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Bel Joeor Sale and Giveaway!

Amanda from Bel Joeor is hosting a big sale on her Etsy site and a giveaway on her blog!  She makes beautiful saddle covers and bags.  I highly recommend checking out her shop and entering her contest.  

Hidden Brook Farm Dressage Schooling Show - May 6, 2018

Though I have taken Ellie to two little jumper shows since I owned her, this past weekend was our first dressage show!  I specifically chose this show to be her debut in the sandbox because it is where we have been lessoning.  I wanted her to have the perfect first experience and thankfully she did!
matching game on point

First time up center line!!
 My goals were simple: have fun, stay on the horse, and stay in the ring.  I honestly did not care one whit about our scores or ribbons because this was all about positivity and calm.  I also had told Beth ahead of time that I would use it as an opportunity to school instead of just test ride (such as having a late transition if it meant the transition would be better and things like that that might hurt my score but improve our training).  I had a feeling Ellie would do well if she could stay calm because I really wasn't nervous.

I was the first rider to arrive and I tacked her up just like I do at lessons.  I took her to the indoor and did the little pre lunging and long walk warmup as I have been doing.  This was perfect because it totally put her in the right frame of mind, as she figured it was just another day at a lesson.  Beth came down to the ring with another student on a school horse, so while she wasn't coaching me, it was nice to have her there.  After showing alone for so many years, knowing I had help on the ground if needed was really nice.  I also convinced the almost fourteen year old (when did he get that old?!?) to come along, so I got lots of media!

When Beth sent out the scores, I saw that she scheduled Intro C as the first test of the day before Intro A and B.  Now, realistically, it doesn't matter what the order of go is, and I totally understand she was accommodating some of her students and lesson horses, but I was like OH NO THIS CANNOT BE! Hahaha!  I had figured we would have Intro B as our warm up and then ride THE CANTER in Intro C!  ;-)  I texted Beth she was killing me and she told me she wouldn't say anything if she saw me with a thermos/flask haha.  I told her I was a lightweight and would stick to drinking Pepto Bismol!

So, of course, just because I forget how to ride when it matters, we picked up the wrong canter lead TWICE in each direction before I remembered I actually HAD TO RIDE THE HORSE AND BEND HER PROPERLY.  Once I stopped riding like a monkey and she was bent properly, we had lovely warm up canters.  Funny how the brain stops working.  I told Beth that right before we went into our test and she laughed.  As she said of Ellie, "I'm picking up the canter but I can't promise you which lead."  

I am quite happy looking back at the video.  Yes, there are moments (ok, lots of moments) of inconsistency and I don't know why the hell I am perching so far forward (I need to be serious about strengthening my core if I am going to ride this horse properly).  But she is forward and happy and didn't even BLINK when the flock of Canadian geese land before the judge's booth (around 1:20 in the video) LOL!  She did pick up the wrong lead on her first canter circle, and I knew exactly the moment that it was going to happen UGGG!  We came trotting around and I started to bend her and thought wow this is going to be fine.  Then all of a sudden I went WAIT NO I CAN'T ASK HERE SHE MIGHT DART OUT OF THE RING AT A! so I got all scrambly in my mind and wishy washy in my aids.  And boom, wrong lead.  My plan had been to ask early for the canter depart (which is supposed to occur in the first quarter of the circle at A) because she still takes a hair too long to pick it up.  What I should have done (and will from now on) is get just past the opening at A and ride slightly deep in the beginning of the circle to get the lead.  I am happy that we did get the right lead afterwards though.  While that movement was a 4.5  "wrong lead - corrected", the rest of the test was all 6.5s and 7s.  Overall we scored a 66% and it put us in 1st place!  YAY ELLIE!  The funny part is I totally forgot you are supposed to do the final halt at G, and apparently the judge did too, because we scored a 7 for that halt at X hahahaha.

I had about 40 minutes between tests, so I went back to the trailer and took off her bridle.  I was able to have a snack and Ellie was quite happy hanging out eating hay.  That was a huge bonus, because last October when I showed her she was super antsy and uptight about being tied to the trailer. I ended up getting a day stall in December because I just didn't want to deal with her antics, especially in the snowy parking area.  

snacks are a must
Intro B seemed like a breeze afterwards!  I didn't take her to the indoor to warm up at this point, since we could easily navigate walk/trot in the tiny warm up area adjacent to the show ring.  It really is an easy test anyway and we ended up with all 7s and just three 6.5s for a 68.75% and another first place.  My son was playing around with the slow mo feature on my phone, so the free walk part of the test is missing, but the Canadian geese landed AGAIN and she kept on free walking across the diagonal LOL!  

Even though we scored well and won her first dressage blue ribbons, I am so pleased with how calm and happy Ellie was overall.  That is really the best part.  I like to show and I want a horse that likes to humor me and go do all the things.  She was fine with horses coming and going in the warm up, she walked bravely out to the show ring behind the barn, and she strutted around the show ring like this wasn't her first time ever.  I was slightly worried about the line of people along the rail at K, which were all the families and friends of the lesson kids, but Ellie honestly didn't even look at them.  Beth remarked that she acted like they were there to watch her and seemed to enjoy being on display.  That is a weird thing to explain, but that was totally Ellie's attitude.  I could not have asked for a better day.  I have a feeling she may not be quite so calm at a brand new venue in a few weeks, BUT this gave us a solid start.  

headed home


TeresaA said…
I can see why your scores were so good- both of you were wonderful (wrong lead aside- counter canter is going to be so easy for her). What a wonderful experience
Sara said…
CONGRATS!! So awesome and what a great debut for the season.
Thank you! And yes, I was actually thinking the same about the counter canter when I first watched the video haha. ;-)
Thank you! I am pretty excited!
Yay! Great job you two 🙂 and ipve.your coat 😉
emma said…
omg your outfit is super cute! Ellie looks great! i definitely know what you mean about how annoying it is to have a mind fart and blow the leads in a test... i've done that a ton on charlie (even with his stronger lead!). and i also know what you mean about Ellie being a true performer. isabel was like that - she LOVED being watched - and it made her such an incredible horse to compete with.
Thank you! Don't you have one of these coats, too???
Thank you! After I gave in to my lust and bought the coat last year, I had the browband and ear bonnet made. Gotta look good even if you don't know what you are doing LOL! ;-) Seriously, why does the brain turn off in the ring? I even KNEW what I was doing in the moment by my body couldn't override my brain. I can totally see Isabel being the same way! Redheaded mares! ;-)
Martidoll said…
Kudos to your kid's video taking. Even at 14 he is better than my husband would be (You would have got sky photos, the video of the grass, a frog you name it LOLLOL)> you guys look AMAZING> i love love love her trot. I could watch it all day. I am so excited for you. YAY......

and hey at least your horse just blew a lead, not throw her heels up in delight right in front of the judge (AHEM REMUS). LOL And great fix and she looks great cantering too! :)
Oh god, my stupid phone. Clearly I meant I *love* your coat. And yes! I have one, but I haven't shown since I bought it 😭
Carly said…
What a little professional!!
Hahahahaha he is actually pretty good with the camera, and after all he should be as a digital native! ;-) And thank you! She's so fun! Bahahaha Remus is a naughty boy! I am SURE Ellie will have her fair share of emotional moments in the ring in the future!!!!
Isn't she though!? I was so impressed. Of course, she could be a hell mare at our next outing lol, you just never know with a five year old haha! ;-)
Liz Stout said…
What a GOOD girl! And Carly nailed - such a professional. Huge congrats on preparing such a wonderful, thinking horse. Those geese crack me up! My mare would be in the next county and I'd be in a heap on the centerline lololol
Congrats on your first dressage show. What a good baby mare!
KateRose said…
You guys look awesome! You should be very proud of yourself and your horse :)
Thank you! She is definitely a good girl. And it is funny, because while the geese were fine, other things that you would think wouldn't bother her, do! Like she's still afraid of the dump trailer parked near the barn though she's seen it every single day for eight months lol!
Thank you! I am soooo proud of her! :-)