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Showing posts from May, 2021

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

RABT Fall Cross Country Derby - September 27, 2020

Through September, I felt as though Ellie and I had overcome most of our major challenges. This is not to say things were suddenly perfect, and I certainly did stupid things like forget to put my leg on at times, but Babette had helped me learn how to balance her before a jump so 1. Ellie stopped fussing and could SEE the jump and 2. I could put my leg on because she wasn't rushing at the fence. I stopped allowing myself to be fooled by the fact she would take me to the fence and feel so forward and then surprisingly grind to a stop. It wasn't a true forward and it was too unbalanced. I learned how to set the canter pace and use leg to ask her to go forward at the base. It sounds so much easier when I write it out, but honestly it took me some time as a rider to really iron this out with Ellie. So, with that newfound confidence, we entered the Fall XC Derby at Rest & Be Thankful (RABT), the farm where we take our jumping lessons. I was excited to give BN another try on a co

Progress and a New Saddle

By mid September, Ellie and I had started to get ourselves together. It wasn't perfect, but it felt so much better to have put in the time, sweat, and tears to begin to move past our issues with stopping. I felt really discouraged for most of the summer, so moving through that was huge. Of course, my rides at Green Acres and Esprit in August had still contained stops, but our lessons were where we really showed improvement.  when you ask your small child to take a photo of you on your horse and he wants a selfie, too  I took Ellie down one day to the farm where Babette was based out of for years called Gathering Farm (she is now at a new barn because Gathering sold over the winter). It was an opportunity to take a lesson over fences in a new place, so while it wasn't totally like a show, it was nice to jump in that environment. And can I just say that Hamilton, MA is such beautiful horse country! It is home to Myopia Hunt as well as many other lovely barns like Ledyard Farm. Ba

Ellis River Riders Versatility Trail Challenge #3 - September 12, 2020

Rejoice and I attended the third and versatility challenge of the 2020 series in September and had another great day. She exceeded my expectations, improved her scores yet again, and handled every obstacle like a pro. It was so worth finding something to do together to increase our bond, and the ribbons were just a fun bonus!  We placed sixth out of 12 with a 54.2 out of a possible 70 points! Our best score yet! Each obstacle is worth a possible 0 to 5 points. This last try we had our first fives! In fact, we earned four 5s, one for the ground tie and remount, another for the judged trot across the ring, another for the noodle gate, and one for the milk jug drag. I was under the impression the club did year end awards for versatility, but alas they did not. In fact, they really only seemed to do year ends for their gaming shows, so even though I didn't go into this expecting a year end, once I ended up completing all three and actually placing well, I looked into their website and

Course Brook Farm USEA Horse Trials - September 5, 2020

This was the event where Babette was to ride Ellie to give her (and I) confidence around show jump and XC. It was super weird for me to have my horse at an event but not be her rider! But I was so excited for this and knew it would be good for me to see. I also literally had just gotten a new saddle that week before this show and LOVED IT so much. So Babette was the first one to compete in it haha.  Ellie was great in the huge and chaotic dressage warm up. Babette rode her conservatively, which was fine. She never really got her over her back though (not an issue since she was there to jump the mare and not get some outstanding dressage score) and that meant her free walk was non existent haha. But it didn't matter as they put in a respectable test and were sitting 4th out of a BN division of 11 riders. The SJ and XC courses all looked good to me, except honestly there was one fence on XC I was really glad Babette was going to be dealing with instead of me. The farm has a random sm

Esprit Equestrian Center 2-Phase - August 23, 2020

After the mostly successful but still a lot of refusals event at Green Acres two weeks earlier, I decided to take Ellie out to a local 2-phase for another experience over fences. I knew we could get eliminated, but the point was to get her out and get her over everything for my own confidence. And when I put my leg on I had to mean it.  Dressage was status quo with a 36.67 and the comment nicely forward but needs to be more supple, tight today . It is not a great indoor in which to do a calm dressage test, so we had some tension issues we normally do not have. But whatever, I was here to jump not worry about a dressage score. still cute above the kick boards on each long side are stalls all the horses are left inside and it is noisy Ellie is just short enough she cannot see anything over the walls but she hears and reacts to everything. T his is not just an Ellie issue - lots of riders are not fond of riding tests in this indoor (they do have an outdoor but don't use it for small a

Ellis River Riders Versatility Trail Challenge #2 - August 22, 2020

Because we had SO much fun at the May versatility challenge, Rejoice and I went back for the second one in August! Again, she was a super star and we had a solid ride. This time I dragged Margaret along with me haha and she took lots of pics! warming up and Rejoice was MUCH calmer this time she figured out how nice it is to just chill instead of being so forward we practiced A LOT over tarps but she was still suspicious of the half barrels haha this was a scary blob of milk jugs we had to drag from one pole bending pole to another it actually made a few of the horses spook and riders even fell off Rejoice had never done anything like this before and she NAILED IT ps- she was staring at the bull cut out that was set OUTSIDE the ring at the far corner hahaha she's a pro at gates and helped with her nose on this one 😂 she would NOT step on even one of these little raised bridges in May but this time she marched up and over three of them without blinking BEST MARE EVER I was ridiculou

Green Acres Schooling HT - August 15, 2020

Again, before I recap this show and why we did it, I need to give some training background. After the not-so-good TE at CourseBrook's USEA event,  Babette rode Ellie and we made some decisions. Ellie was stopping at fences with me because I did not always put my leg on, yes. However, in riding Ellie, Babette was able to realize that there were times that everything was "correct" and Ellie would still stop. She was fussing and flipping her head up at half halts before a fence that there were times she legit did not even see the fence until the very last moment. Then we had the OMG A FENCE surprise stop that even Babette wasn't prepared for.  Huh. I nervously worried aloud that maybe it was because she had an eyesight issue? No, as Babette was able to show me, when Ellie accepted the balancing half halt before the fence, saw the fence, and you were able to then put your leg on, she was fine. Like amazingly fine. Ellie had been jumping in the NS beval, so Babette had me

Hidden Brook Farm Team Dressage Show - August 9, 2020

Our third attempt at First level was at the August "team" show at HBF. This is always a fun show because not only do we get to ride and be scored on our tests, we are also put into teams ahead of time for an overall team score as well. Complete with neck sashes and a white polo awards ceremony, this is always a highlight of summer showing! Ellie and I had some serious growing pains with First Level in 2020, which is probably fitting in the Year of the Dumpster Fire that was 2020 haha. However, it gave me space to figure things out, with the help of Beth of course, and just sticking with First 1 and showing at HBF. This August show was a clear step in the right direction and helped me to remember that progress is not linear just because you want it to be. Training an opinionated young horse teaches much more than just horsemanship.  Our first ride was a 61.2069% with our typical unbalanced bobbles in the canter and difficulty with submission. Our reride was a bit better with a

Ellis River Riders Versatility Trail Challenge - July 25, 2020

So you need a little background before I talk about this trail challenge thing! Throughout 2020, I put some time and effort into riding Ellie's dam, Rejoice. She never had consistent training when she was younger and then she spent several years just being a broodmare, so while I did not (and still do not) have any lofty goals for this mare, I did want to enjoy her as a pleasure horse. Mostly because she is safe and sweet and seems to enjoy getting out and about.  she is the BEST trail horse and will go anywhere I ask! being all majestic, I guess But when I first started riding her the fall of 2019, I realized I had my work cut out for me LOL! She didn't understand my seat, she was used to being completely ridden off her face/bit (owner just before me rode her in a tie-down/draw rein combo), and had zero half halt. Like we called it a 1/16th halt haha. early April 2020 I took my time, reminded her about how inside leg to outside rein works, and never used any devices on her. I