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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…

Ashley Madison clinic - November 30 & December 1, 2019

Ellie and I closed out our busy 2019 season with a dressage clinic with USDF Gold medalist  Ashley Madison of Yellow Wood Dressage at Hidden Brook Farm (where I take lessons).  Almost exactly a year ago, I rode with her for the first time; this year I was able to ride both weekend days thanks to my Morgan Dressage Association scholarship!

Ashley had not seen Ellie in a year, so she was suitably impressed with the progress we have made.  I really like being able to ride in a two-day clinic as it seems to help solidify what you learned the first day by being able to practice it again immediately (at least immediately in my mind as someone who takes weekly lessons haha).

I was also lucky to ride in a later afternoon lesson on Saturday and then Ellie spent the night at HB Farm and I rode in the second lesson on Sunday morning.  It was so much easier to only truck her up and back home once, plus Ellie LOVES being at HB Farm haha.

Riding with Ashley helped me better understand our September clinic with Georges, and OH MY WORD we had a real breakthrough in creating straightness within the bend.  

Ashley had me ride Ellie in a sligh counter flex at times and it finally FINALLY clocked on how to finesse the outside shoulder to maintain straightness.  It is one thing to know how to do this in my brain, but when it all finally comes together under saddle and the horse feels AH-MAZING, I feel like we are finally truly just starting to understand this whole dressage thing together hahaha.
it was SO COLD
Ellie had frozen icicles on her chin and
I couldn't feel my face or legs after our Saturday lesson lol
Winter in Maine is fun (not)
One thing Ashley repeated to me over and over was, "Ride the channel" meaning to continually create a channel with my aids, to funnel (or channel) the energy from behind and to the connection and bit.  It was incredible to finally be able to ride forward into the connection and truly feel the connection being created by the hind leg!  Ellie is still unsure and not 100% confident with this idea, but the fact that she is now finally starting to get it about 90% of the time is just the best feeling to end the year with; of course, now I am BUMMED OUT that it is our downtime, as I just want to keep riding and keep improving lol!  

Ellie is a hot little mare with a big engine, which I have always joked I need to channel for good and not evil hahaha!  She has taught me a lot about tact without throwing it all away or being too lenient.  And on the second day of our ride, all of a sudden, all the work Beth has done with us came together, the lightbulb went off, and I felt as though I was finally riding like a "real" dressage rider on a "real" dressage horse!  I mean, that sounds silly and overly emotional, but to have started her myself as a super uncertain green bean who could barely steer and to have everything come together so well was addicting and overwhelming in a lovely way!



I giggled like a little kid on Christmas morning several times LOL!  We were able to carry this through to all transitions, especially the trot to canter (which has been our sticky transition all year) to maintain the best, most balanced canter I have felt with Ellie so far!

Ellie and I have grown so much in our partnership this year, and to have two solid rides with Ashley to round out the year was really great.  I am so excited to see where we go from here, and I actually feel confident about First Level in 2020!  There were times I thought we would be stuck at Training 3 for the rest of our lives hahaha.

I have some great video that Beth took for me, but I have no had a moment to upload any of it.  I will try to get all the clips together into one video soon!  It's just a little busy around here right now at school and at home hahaha.  ;-)

Huge shoutout to Morgan Dressage Association for providing me with this scholarship.  The clinic with Ashley (and the one with Georges) definitely was a good use of this educational opportunity!

Comments

  1. Awe....those moments are what it is all about and you have certainly put the time and energy to deserve to feel that pride.

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