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She's Not a Baby Anymore!

Early spring saw some immediate changes in how Ellie carried herself and our dressage work started to truly improve.  There had been times last year where flat work felt like a fight and I wondered to myself if she was ever going to just relax and listen to me haha.

Thankfully, as the title suggests, Ellie has suddenly grown up in front of my eyes.  We have had some really stellar lessons lately, where I feel like I am suddenly able to make things click.  We also had an incredibly frustrating dressage lesson a few weeks ago where Ellie was in rip-roaring peeing heat (not normal for her) and we worked through 45 minutes of her refusing to bend right.  So, ya know, as much as she is improving, she is still an opinionated redheaded mare!  ;-)

But, I have to give her credit because she is really working her little butt off for me!  Sadly, I had not been able to schedule in a jump lesson before our first three-phase, which led to me riding her ridiculously backward at a slow trot the entire …

2013 Family Fun Day at Scarborough Downs

On August 11, 2013, Snappy and I headed to Scarborough Downs for a day of marshaling the races.  It was her first time back to the track since she retired in December of 2012.  I knew she would be a little nervous and "up", but I also knew that she is a good level-headed mare and we would have a great time.



Snappy spent the week mulling over her wardrobe selection.  In the end, she chose her racing colors...  ;-)



When we first arrived, she was jumping out of her skin a little.  She was a bit antsy while tacking her up, but I was just super no nonsense and got into the saddle as quickly as I could.  I took her immediately out onto the track and we jogged around the outside back mile track to get her mind on straight.  She was super looky and forgot most of her good dressage basics, but that is OK.  

The funny thing about taking a Standardbred back to track, at least in my opinion and experience, is that they are usually "confused" about what they are expected to do.  They are used to a specific routine, which does NOT include being tacked up near the grandstand (they are harnessed in the paddocks), being ridden (they are driven in races!), or leading the post parade but NOT actually racing.  So this confusion leads to nervousness.  I am not really a nervous rider, so I am able to give the horse confidence and support.  Instead of going OMGIMGOINGTODIE and ripping my horse's face off, I just stay soft but firm.  OK, horse, you don't have to go in a nice dressage frame, but you do have to go in the speed that *I* set.  OK, horse, you don't have to stand as still as a statue (since your adrenaline is pumping and you think you are about to race) but you can stand for a second and wait for ME to ask you to move.  I found with Dreamy that she would "lose" her halt for the first three or four races and instead of fighting her, I would ask for the halt, and cue my aids to make her move when *I* said so.  If she would not stand, I would make her work (move off/yield sideways from my leg, make a small circle or figure eight, etc).  Then I would ask for the halt again...if she couldn't halt again...we went back to working.  And so on, and so on, and so on.......until finally she literally just sighed and gave up.  LOL!

Most of these pics were taken by my friend Deb unless otherwise noted.  She took great pics and it was wonderful to see her!

Giving Snap a good girl pat.  She was sooooo good!


She was pretty excited to be in the post parade and did NOT want to leave the horses when they assembled behind the gate!



taken from the roof by Pam Gauthier 
Her fans.  LOL!  She LOVED standing on the fence by the apron and visiting!  She was super sweet with everyone who wanted to pet her.  I was pleasantly surprised by this!





She thought Whinny the mascot was pretty stupid.  LOL!  
Hahahahaha!!!!!
Snappy: "Whinny, you're dumb.  You are not even REAL."


Posing with my friend Katie and her horse CC Bag A Luck, who stood in a pen on the apron for meet and greet with fans
Ahhh, so cute!  Photo taken by Susan Higgins
Created by Susan Higgins and posted the the track's FB page after the event!
What a great day!  The weather was gorgeous, though a little hot, and we had such a good time!  Snappy was just perfect for her first time back to the track!  She was definitely a little confused and wanted to follow the post parade out to the left to stay on the track for each race, but thankfully she is a good listener.  She was probably thinking I was pretty dumb for not understanding what was "supposed" to happen in her eyes.  Hahaha!  I can't wait to go back!


Comments

  1. So cool! What a fun opportunity for you guys.

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  2. Snappy looks so happy and relaxed. She's come so far from when you first started working with her. I love how big her trot is when she is with the other horses.

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  3. Oh my, is she ever gorgeous! What a beautiful, beautiful mare. I can see why you love her so much! She looks fantastic Liz, nice job on her. :D

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  4. You both looks great! What a fun outing!

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