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Course Brook Farm Horse Trials - July 28, 2019

After a successful first-ever horse trial with Ellie in the spring, I decided to try a new-to-me venue for our July horse trial.  I also felt we were definitely ready to move up a level, from Introductory 18" to Elementary 2'.  Honestly, could we jump higher and do a more difficult dressage test?  Yes.  But I am a firm believer in setting my horse up for success by not over facing her, and knowing this would be a true cross country course through the woods, I didn't want anything to seem hard or scary to her.  I wanted us both to feel confident by having a positive experience.
Ellie and I traveled down to Course Brook Farm in Massachusetts on July 28, and while it was a long trip there, Ellie unloaded and settled in easily. Traffic had been heavier than I anticipated, so while we were not running late, I definitely had no extra time once we arrived. I did not realize this venue was actually A LOT bigger than I imagined, with 160 (!!!!) horses competing that day.  Ellie had…

Hidden Brook Farm Dressage Schooling Show - June 17, 2018

Ellie has been really settling into the horse show routine, and this past weekend we were able to do our fourth show of the year at my lesson barn.  I love these little local schooling shows where we can be gone for only a few hours and not break the bank either.  I have videos of the tests but I cannot seem to get them uploaded to Vimeo at the moment.  I basically forced my 14 year old to come along to capture media hahaha.

The show didn't start until 9:30 and our first ride time wasn't until quarter of 11.  Ellie unloaded off the trailer slightly up because they were moving around haying equipment to go off to the fields.  She couldn't see what was making the racket and she was slightly on edge.  I had given myself plenty of time (probably too much time), so instead of immediately tying her to the trailer and dealing with her being a nuisance, we headed down to the indoor to just walk around.  This did the trick for her, as she immediately quieted down and realized where she was.  She's super calm at lessons, so a leisurely walk around in the cool, shady indoor reset her brain.  Plus, she likes to look at herself in the indoor's mirrors haha.  

I am thankful she is past the need for lunging now, but I am still aware that she needs time and patience.  Every time we go off farm, I want her to have a good experience and work quietly through any nervousness.  Laying that foundation now will give me a totally laid back horse in the future, I hope!  By the time we came back out of the indoor, the haying equipment and big trucks had left the small barnyard area where trailers were parked and she was quite happy to stand at the trailer and eat hay.  I somehow lucked out into parking exactly where the one shade tree is in the driveway, so we did not have to stand in the hot sun all morning.

I decided to start our warm up in the indoor, since it was empty and I wasn't quite ready to be in the intense sun just yet haha.  We have had such a weird spring that I am not acclimated to the heat, especially wearing show clothes!  There is a small warm up area near the competition ring, so I figured a short warm up in the indoor would be a good start, and then we could mosey over to the actual warm up area when we were ready.

Our warm up was perfect.  She was soft and willing to accept contact and just felt lovely.  It was one of those rides that had we been at home I would have either introduced a new concept to work on or just gotten off because she was THAT good.  I swear, she loves that indoor haha.  I worried we would leave our best work in the warm up, so I practiced a few halts and centerlines after warming up and figured I might as well stop while I was ahead.  We took our time getting to the actual outdoor warm up area, and I still had plenty of time to get some decent trot circles out there before we went in for Intro B.  So far, she has not been the type of horse to act differently between the warm up and the actual show ring, which is nice.

I felt as though we had nailed the test and I was happy to see all 7s and 8s with a 6.5 on our medium walk (comment: tight in topline) and right trot circle (comment: tempo gets a little quick).  We had all 7s on collective marks except impulsion (6.5 with steady tempo underlined and the comment "little quick at times") for a total score of 70%!  Judge's final comment was Beautiful horse!  Could be a little steadier in trot tempo, gets a bit quick sometimes.  Good luck!  However, I did not see scores until after we were done, so I did not know this yet.  I was pretty excited to see our first 70% though!
posing with our Intro B ribbon while waiting for Intro C to be scored


she rocked her first 70% and I rocked some serious helmet hair haha
We only had twenty minutes until Intro C, so I headed down to the indoor to canter a bit.  This seems silly in a way to go all the way back down there, but because she often likes to not pick up the right lead, I did not want to deal with this in a small warm up area with lots of horses and under the scorching sun.  As I suspected, she did NOT want to pick up the right lead and kept picking up the left lead and doing a flying change a few strides in.  Ugggg.  This is something we really need to work on.  I am not convinced it is anything physical, but I have the chiro vet scheduled to come out just in case and this is going to be the topic of our next lesson this weekend!  Left lead was fine and quite nice.



I headed over to my trailer for a brief break in the shade.  Ellie was happy to stand and I had a drink of water.  She still won't drink away from home (though she drank half her tub when I turned her out later on...oh mare), so I am hoping she will overcome this.  And this is even with my lugging along her own water from home, so it is not like she is refusing strange water.
swoon
Soon it was time for Intro C.  I was starting to feel overheated and have been battling a nasty chest cold for the past week, so I had to rally myself a bit.  I love to show and normally do not mind the heat, but feeling a bit yucky didn't help me at all.  I still think we rode a decent test though I was wilting and despite the right lead problem (4 on that movement ugg), and won again with a 64.75%.  This test was all 6.5s with 7s on our right trot circle, medium walk and all collectives.  Judge's final comments: Capable pair on the right track. Work on further developing consistent tempo in trot and balance in canter.  Good luck!



I could not be any happier with Ellie's willingness to do what I ask of her.  We have a lot of things to work on, but I think we have some solid basics right now.  She's happy and willing in her work, even when I am asking her to do things that she is learning for the first time.  As I picked up my tests and ribbons from the scorer (my instructor Beth haha), we chatted about how the rides went.  Of course, the biggest thing is to get that right lead fixed, but she also said she is going to have me do Training 1 at our next lesson.  I guess I better learn that this week haha.  Everything else is in place to try Training level this year, so maybe we will be doing that later in July instead of in the fall as I had first figured.  There really isn't much glory staying at Intro level and winning all the things (though it has been quite fun to be undefeated with eight blue ribbons at her first four dressage shows haha), so we might as well give it a try!


Comments

  1. You guys are the undefeated intro champions of the world!!! 😁

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  2. Yay congrats you both look wonderful!!

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  3. Remus also doesn't drink away from home which bothers me when he hauls to TN! But I haul water dutifully every time and I think the only time he drank once was when it was REALLY HOT HOT HOT and he took a sip and dribbled it. OH WELL. LOL

    Ellie is looking AMAZING!! Way to go. You are putting such a solid foundation on her!! And i hope your cold is better. Nothing worse than a cold in HOT weather. UGH....

    Great job! :) And the lead will come. But the chiro sure can't hurt!! YAY ELLIE! (oh you too LOL)

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    1. I have been lucky to own three previous horses who took very good care of themselves and had no issues drinking away from home, so she is stressing me a bit haha. Hopefully she will figure it out.

      And thank you! She really is coming along well. I owe a lot of gratitude to my instructor, too. There is only so much I can do alone. The lead will definitely come, and I feel as though a lot of it is me riding like a monkey hahaha!

      Definitely feeling slightly better the last two days (no surprise that it is now summer vacation and I have been able to sleep in an extra hour both days!!) Summer colds are the worst!

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  4. She is such a fancy little thing!

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    1. Thank you! I think most of it is just suppressed chestnut sass haha.

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  5. Yay Ellie! What a great outing! The pictures look great and I can see why the judge was so impressed! Congrats

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    1. Thank you! She is really coming along well and I love how the judges love her!

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  6. You two look so, so very good! She's SUCH a little professional <3

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    1. Thank you! I am so proud of her!! I still can't get over how much of a little professional she really is! It is funny to think that just back in September when I bought her she had maaaaaybe ten rides on her total?!

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