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2019 Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange

For the fourth year in a row, I participated in the Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange, which Tracy so kindly hosts (and has for seven years)!  I love choosing gifts for a fellow blogger, trying to find just the right thing to match their likes and interests.  And it is definitely fun to come home from work to a surprise package of horsey things for me!

This year, I received my gift quite early!  Thank you so much Eventing Saddlebred Style for the two surprises this past week!  She must have been checking out my Pinterest board I indicated I have, as these are both from my "want" category haha.

Plus, this is a new-to-me blog, so as soon as I finish this entry, I plan to tag along as a follower.  I like adding to my reading list, even though I have been terrible at commenting lately.

The cute little fox mug just makes me laugh.  I definitely cannot bring it to the middle school where I teach hahahaha, but I have already used it here at home a few times!

And the teal lead rope is aw…

Intro D

With having to move my Wednesday lesson up to Saturday, we ended up with just one ride (Sunday) and a day off (Monday) before our next lesson today (Tuesday).  It was kinda weird to not have more time to work on our "homework" but it was the only day I had this week.  

I opted to lesson in the outdoor again, because I like how it gives Ellie more distractions to work through and that we can school in what she has only before seen as a "horse show" ring where I don't train her.  Running through two five minute tests in a show setting without getting to fix mistakes is totally different than an hour lesson, and I swear she is smart enough to know this.

We started with some really nice trot work again, which was so encouraging.  Her trot is really coming along well into a much more relaxed and open trot, instead of her tiny little trit-trot pony strides she prefers.  I did a few canter transitions and she nailed all her leads.  I have to think so much about than inside shoulder still, but I feel that it takes us 2-3 strides instead of half a circle to get the canter right away.  It's coming!  

After a decent warm up and a walk break (it was sunny and slightly hot!), Beth had me run through Training 1.  Here's a side story for you: I filled out an entry form the other night to ride this test at the very end of July, and for some strange reason, writing "Training 1" instead of an Intro test made me suddenly ridiculously nervous.  I have ridden up through First 3, so this really isn't some scary thing haha.  But as I started overthinking it (because that's what I do best!), I decided instead of calling it Training 1, I would call it Intro D until further notice, so it won't be scary at all hahahahaha.  It worked because then I actually pulled out the test and realized it is pretty much Intro C except you canter a little bit longer halfway up the long side.  


So it really is Intro D after all!!  😂

I made myself feel even better when I found a few YouTube videos of the test, including a random instructor from CA talking through the test about how she is riding it, so I was suddenly like, oh maybe this isn't something to be nervous about after all.  (Hint: Training 1 is nothing to be nervous about).

Anyway, we ran through the test in my lesson and I really REALLY like how it rode compared to Intro C.  There is much more room to actually canter and not have eleventy billion transitions happen in the 20x40 tiniest ring in the world.  I mean, seriously, sometimes it is hard to package up a young horse and do a basic test of nine movements in the small arena haha.  Even though I have to ride Training 1 in the small arena as well, it just flowed better and it seemed to work better with her current level of training.  The first canter is the left lead, which is her most reliable lead, so it is like we start off successful instead of Intro C where we start with the right lead.  Then the right lead is at C in the corner, so we have no opening at A to make me randomly stress and not ride her well into the corner (as much as I can in a circle movement haha), to get a step of leg yield and ask for the right lead canter.  It is just a better spot to canter her on the right lead right now for a test situation.  

The only thing I struggled with on the first try was the canter to trot between B and M and then immediately turning up the center line.  I did it, but it was crappy.  So we redid just the right lead canter circle at C and Beth had me do a 10m. canter circle at B and THEN ask for the downward transition and then finish up center line.  It gave me a moment to think and rebalance her for a good transition, which is generally much easier for her right now than the upward.  

I ran through the entire test for a second time and the canter to trot to centerline at the end was 100% better.  Obviously I cannot throw in a 10m. circle in a competition (though I can if it is the best thing for the horse at the moment and am willing to just take the -2 points for the opportunity to train her as needed), but just being more aware of how fast that transition and 10m. center line turn comes up definitely helped.  

So, while I am still calling it Intro D in my mind haha, riding Training 1 really wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be.  Granted, that was a lesson and not riding it at a show, but having the opportunity to school it in a real dressage ring with my instructor was perfect. I can school all the movements at home in order, but I don't have a legal dressage sized arena and putting it together for the first time for REAL at a show isn't ideal for me.


  1. Intro D....hahahahahahha. I admit to being confused when I started reading. Like...did I miss a new test or something??

  2. I really love the current training 1 test, but you're right, that last turn up to centerline is a bit of a doozy (especially on a green horse, which is basically all I own lol). I love your idea of calling it intro d to make it less intimidating :)

    1. Yeah, I am hoping maybe next year that movement will change when they change the tests, but at the same time it is pretty decent other than that last centerline so I don't want anything else about it to change! LOL

  3. All of those reasons are why I went right to Training 1 and skipped Intro all together. It rides SO much nicer and slower and smoother!

    1. YES it totally does! I guess I figured I might as well start on the Intro tests so see where we were at, but I think you made a wise choice!

  4. That's a really good way to look at it! And now I wonder if we would have better success schooling Training level rather than intros because of where the canters take place..

    This is something to mull over for sure!

    1. Yeah, I would highly recommend running through both tests and seeing how your horse feels. For Ellie (and probably many other horses!), Intro C just wasn't working well for us! I feel much more confident about cantering in Training 1, even though the idea of moving to Training level makes me worried haha. But it is nearly THE SAME TEST so I have to get over myself LOL!

  5. She looks so cute in her bonnet <3 I'm sure you guys will rock Training 1...errr Intro D with no issue ;)

    1. Thank you!! We are trying it out at the end of the month, and I feel pretty good about it!


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