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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 …

SMDA Dressage Show #3 - July 17, 2011

While Reva took the month of July off from showing, Dreamy stepped up in her place!  We entered an SMDA affiliated dressage show hosted by the SPHO-Maine on Sunday July 17. 

I decided to ramp it up a little by entering Prix Caprilli, First 1, and First 2, as we had done back at the second SMDA show in June.  Instead of raining, it was sweltering HOT.  It was super hot, up into the 90s and they actually waived jackets.  Phew!

We rocked the Prix Caprilli class again, our third win!  This time there were five riders and we scored a 66.600%.  Lots of 7s and 6s with two 8s (one on our entry centerline and the other on the, you guessed it, free walk!)  Our comment was "well ridden".  :-D  Prix Caprilli is seriously the BEST dressage test ever!!

First 1 was an OK test.  I remember being very hot and Dreamy was sluggish.  It was almost all 6s, with one 7 and one 5, and we scored a 60%!  LOL!  We placed third out of 11 riders.  The judge remarked "capable pair that needs to develop steadier more elastic connection for improved balance throughout".  

And First 2 was tough.  We were both pretty tired from the heat and I think I did a less-than-10-minute warmup!  Dreamy decided see knew the test better than I did, so when we were transitioning down to the trot from the canter to do a stretchy trot circle, she decided to randomly canter again!  :-P  Foolish mare!  We got a four on that transition.  HA HA HA.  She leaned on me in the canter and therefore had a much harder time coming up and through, so our canter work was mostly 5s and a 6.  We got decent scores on our half circles and leg yields though, which was good (6s and 7s).  The judge was encouraging with a "Rider working well to help horse in canter.  Keep working at suppling him and good luck!"  We scored a 57.900% and a sixth out of 7 riders.  I was happy with the test, knowing that the heat was not helping and we had ridden the best test for that moment. 

Just yesterday (over a month later), I received a champion neck sash in the mail for this show!  Yay!  Because it was hosted by the Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization of Maine (SPHO-ME), they awarded the highest scoring Standardbred.  There were two Standardbreds there and Dreamy was champion!  Good mare!!  :-)