a good day...we competed in the senior division of Elementary, which is also called Modified Beginner Novice.  Basically it is the same as Beginner Novice, but the jumps are lower.   It was cold and damp, with one slight rain shower after dressage, but thankfully there was no wind.  It did rain more right as we were pulling out of the farm drive to go home....which was better than while we were showing!  LOL!  I dressed for success in my full Carhartt suit, complete with all my polar fleece accoutrement.  :)  Dreamy relaxed in the trailer with her hay net and her polar fleece sheet between our phases...with 2-3 hours between each one, I wanted her to be comfortable.  She has a super thick winter coat already and while she did not get "sweaty" after each round, she was damp.  I did not want her to catch a chill!

We did Beginner Novice Test A for dressage.  Dreamy warmed up quite well.  I was pleased with her canter and we had some nice trot work.  Sadly, we had to ride in the dark and damp indoor arena.  Dreamy was very tense...she was obedient she very very tense.  :(  Of course, any tension AT ALL in her back and the canter is awful.  So after all the nice canter circles in warmup, which would have easily scored us 6s at least, we ended up with 5s because she was too tense to canter correctly.  Oh well.  What can you do??  

Otherwise, the test was fine.  Our transitions and accuracy were really good.  The judge asked me immediately after my last salute what her breed was.  When I said Standardbred, she replied, "WOW!  What a LOVELY, LOVELY horse!  You have done a wonderful job with her!" She asked about her canter...I explained that while she struggles to maintain a decent dressage canter on a good day, any tension makes it nearly impossible.  She smiled and asked if it had been better outside in warm up.  I laughed and said YES!!!!  She told me to keep up the good work.  She also called her walk and trot work "just lovely".  (Actually, she said lovely about five times in the conversation!  LOL)  I appreciate a judge who is so upbeat and supportive.  :)

We were first after dressage with a 39.  Not a great score, but I was pleased.  We had mostly 7s to offset the four 5s for the canter.  We got an 8 on our free walk and an 8 on one of our trot transitions.  Our center lines were straight and our circles had good geometry.  I was pleased.  
There were only three other people in our division, and we were all separated by only 6 points.  So I knew we needed our "A" game for the two jumping phases.  :) 

Our cross country warm up was odd.  Dreamy hesitated at the first little cross rail I pointed her at.  The first thing I start thinking is RETIREMENT!  :(  I start worrying she is sore, oh my goodness, she is 19, she needs to be retired, etc, etc.  I have only jumped her at shows this year, never at home, and have been SUPER careful about jumping.  

I tried it twice more and she was fine.  She trotted and cantered without any hint of stiffness or soreness.  I figured I would give the course a try and if she felt off, I would just pull up. 

We walked into the start box and got our countdown.  I love how steady and unphased she is about that.  She stands perfectly still until I ask her to GO!  :)  The first five jumps were in a big field.  She jumped the first log and then hay bales like nothing.  We were on a roll, her ears were up, and she seemed happy to be jumping.   I cantered over most of the course, except for one jump out in the woods that came up sharply around a bend.  I planned in my course walk to slow her down and rebalance her.  It worked well.  And there was one spot in the footing  at the end that was a little sticky.....we went from a railroad tie fence to a big "PT wall" jump (think wooden slabs).  She was too strung out for my liking and the back field was wet and deep.  I opted to rebalance her by trotting into the PT wall fence.  It worked well and we took the last two fences with no issue.  Overall, she was super and had no issues at any fences.

I was super proud of our last cross country run for the year!  She was forward without being  nutty at all.  She was brave and smart.  I love that I can run cross country in our regular eggbutt French link snaffle.  :D

I was super happy to see I was the only rider in my division to go clean in cross country!  I was now over 20 points ahead of the second place rider.  Yay!  It felt nice to have no pressure going into stadium.  

I was first to go in my division.  The course flowed really well and I was eager to try it.  Dreamy was super good, listening and responding well to my aids.  She jumped everything with no issues.  We were again the only ones to go clean (and one poor girl fell off at the last fence...her horse was not being cooperative.  She was fine thankfully!)

Not only did we win a big blue ribbon, I also got a medal and a pretty new crop!  :)  We got to lead a Victory Trot which was fun (the ring was too stuffed with jumps, especially along the rail, to safely navigate a canter).  

What a great way to end the season!!!!  :)


  1. That is sooo cool!! Ah, I cannot wait to show. It will happen... eventually.

  2. So happy for you!!!

    Just on a side note, the white writing on a blue background is hard to read.

  3. Thanks guys!! :)

    Good to know the black better???


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