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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

Course Brook Farm Schooling Horse Trials - May 23, 2021

For our first horse trial of the year, I felt dropping down a level to Advanced Elementary was a solid decision. Babette agreed with me, and after several positive jump lessons through the spring, I felt confident and ready for the Course Brook schooling event in Massachusetts. 

Basically, the jumps are four inches shorter than Beginner Novice (2'3' instead of 2'7") and we had to ride BN Test A instead of BN Test B. The four inches don't seem like a lot, but my trepidation of Ellie's stopping behavior is still there. I am not scared or nervous, but it stresses me out when I do everything right and she will still choose to stop. Granted, there are times I forget to give after a half halt on the approach or forget to put my leg on, but there are definitely plenty of times when she just stops despite the fact I am doing everything "right".

Getting to Course Brook is a three hour haul, but I have now been there enough that the drive is not that bad. I actually left quite earlier than I needed to, which is not normal for me haha, thinking I might get a parking spot closer to Babette's trailer (she had a student riding much earlier than me). Thank goodness I did leave so early, because it just so happened a large section of I-95 in southern Maine was shut down due to a bad tractor trailer accident. We had to detour waaaaaaaay around and it added an extra 45 minutes to the drive, which was just about the same number of minutes early I had left the house. I think I would have missed dressage had I not been running so early, which is just crazy because I am never so early!

we won the fanciest hoof pick ever haha

But anyway, we did arrive with plenty of time to check in, get organized, and head over to dressage warm up. Ellie was actually quite good in the crowded and hectic warm up space, which was also super hot and dusty. After focusing so much on First 1 and 2, I admit I really didn't ride BN Test A as well as I could have, because I just sort of went in and did it instead of thinking about it as much as I think about my First level tests. But we still managed a 32.5 which was good enough for 5th place in a field of 11 riders, putting me 1.4 points behind the leader. No pics or video of dressage, but who wants to watch that anyway haha.

After I took care of Ellie, I walked the courses with Babette. She was coaching a bunch of other riders besides me, but I was the only one in AE that day. The XC was essentially just a bunch of logs, the water, and a little house as the final jump but there were some tricky approaches. It was kind of nice to have a technical course to ride since it made me really think as I rode instead of just thinking straightforward logs were easy. This video is the last fence!

Show jump was also a decent course with a six stride related distance we did in 7 and an easy bending line. This level does not allow combinations, so definitely a simple course for us. Babette videoed the entire course for me.

Going clear in both XC and show jumping moved us up from 5th to 3rd! Yay! It was the perfect confidence building ride for a spring HT. Everything felt easy and Ellie felt rideable and confident. Our XC round was just fabulous where I felt like I could ask her to move forward but easily get her canter back to bouncy and balanced before each fence. She jumped just about every XC fence out of stride, just finding the perfect distance because of the decent canter every time. I still felt that little nagging doubt of well sure, you did fine at AE but this isn't BN. Regardless of my ridiculous inner voice, it was exactly what I needed to start the eventing season of 2021!