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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

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 was patient and kind, and of course, she is pretty much an Ellie clone so everything that worked well with Ellie in the beginning of her training works well for Rejoice. 

Eventually Rejoice decided that maybe she didn't need to always GO FAST and throw her head straight in the air. She developed a "quarter halt" hahaha and is mostly on her way to having a true half halt at this point. I made sure her dressage and jump saddles are both well fitted to her. I experimented with bits until I found what seemed to work best for her (a turtle top beval by NS in case you are wondering!). I think she will always be easier to ride using the beval's bottom rein attachment because it allows me just a smidge more control without having to be too heavy with my half halts. Plus, we are never showing dressage so I don't care that the beval rings are illegal in the dressage ring.

yes, she's wearing a dressage number
Margaret and I pretended we were at a show
because, ya know, at this point we figured shows might not happen haha

So all of that is to say that by spring of 2020, I felt like Rejoice could probably handle being seen in public hahaha and I was looking for fun things to do in COVID times because I didn't know how much of a show season we would all have at all. Rejoice probably didn't need to have her own big adventure, but I thought she would enjoy it. Also, I have done versatility trail challenge things before in the past, and Rejoice seemed like she would be brave and capable. I figured if it went well, GREAT! If it was a disaster, NO PROBLEM. No pressure and no expectations other than having fun are my prerequisites with Rejoice.

Off we headed to a ride-reride trail challenge with Ellis River Riders. This club has been around for years, but I had never made the drive up. They have a lovely little show grounds with permanent stalls, a nice big riding ring, and an extensive trail system. It's such a gem and I only wish it were closer to me!

Rejoice was a little overwhelmed when we first got there, not having done much off the farm for many years. She was not naughty at all, just some pawing and then feeling very forward under saddle. Like she just did not want to do anything other than be in motion, so I let her walk and walk and walk until she decided that hanging out with the other riders/horses in our division by the in-gate to watch the riders before us was a good idea.

I have to say, though we practiced with a bunch of obstacles at home, Rejoice had to navigate obstacles she had never seen before. She really tried hard to do what I asked and nothing she did was unexpected or unsafe. I had to ride her into a huge hula hoop, halt and dismount, and then walk around her body and remount (mounting block provided haha). Rejoice was like oh hai mom where you goin i come tooo! which wasn't what she was supposed to do but it really wasn't a huge deal to me. I just walked reallyfast around her before she could move away haha. 

She also gave the life sized bull cut-out a HUGE stare down, but was willing to back up in the little three sided panel thing with it right behind her even though she thought I was making poor life choices by asking her for that. She stepped up on a tire/bank thing that I am 100% sure she has never done anything remotely like in her life without a thought just because I asked her. She did everything I asked but I am sure her eyes were popping out of her head the entire time. This is why I love this mare, because she is always up for something new, she's safe, and she is fun!

you can see the bull cut out thing in the background

*on high alert for more bulls*
Pssst, it's behind you, Rejoice

The cool thing about this trail challenge was after you went through the pattern, you got your score card back and had the opportunity to ask the judge questions before doing it again. Then they averaged our scores for an overall placing. The bad part was it took FOREVER for all the divisions before us to go through twice. But they fed us a yummy lunch and I met lots of nice folks, including two girls who literally live four miles down the road from me LOL! Rejoice and I did the novice division, which is the lowest division, and ended up in fifth in a big division of 10! WHOOT! For our first try, I was pretty impressed! We scored a 31.5 on our first attempt and a 42 on our second (out of a possible 75)! Plus it was so fun and laid back, even the more experienced novice riders  in our division were friendly and welcoming. I really liked that! And no one cared that I showed up with a dressage saddle haha.

she's so cute and looks so much like Ellie

yay smart pony!


  1. Aww what a good girl! That looks like a ton of fun! 😁

    1. So so so fun! It is cool to play with these obstacles at home too because it is such a fun change from the same old dressage circles (and circles and more circles) haha!

  2. What a fun challenge and what a good mare! I'm glad she gets to get out and have fun with you, and I love your low pressure attitude towards her.

    1. She is such a sweetheart and so fun/safe to ride. Rejoice is like riding for the pure fun of it because I put more pressure on myself bringing Ellie along. It's a perfect balance!


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