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Wentworth Hunter Pace - June 6, 2021

After Margaret and I had such a fun time at the fall hunter pace, we opted to go again this spring! This time, while I rode Rejoice again, Margaret rode her horse Jester and had a friend ride Ladyhawke. All Kennebec Morgans!! Jester and Rejoice have the same dam and Jester and Lady share the same sire. Unfortunately instead of a lovely late spring day, we had one of the first intensely hot and humid days of the year. It was definitely a bummer, but the ride was mostly in the shade of the woods and we had a great time!  most of the fences were 3' coops but we found a small log and this hay to jump haha Until we didn't. 😑 We brought along a third friend who rode Margaret's older mare, Ladyhawke. She's a good rider but hasn't known Ladyhawke for very long and didn't realize how much of a cranky boss mare she could be at times. She kicked Jester right in the front leg just about halfway through the ride, and while the cut itself ended up not being a big deal in the

Hidden Brook Farm Dressage Schooling Show - June 2, 2019

Ellie and I did a show at our lesson barn this past weekend instead of taking a lesson.  I would have done a lesson on Saturday before the show, but my instructor went to NEDA Spring with her eldest daughter, who was able to get her last Grand Prix score for her USDF Gold Medal!!!  So that is a good reason to not be able to lesson haha.

I admit I was a little bummed about our low scores at the SMDA show two weeks prior.  I know a score of 6 (60%) is called satisfactory, but I really thought our performance was better than a low 60%.

I was determined to ride well and even though Beth was not there, I had her youngest daughter as my back up if the wheels fell off the bus LOL!  She was already in the warmup and at the show ring with her actual students, so it was nice to have her there to remind me to breathe and not hang on the left rein!  ;-)

Ellie unloaded and was totally calm.  Honestly, she loves her lesson barn and knows it is her second home haha.  She was much calmer tied to the trailer than she had been at our first two shows this year, so that was encouraging.  I know it is because she is so comfortable there, but it was a good confidence boost for us both.  It was a dreary, damp day and I hoped the rain would hold off; I had worn my old boots and really old white breeches (that have already been rained on once - hence the reason I have saved them for rainy show days) just in case we got a shower.
a barn friend videoed both tests but has yet to send them to me :-(
so here is a screenshot from the 6-second clip my son took of us coming around
to go up centerline lol
I opted to warm up in the indoor, not only because of the threatening rain but also because I knew we would have a good mindset in the indoor.  It is comfortable and familiar, and we have not been up to the show ring warm up (next to the show ring) yet this year.  Ellie was super calm and happy and after lots of stretchy walk work, it didn't take long to get her into a lovely swinging trot.  I really REALLY did not want to win the warm-up haha, but I felt really good about how she was feeling.  Once I felt ready to canter, I asked for the left lead and she STEPPED INTO IT WITHOUT ANY THEATRICS.  It was so amazing, I only cantered once in each direction hahaha.  I was ready to walk up to the show ring when it started to DOWNPOUR.  Uggggg.  I am not a fan of showing in the rain.

So I puttered around and did a little lateral work in the walk, hoping the rain would subside.  The only other rider in the indoor was the one right before me, and I had decided to walk up with her to give Ellie confidence.  That rider was having a "conversation" with her horse, so thankfully by the time she was ready to walk up, the rain had stopped!  Talk about luck!  You have to walk through the barnyard and over a little stream to get up to the ring, and I did not want Ellie to get silly and snorty. 
To my happy surprise, besides giving the manure truck the hairy eyeball (like always), Ellie marched right up to the ring, leading the way.  The rider before me had to go straight into the show ring, as we had waited so long in the warm-up.  I took the opportunity to do some walk and trot around and dared to canter once more.  Again, we nailed both leads and the canter itself was smooth and calm.  I decided that was enough and made my way over towards the ring.

As soon as the rider did her last salute, I started around the outside of the ring.  I wanted Ellie to see the judge and scribe, so we trotted up, halted and chatted, and then I started to trot again.  She definitely took a look to see who was in the judge's booth, but she was calm.  The judge rang the bell just as we came around by F, so we turned left and went right in for the test.

Overall, it was a great test!  We had some tension in the right trot circle as Ellie was resisting stepping into the outside rein and I was DETERMINED to not start pulling her with my left rein.  Our left trot work and left lead canter were LOVELY (even earning that actual comment "lovely!" and a bunch of 8s.  I was so happy and actually smiling the entire ride.  
But of course, I lost my concentration right at the end.  We trotted by the judge at C to start cantering in the corner between C and M (the first quarter of the circle, but I take advantage of the corner if needed haha), and I let my guard down aka I didn't ride the entire transition.  I knew immediately she had picked up the wrong lead (all my fault) because I had abandoned her, but I am so proud that we were able to nicely fix it before X!  So nicely, in fact, that we still scored a 6 on that canter circle (I am not sure what the judge was thinking since I went back to trot and cantered on the correct lead as we touched at X, but whatever LOL!  Should have been a 4 all day long!).  The rest of the circle and test were good, and we ended up winning the test out of four with a 66.15%.  Other than the fact we scored way too high on the botched lead, I think the test and score was a perfect example of what we are currently capable of in a show situation! 

I only had four riders before my next test, so I opted to stay in the warm-up.  I chatted with my fellow barn friends, I studied Training 2, and I did a little more canter work.  My goal was to just get both leads again in a relaxed manner and do a stretchy trot circle.  She did a lovely right lead canter and stretchy trot circle afterward, like in the test.  However, Ellie had a moment when I asked her to pick up the left lead and she started to strike off on the wrong one, but I quickly corrected her.  I was suitably impressed with myself for catching it and correcting it so quickly, but Ellie was not.  In fact, she bucked an ENORMOUS buck after relenting to picking up the correct lead.  Everyone saw it and one rider remarked that she couldn't believe I stayed on haha.  But besides Ellie's opinion on my correction (which was kind and fair though she didn't appreciate it haha), the canter was nice!  I made her do the upward transition again and it was perfect, so we ended there.  We had a few minutes to walk around and it was time for our second test!

This test was much more relaxed and flowing.  We nailed all the leads correctly, had a really good 7 stretchy trot, and she was much better in the trotwork to the right.  She had one moment of irritation after the left trot circle at E; you are supposed to go into the corner and do a trot change of rein from F-X-H.  Ellie has determined that after a trot circle we pick up the canter in the corners, so she stepped into the canter as we were turning at F.  WHOOPS.  I could feel it coming and I wanted to be subtle about my correction so she didn't throw her head in the air.  It wasn't perfect, but she only had a bobble instead of breaking into a full-fledged canter.  Once we came around past the judge, she was still anticipating the canter, so I made SURE to ride it correctly (it is the same last movement as Training 1).  We nailed it and I knew this test was so much better.  Even the BO's daughter and a fellow lesson mate commented on how GOOD this test was.

Interestingly enough, we ended up with a 63.79%, but I thought was much lower than the test actually felt, but I am still thrilled.  We did win this test as well.  I feel so much more confident than I did in May; I no longer feel as though Training 3 is a reach for us.  Ellie is much stronger with the bending in the trot serpentine when we practice it (the only real difference between T2 and T3 is the serpentine), so I honestly think we can do it sooner than I think.  Our next two dressage shows are in July, and I already sent in the entries for Training 1 and Training 2 (one is a rated show!), so I will aim to do Training 3 in August!  


  1. Congratulations! She is such a cool horse and your partnership is wonderful.

  2. Great job!! Sounds like your lessons and hard work are paying off! I'm sure you will kill it at the shows in July! :-)

  3. look at you guys go. So proud of you guys!! YAY

  4. You two are really blossoming together!


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