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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 Trial – July 31, 2011

I always enjoy competing at the Hilltop Equestrian Center in Somersworth, NH each year.  They run very nice schooling horse trials and have a great facility.  I went down on Sunday, July 31 for the day with Dreamy.  I brought along my friend Tania and her horse Otis for their debut event!  You can read about her adventures here.

Dreamy seems to enjoy jumping, and even at age 20, she is sound and jumps well.  I am careful to limit the number of jumps we do both at home and at shows.  I am smart and recognize that there is no reason to over jump her.  I also like to keep her around 2’3”; she seems most comfortable there.

We had a decent dressage warm up and I felt really good in our test.  We had a very nice right lead canter, with a 7 on the transition and a 6 on the circle.  Our left lead has been tougher this year, with a 6 on the transition and a 5 on the circle.  But that was our only 5, while the rest of the test was a few 6s, a bunch of 7s, and FOUR 8s (first centerline, first trot movement, our free walk, and the last halt)!!!  I was very pleased with the 31.5 next to our names on the score sheet.  We were sitting in first place after dressage! 

Pretty mare!

Up the centerline...
...and halt at X.
Cross-country went fine as well, with out only bobble over the first fence.  It was a large downhill log and Dreamy tripped right before the take off.  Uh oh.  A bit of a wobbly start, but we recovered easily and the rest of the course was FUN!  The first part was very technical, with lots of rollbacks in a big field, so I had to ride accurately and kept her in a slow canter and even trotted at one point.  The other half of the course was out in the woods, so we were able to canter along.  We had no faults and were still in first place!

Right before cross country.  There are no pics from the course, since Tania was doing her dressage while I was jumping.  I had to rush to get ready for XC so I had to leave her braids in.  It felt funny to jump with her braids in!
Stadium went well too.  I chose to trot most of the course, as a lot of it was on the left lead.  I rather trot the course and maintain Dreamy’s balance rather than make her canter badly.  I know we will probably never be able to accurately canter an entire stadium course in balance, but that’s OK.  I am still very happy with my retired broodmare!!  LOL!

First fence...

Last fence!  Quite the face!  LOL!
In the end, we remained in first place and won our (modified) Beginner Novice division!  I was very happy with my wonderful mare.  I would love to move her up to Beginner Novice, which is 2’7”, because I know we could handle the dressage but I am not sure I should ask her to jump four inches higher.  


My friend Tania had a great time, despite some bobbles on cross-country that resulted in elimination.  I think I have helped convert a new eventer to the dark side!  Yay!  

Tania warming up for XC....that's me on the right give moral support!
Yay!  Fun day!