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Recapping 2019

I had many great horsey experiences in 2019!  I am really pleased with how the year went overall; nothing is ever perfect, but both horses are sound, happy, and healthy, which is really what matters to me.

Some of my 2019 goals were met easily or with lots of hard work, and a few of them were utter fails haha.  C'est la vie! Let's recap!

Happy, health, sound
Both mares are doing well in this regard!  Dreamy will be 29 this year, and while she definitely shows signs of her age at times, she overall looks and acts much younger than she really is!  Ellie has really matured this year, filling out as well as mentally becoming more comfortable in her own skin.  As she will be eight this year, I feel like we have moved through the baby phase.

Continue lessons with Beth and Babette
This goal was met and then some!  I took almost weekly dressage lessons with Beth and monthly jump lessons with Babette. Thanks to the Morgan Dressage Association scholarship, I was also able to attend two clini…

The First Show Season

I love when show dates start rolling in and I can create a new Google Doc with all shows and opening dates neatly color coded.  Yes, I am that person haha.  Normally, I have a very clear plan in my mind of what I want to do with whatever horse I am going to do it with.  But this year I have felt super overwhelmed because as much as I want to DO ALL THE THINGS, I have to remember that my horse is young and this will be her first show season.  There are literally close to fifty different shows I could do but obviously won't do them all haha. There are many Sundays that have two or even three shows on the same day and I have to choose what to do.  It comes down to what are my goals and what is my budget.

bored of the sn*w pics yet? haha
As much as my real love is eventing, with some dressage shows thrown in, that is just not what Ellie is ready for yet.  Our eventual goal is to do a handful of dressage shows and events each year, but that year is not now.  We jumped two ground pole courses and one cross rail course in our two little jumper shows last fall.  She has never schooled a XC fence, never mind a full course.  It is freaking freezing in Maine because winter doesn't want to leave and practicing a dressage test on a flat dirt surface at my barn may not occur until, well, May haha.  
hahaha sorry Ellie
eventually this will be mud
and maybe someday we can just ride on normal dry dirt ;-)
So my brain (which already works in overdrive) has been trying to make a solid plan (near impossible to do).  I like plans and ideas to keep me organized and grounded.  But heck, you do what you gotta do.

Here is what I do know:

I want to expose Ellie to lots of venues and get her out and about, but I don't want to overwhelm her.  She needs to learn this year that showing is fun not stressful.  So that means one, maybe two shows a month maximum.  Because we will be trailering out for lessons, getting her out to the two barns will help with her exposure.

I want to take as many lessons as I can, which means busy weekends and more money, which will cut into scheduling shows and the show budget itself.  Once summer break arrives, I can do lessons during the week.  But I want lessons to come first.

Dressage shows are a definite yes.  Two phases are doable once I get her into the dressage ring. Flat classes at open shows are boring as hell, but I can get her out and about.  

Here is where I get to overthinking:

Should I even bother with getting mileage at open shows with rail classes?  This is an easy way to expose a horse to showing before doing dressage tests, but do I want to bother (time, money...)?

Then there is the question of whether or not to stick to WT or do WTC.  Ellie can canter under saddle and it is quite good for her age, but obviously it is not perfect.  Could we do a Training level test or WTC rail class?  You bet.  But realistically, she should be in WT classes this year.  My thought is to start with Intro dressage classes/WT rail classes and move up later on if she feels ready.  I feel like I have been stuck in walk/trot forever, but obviously the last two show seasons were with Snappy, who needed to be there because her canter was so unbalanced.  Had she lived and stayed sound, maybe it would have improved?  My guess is no.
This photo makes me laugh because Dreamy is a full hand taller than Ellie, but because Ellie is pressed against her stall chain, she looks go much bigger.
So, I am tentatively looking at a little local schooling show with flat classes at the end of April and definitely her first dressage show in the middle of May.  Hopefully I can schedule a lesson or two in April now that the ice is gone from my driveway (for good?) and our vaccinations/Coggins are all updated.  It feels like it took forever to arrive, but show season is steadily approaching and I am so excited!  :-)


  1. Can you go to the schooling hunter shows and just ride her during warm ups? I'm looking to do this with Opie. It gets him off the property in a show environment without costing me any money. Not sure if you have any facilities around where that would be possible though.

    1. Yeah, probably, and that is a good idea! I think I would do at least one class ($20) to get her in the actual ring as well. The little hunter shows are at the same venue where they hold dressage schooling shows, so getting her into the ring (even without the dressage fence) will be helpful I think.

  2. lol your thought process sounds similar to mine : zomg i want to do allllll the thiiiiiings!!! but, oh, yea. green horse. limited time and money. and uh, yea we need lessons... so yea. haha.

    planning tho, i love it. it's such a fun phase to be in, tho for your sake i hope the next phase of winter ending and getting to actually put plans to action comes SOON! and probably once that starts, it'll be easier to figure out the right answers to some of your questions bc Ellie will let you know. like, rail classes could be great if she appears to worry in warm up ring situations bc it's a great way to practice that. but if she doesn't care? then yea, those classes are kinda boring anyway. wt vs wtc will also be easy enough to figure out once you've got solid enough footing to really test out her canter and canter circle buttons.

    regardless, tho, how exciting to be looking at only weeks instead of months before the beginning of Ms Ellie's season!!!

    1. Yes, it will definitely be easier to figure out what she needs once we actually try a few little things (other than the little schooling shows we did last fall at her previous home haha - she was totally unphased there!). I feel like we can easily start at WT Intro classes and move up anytime she is ready. I don't want to rush her, of course, but I also want to be sure she is where she should be.

      And I know, right?! SO MUCH EXCITEMENT.

  3. I have a google spreadsheet too. I am constantly looking at it, adding things, trying to figure out what I want to do. I'm also ready for show season to get going.

    1. It makes me feel organized and definitely helps not to double book with my husband's ox pulls!

  4. OH how fun it is going to be to follow along. And don't rule out the eventing just yet. I know here we have the tadpoles/xrails/tiny jumps called elementary! :) She could walk all over those so once you get her out and about find one or two of those fun schooling places just to take her out with a friend maybe? I have a feeling she will be fun to do that with. Cause Morgans. COME ON THEY DO IT ALL :) enjoy!I am so excited for you :)

    1. Oh yes, we have the tadpole level here, too! Just need to be sure we have done some schooling first because building her confidence is my priority! ;-) So, I am not putting it out there as a major goal for the year, BUT, I think we have a few XC schoolings under our belt we could easily try a three phase this fall! :-D

  5. Color coding plans in a spreadsheet?! Yes, yes please. Now my brain is stuck on the desire to do this right now lol.

    It's definitely a balance of Doing All the Things and Being Slow when having a youngster! Hard to find that happy middle ground sometimes but it sounds like you've got a GREAT plan in place for the year!

    1. Haha yeah, I love seeing it so organized! I am super excited to see what she thinks of being a Grown Up Horse this year! :-)

  6. While the rail classes will be worth it, just going to those shows and doing the warm up without showing might be just as valuable. I think it doesn't hurt to keep all the opportunities in your calendar (and color coding - you are a person after my own heart!) and then being flexible and rearranging it on the fly as you ruminate on the feedback she's giving you. It may end up being she doesn't really need to go to anymore shows with rail classes, it might be that she's ready to canter part way through the season.

    1. YES to everything you wrote! Exactly where my brain has finally landed after spending the entire winter overthinking everything. I want to do the right thing by her as a youngster, but that is so hard to know until we actually get started with all the things.


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