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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 tra…

2011 in Review

In an effort to not feel so blah about blogging, I figured I would copy my fellow bloggers who do yearly reviews.  So here you are....Standardbred Excellence for the year 2011!


January
The new year began with a recap of my horse goals.  I complained about riding in the winter in the Northeast and shared a book review with you.  I hit my 300th post, won a blog award, shared more video from WEG,  and applauded the USEF helmet rule.  Oh, and it hit -19 degrees here in Maine.  Somehow I have blocked that memory until just rereading that post!  Ahhh!


February
I reported out on the Maine Dressage Society banquet, which is always something to look forward to during the dreary months of winter.  I had fun with my friend Tania at Dover Saddlery and discussed the topic of "red snow" as it relates to horse husbandry.  Reva earned her own stall plate, at the request of a reader I talked about my Morgan's relatives, and I reveled in my little Standardbred featured in the 2010 USDF Yearbo…

PRODUCT REVIEW: The Water Bucket Cozy

I have had the opportunity to test out the Water Bucket Cozy over the last week.  I wanted something that might not freeze the buckets quite so solid but without any electricity.  It retails for $42.95 at SmartPak which is pretty decent since a heated bucket is about the same price.


When I opened the package, the Cozy was like a big poofy jacket for a bucket.  LOL!  It came with nice little instructions and only took me a moment to figure out how to put it onto the bucket.  It went on easily and has stayed very clean and neat over the last eight days.


So far I am loving it!  I am using it for Sparky, as she is very good about not destroying things.  I moved the top cover out a bit so that the opening is larger for her to get used to it.  The company does recommend adding 4 cups of hot water to increase insulation but so far I am just filling it normally from the barn spigot.  I think that as the winter continues into the "deep freeze" I will add the recommended hot water.  But…

Looking to buy a nice western bridle?

I am selling a western bridle on eBay...check it out!  If you know someone who might be interested, please share the link with them!  Thank you!





Merry (Very Belated) Christmas!

As much as I tried to get in a blog post before Christmas, it just didn't happen.  Oh well!  Here are some fun pics from right before Christmas.  I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, no matter which one(s) you celebrate!!





Update and musings...

I always find that after I blog continuously for a month I need a break.  LOL!  And truthfully nothing exciting is happening around here right now.  I have had a bunch of little ideas for posts but nothing that seemed worthy to write on its own.  So here is a little bit of everything with very little coherence.  LOL!


We are having the oddest winter so far; it has been warm and MUDDY and just recently has gotten very cold and the ground froze up.  I am trying hard to get the mares out 2-3 times a week each, but there have been days I wanted to ride and it was just too muddy.  Over the weekend it was a bit too frozen.  Oh well!  Maybe it will snow (which I hate but it is better than the frozen rutted ground!) and then I can ride in the snow as long as the ice stays away.  


It is funny to me that over the spring and summer I would ride both mares each day and at the end, in my fatigue, would think, "Soon it will be winter and we can have some downtime!"  Of course, now that it is…

NaBloPoMo - I did it!

I did it!  Thirty posts in thirty days...well actually, it was 32 posts!  :-D




I am not sure what made me want to do the NaBloPoMo challenge this year.  Part of me wanted to see if I could actually do it, part of me wanted to be like other blogger friends who have done this in the past, and part of me just thought it would look cool to put an icon like the one above on my blog!  LOL!  :-p


I do not think I would have been as successful had I not used the prompts each day.  There were some that I did not like writing as much as others, but overall it was not bad.  There are times when I have so much to write about and then other times I feel like I have the most boring life ever; writing something along the lines of, "Well, I fed the horses, mucked stalls, and had two good rides today" just seems silly to do every single day.  There are times when whatever I am doing for training under saddle with the mares is just not that interesting.  

Obviously it is easier in the spring, summ…

NaBloPoMo Day #30

Day #30 - A photo (or two!) of my horse being herself


Reva
Dreamy


Sparky

NaBloPoMo Day #29

Day #29 - One thing my horse did that really affected me


Reva
Bringing Reva to her first ever off-farm experience in 2010 really made me proud.  It was the first time I really asked her to completely trust me and I was excited to see that she did.  It gave me confidence that I was on the right track with her and a glimpse at how she might act at other off-farm environments.  She was such a quick learner and really did "all the right things".  Of course, her first show was pretty gratifying too, but the prompt says one thing.  ;-)
Dreamy
Out of all the experiences we have had, I would say my trip to the World Equestrian Games and Dreamy's USDF success stands out to me the most.  2010 was a huge year for us.  I know there were other more poignant moments with Dreamy, but riding at WEG, earning good dressage scores and ultimately our All-Breed national championships was such a hard earned goal for me.  It was surreal to truck my horse to Kentucky last September and be a part of…

NaBloPoMo Day #28

Day #28 - The current status of my horse's training


Reva
Reva is the least trained of my horses, with only seven months of under saddle training.  She is solid walk/trot, while her canter is coming along.  She will pick up the left lead without issue but the right lead only about 80% of the time.  She understands how to reach into the connection with the bit and has a pretty decent rhythm as long as she stays relaxed.  Her relaxation is an issue at times though and she is currently resisting true straightness/ bend/shoulder fore.  When she resists, she gets quick.  She hold her tension in her jaw, specifically her TMJ, and will grind her teeth.  She will get a complete chiropractic work-up this spring, or maybe even earlier.  (Her teeth are done every 6 months and were just floated at the end of September...)  There are moments of absolute brilliance, where her trot becomes amazing and she is so soft in the bridle.  And there are moments of garbage too...LOL!  I have to remind mysel…

NaBloPoMo Day #27

Day #27 - Any horses I may have considered instead of my horse


Reva
Choosing to own Reva was sort of a ridiculous impulsive decision.  I had received two emails about her from my friend Helene and fell in love with her photos.  I knew I wanted a young horse in the future, but I did not think the future was that day in July 2009.  LOL!  Oh well.  I am glad I own her but did not consider any horse instead of her.  

Dreamy
I looked for a number of weeks for an older retired Standardbred that needed a home back in early 2003 when I decided to bring my mare Sparky home.  I figured I could find something older with issues that needed a home and could be a companion for Sparky.  I called and emailed about many different mares through a local Standardbred forum, but none of them sounded like anything I really wanted, so I never met any of them.  I found out through Sparky's massage therapist (at the time) that Dreamy needed a home, and having known her for years since she lived at a farm near…

NaBloPoMo Day #26

Day #26 - The conditions my horse lived in before I got her


Reva
Reva lived at Showplace Farm in NJ before I got her.  She was with John Duer, son of Carter Duer of Peninsula Farm in KY.  I actually have a photo of her in her stall at Showplace (below)!  She was well taken care of by my friend Rob who was her groom!  (I totally creeped this photo from Rob's Facebook page.  Ha ha ha)




Dreamy
Dreamy lived at a private farm in Wells, ME before I got her.  She was taken care of and had her own small paddock.  But I can't say she was spoiled like she is here!


Sparky
Sparky had the worst living situation of my three mares.  She was at a private home in Weeks Mills, ME when we bought her.  She was chained in a straight stall with no bedding, hay, or water but lots of manure!  There were chickens all throughout the barn and lots of chicken poop on her back.  :-(  She was not quite up to proper weight and it was as close to a rescue as possible without really being a rescue.  It was a bad sit…

NaBloPoMo Day #25

Day #25 - A common misconception about my horse


Oh, this is an easy one!  :-D  There are WAY TOO MANY misconceptions about the Standardbred.


Standardbreds do not make good show horses.  FALSE!
Of course not!  Just take a look around this blog here!  :-D  Standardbreds can be retrained for many different disciplines.  The neat thing about Standardbreds is that you can find them in many different sizes and shapes, so you are bound to find one that can jump, or do dressage, or turn barrels, or cut cows...or do it all!  Standardbreds are incredibly versatile and enjoying having a job!  They are general very well behaved at shows as they have "seen it all" at the track.


Standardbreds cannot canter.  FALSE!
They are trained on the track to NOT canter, so it is not as much a physical limitation but a mental block.  Generally once they understand you WANT them to canter, they have a very easy time learning to balance and produce a decent canter.  Of course, some horses might have physica…

NaBloPoMo Day #24

Day #24 - Where I was in my horsemanship before I got my horse


I started riding at age 6 and became the proud owner of my first horse Sparky in January of 1993 when I was 13.  I was a confident young rider at that point, walk/trot/canter and jump.  I did not have a ton of experience with different horses but I think I was a pretty decent rider.  I spent two years prior leasing a very hot Morgan mare named Tiffany, who taught me how to be a tactful yet effective rider.  Sparky taught me patience and the importance of trust.  


Dreamy came into my life much later, in 2003.  Hmm..I just noticed that it was ten years after I got Sparky; actually it was ten years and four months.  ;-)  By the time I got Dreamy, I had been through college where I rode different horses multiple times a week in the equestrian program.  All of my elective credits were earned in the equine program and I actually have a minor in equine studies.  I don't think I would have been as confident in training Dreamy my…

NaBloPoMo Day #23

Day #23 - Any competing I do with my horse


I love to show and any regular readers of my blog know I do a lot of competing.  Dressage shows, open pleasure shows, three and two phase events, versatility challenges, I love them all.  I have shown at schooling shows, USDF rated shows, "AA" rated shows and everything in between.  I have shown all over New England and have gone to New Jersey for the last four years to attend the National Standardbred Show.  I don't need to bore you with all the details of all the many places I have shown!


In many ways, showing helps motivate me.  My tack is cleaner when I show too!  LOL!  ;-)  Being at home with no one to ride with (unless I make specific plans) can be difficult to keep focused.  It is too easy to take a day off from riding if I am tired and no one is there encouraging me to ride with them, so knowing I have to prepare for a show helps keep me motivated to ride six days a week.  I like having challenges and setting goals with my…

NaBloPoMo Day #22

Day #22 - What specific disciplines do I do with my horse?


I grew up doing dressage and eventing, with some pleasure shows in there as well.  But in the last two years I apparently have gotten bored, because I have tried western on both my Standardbreds and saddleseat this past year on Reva. (Damn those MHA shows I have been going to where I have met Saddlebred and Hackney friends!  LOL!  ;-)  I really want to try team penning some day and I am DEFINITELY going foxhunting next year!


So specifically, I am a dressage and event rider, but I also like to have fun and make my horses versatile.  A good horse is a good horse, regardless of what seat you ride.  I am not a snob when it comes to breeds or disciplines.  It is actually pretty fun to bring along four saddles and four outfits to a show!  Ha ha ha.  


Reva
In her one year of showing, she did in-hand (hunter and western), showmanship, equitation, hunter under saddle and over fences, western, trail, dressage, and saddleseat.  Whew!


Dreamy
Sh…

2011 MHA Banquet

The Maine Horse Association year end banquet was this past Saturday night.  It was a very fun evening with three of my horsey girlfriends, Tania, Shelly, and Katie!  And of course we got to see all of our MHA show buddies too!


Reva and Dreamy both won year end awards from MHA this year!  


Dreamy
Reserve ChampionTraining level dressage - 67.275%
Reserve Champion First level dressage -  61.99%


Reva 
Champion Introductory level dressage -  65.945%
Recipient of the Standardbred Pleasure Challenge Trophy
Champion Standardbred 2-Gait Pleasure
Champion Standardbred In-Hand
Reserve Champion English Horse In-Hand


The dressage divisions and English Horse In-Hand were open to all breeds.  I am super proud of them both!  Not bad for Reva's first year showing...and having only been under saddle for seven months (with about 30 rides before that!)  I am already excited for 2012!




NaBloPoMo Day #21

Day #21 - How my horse responds to different environments
For the most part, all three of my horses respond calmly to new environments.  I am lucky to own horses with good minds.  Sparky was always pretty chill when I took her somewhere new and I never had to worry much about her.  We showed all over the place and she was normally the same horse at home as she was at a show or on the trail.

Dreamy is very calm too, but the transition from the dressage warm up ring to the competition ring used to be a problem for her.  I think much of it was because I would get tense.  We would sometimes leave our best ride in the warm up.  But we have not had an issue with that for the last two years.  Dreamy has been all over the place with me, from the quiet Acadia National Park trails, to the electric atmosphere at WEG 2010, to horse shows all over New England, to the harness racing tracks, to the Maine beaches.  She might look around in a new environment but stays smart and I have had few problems. …

NaBloPoMo Day #20

Day #20 - How my horse was trained


Reva and Dreamy
No one ever sat on Dreamy before me and only one person (my friend Helene) had ever sat on Reva...and it was for a bareback pony ride around the NJ farm.  Both of my Standardbreds were trained by me, an adult amateur who does well only because she works her a** off.  ;-)  I would never make it as a horse trainer and I am OK with that.  I have to work hard to figure out my timing and feel, and I take lessons as much as I can to make sure I am headed in the right direction.  I had started Dreamy under saddle for about a year before I started regular lessons with her; thankfully I have been taking lessons on Reva all along.  I ride both of them dressage 95% of the time, but will put jumping tack on Dreamy to jump (which is never more than once a week) and was riding Reva saddleseat a handful of times this past summer in order to show.  I take dressage lessons as well.  I personally feel that a dressage foundation will allow a horse to purs…