Skip to main content

Wentworth Hunter Pace - June 6, 2021

After Margaret and I had such a fun time at the fall hunter pace, we opted to go again this spring! This time, while I rode Rejoice again, Margaret rode her horse Jester and had a friend ride Ladyhawke. All Kennebec Morgans!! Jester and Rejoice have the same dam and Jester and Lady share the same sire. Unfortunately instead of a lovely late spring day, we had one of the first intensely hot and humid days of the year. It was definitely a bummer, but the ride was mostly in the shade of the woods and we had a great time!  most of the fences were 3' coops but we found a small log and this hay to jump haha Until we didn't. 😑 We brought along a third friend who rode Margaret's older mare, Ladyhawke. She's a good rider but hasn't known Ladyhawke for very long and didn't realize how much of a cranky boss mare she could be at times. She kicked Jester right in the front leg just about halfway through the ride, and while the cut itself ended up not being a big deal in the

Life's A Ride Dressage Schooling Show - June 30, 2018

Our first four shows of the year were excellent!  We were lucky to show at our lesson barn twice and the local GMO show grounds twice, for a total of eight first place finishes.  However, I knew it was time to try a bigger and busier venue, which is what led me to enter the schooling show at Life's A Ride Equestrian Center.  This show also gave us scores towards qualifying for Maine Dressage Society (MDS), Western Maine Dressage Association (WMDA), and State of Maine Dressage Association (SMDA) year end awards, so it was a triple bonus haha.  We are now fully qualified for MDS and WMDA shows, with just one show needed to finish qualifying for SMDA.  

sorry for the crappy screen shots
Originally I had signed up for the Pre Elementary 2-phase division, because besides the dressage classes they had PE through Training level 2-phases listed in the omnibus.  It is the perfect division for Ellie consisting of Intro B and crossrails.  Sadly, when they posted times on the FB page on Wednesday, my name wasn't listed anywhere, nor did they have any 2-phase riders at all.  After a phone call and several FB messages back and forth, I was told they "lost" my entry (which I had mailed on June 12...) and they had cancelled the 2-phase all together because no one signed up (I was like...but I did sad face....haha).  It really wasn't a huge deal to just enter the two dressage classes and get my year end scores anyway, even though I really wanted to try a 2-phase.  Plus, they were SUPER accommodating to allow me to enter (again) on Wednesday before the show and just bring along my entry form, Coggins, and (another) check.  They could have just said no, and I know that.  So this is not complaining, just a recount of what occurred.  Let's hope no one cashes the other check that got lost, but I will just have to keep an eye on my bank account.  It is not worth paying $30 for stop payment on a $55 check LOL!  I almost asked to be allowed to jump a few jumps in their ring after my tests were over, but everyone involved seemed stressed and it wasn't worth adding to that.  They did a rated USDF show the following day for the first time ever, so I just felt happy they added me last minute and let it go!  :-)

The farm is sprawling, there are a lot of horses that already live there (around 50, I was told when I asked), and it is really close to a super loud and busy road where the speed limit is 50+.  It is not a quiet country road by any means.  There are houses all along the edge of the road in front of the farm now, as urban sprawl has edged in.  The warm up was in a huge horse field that everyone had to walk through to get to the ring and secretary's booth.  The competition ring was half shaded on the scary judge's booth end haha.  So there was a lot more to see than at the peaceful farm where we take lessons and the quiet GMO show grounds.  
my friend's gelding in the background
Ellie was pretty looky and overwhelmed by everything, but she tried really hard to be good.  A friend of mine brought her horse for "schooling on the grounds" just to get him off her farm for the first time ever, so of course she immediately went into heat and started peeing incessantly because there was a gelding tied to the trailer next to us LOL!  Such a little hussy!  She did a few halfhearted spooks while we were going around the ring before the judge rang the bell, but nothing major and was all business once we entered the ring to ride our tests.  The end of the ring by C (the judge's booth) was quite shadowy, so it was definitely all new to Ellie to have to be brave because she is so used to being shown in the other venues which are completely in the bright sun.  Nothing she did was bad or horrible at all and everything was to be expected for her level of exposure.  I wasn't counting on us to have stellar rides and knew she would be tense.  You cannot work through the tenseness without actually going out there and DOING whatever it is that makes them tense!  This year is all about exposing her to places and things, and this show was totally perfect for that!

you can see the shady judge's booth and entire end by C
so spooky haha
Our rides were early enough to be finished by 10AM, which was great because a heat wave moved into New England that morning and the hot temps will be hanging around all week.  I was DRENCHED pretty much the moment we arrived until I hopped into the AC of the truck to go home haha.  I am actually not that sad to give her a few extra days off this week and take it easy when we do ride due to the weather, because last week so so full between two dressage lessons, a XC clinic, and then this show!  We trailered out four times in seven days LOL!  

Our warm up was pretty easy for the first test, even though getting her fully onto my aids and bending 100% of the time was slightly difficult because of her wanting to look around at everything.  She called out to my friend's gelding a few times but thankfully did not get so attached that she lost her mind.  Overall Intro B felt more tense than it looked!  We placed second out of eight entries with a 70.63% for our highest score yet!  The judge, Tom Poulin, must be a man of few words because all he wrote was "lovely test" at the end.

We had 45 minutes between tests, so I was able to allow Ellie to chill at the trailer.  We both relaxed and drank water, while she ate her hay and I ate strawberries haha.  I did not want to do much more than a little trot and canter before Intro C, so I went up to the warm up about twenty minutes before my test.  I had just barely started trotting when I was told I was next to go in the ring!  Ahhh!! I knew they had been running about ten minutes early (and I went in the ring early) for Intro B, but I was not prepared for them to now be running almost 20 minutes early!  I politely asked to have a few moments to canter at least, which of course is fine.  Generally, if I feel ready, I just go early, but in this case I needed to test out our canter.  I always feel as though the judge might get irritated that I am over here schooling while the ring sits empty, so I never like this situation. 

Ellie picked up her leads without issue, though she definitely was pushing hard against my right leg and hand when asked to pick up the right lead.  I knew this was going to be tough in the ring, where you start cantering in the first quarter of the circle and have to trot before you finish it.  Picking up the wrong lead leaves very little time to get the correct one and assures you will score a 4.  I swear when horses are nervous they forgot they know things haha.  Ellie was struggling to listen to my requests for bending because you cannot be on the aids and bend when you are so busy being a nosy giraffe, so asking her to keep her right shoulder up in order to get the right lead was going to be interesting.

The test was actually quite nice overall with lots of 7s and 7.5s.  She was less tense about the spooky, shadowy judge's booth and the entire C end of the ring.  But of course, we blew the right canter lead AGAIN!  Uggg.  I moved her over into a leg yield as we passed A, went to ask for the canter with my outside leg, and she PUSHED against me and started to get the left lead instead.  I literally felt my inside aids move her right shoulder OVER and she did a weird scrambly thing but got the RIGHT LEAD!  YAY!  Of course, by then we are just over X and only got five canter strides on the correct lead LOL!!!  So the score was a 4 for the transition and a 4 for the canter circle with the comment "not enough canter to score".  Well shit.  It was definitely a good TRAINING moment, where I did not allow her to take the wrong lead and corrected it, but it was a completely and utterly ugly competition moment hahaha.  Still, the rest of the test was lovely but because of the two 4s we scored a 64.75%.  I did the math and had those two 4s been 6s, we would have scored a 67.75% LOL!  No comments at the end, but the general theme of the comments on movements was tense and needs more bend.  

I know this lead issue will eventually become a non issue, but right now I have to work hard to keep my sense of humor with my silly redhead!  We placed a slightly disappointing fourth place out of six riders, but this is just where we are at right now in our training.  Our walk and trot work is excellent and we are struggling with the canter.  The funny thing is that we have gotten all of our leads correctly at both home and lessons for the past two weeks, so this is really an issue that for some reason is rearing its ugly head in a show environment.  So there is slight progress hahaha!  I am going to chalk it up to show nerves and remind myself this will pass.  

A friend of mine who was there with her student offered to video Intro B for me, which is here.  You can see her spook right before we went in around the 27 second mark, but honestly, it's pretty tiny haha.  She didn't capture on video the spook and stare when she first encountered the booth lol which was funny and made me laugh out loud.  Ellie was being just spooky enough to make her tense over her back.  You can also see the cavaletti they set up to make the ring 20x40, which is fine, but there was a moment during Intro C where she totally locked onto one of them like ohhhh this would be much more fun this this dressage stuff haha!  It cracks me up she can tell the difference between the white rail and an actual jump!  My friend who brought her gelding videoed Intro C for me, but because she was standing far away and holding her horse, it is hard to see much so I didn't upload it.  

the cutest face
July is a slow month, with not much out there I want to do.  This is probably a good thing because we have done five dressage shows in nine weeks!  This venue, the local GMO, and my lesson barn do not have any shows in July.  There is a small little hunter show at the local fair mid month where maybe we could try a few cheap WTC under saddle classes (and it is literally in my town, so how can I NOT show in my town!?!? haha).  I think I will definitely aim for a two phase at the very end of July for sure at a total different (and much more organized) venue.  I also have a bunch of dressage lessons already scheduled and two jumping lessons already scheduled, so we will be busy enough!  Time to dig into training and give showing a rest for now, because I want our leads confirmed!  


  1. This heat wave is insane (I was in ME on Friday and VT Sat/Sun). I cannot believe it's this hot here. I didn't even want to be outside let alone on a horse. Good job getting it done. I hope you get to do the 2 phase soon!

    1. Nice! I hope you find a property you like soon! If I were to move again, I would move to VT. Love the area around Denny's Farm and Huntington Farm

      Yes, this heat is gross. It is generally like this for a week or so each summer. This is kind of early on, so I am hoping it doesn't do it again in late July/early August like usual!

  2. I really hate that canter in Into C because you're right, basically zero time to fix it if you pick up the wrong lead! But good for you for being able to make it a training moment and for not letting it get you down. Still great scores, and respectable satin, hooray! 😁

    1. Thank you!! Yeah, I am signing up for Training 1 at our next show lol because Intro C is not my favorite test LOL! Definitely happy it was a good training moment because that matters more than a score right now.

  3. Ellie really does have the cutest face. Congrats on another solid outing!

  4. you guys have been busy lately! she looks really great tho, congrats on another good outing :)

    1. Thank you! I feel like we are putting in some good "money in the bank" at all these little schooling shows this year.

  5. Ellie looks so great - and she really does have SUCH a cute face! <3

    Canter leads. Ugh. I hear you on your frustration with them! Griffin and I have very on and off days with them ourselves. So frustrating and hard to keep humor on the hard days.

    1. Thank you! She is such a cutie which helps when she is having her baby moments haha! ;-)

      Canter leads can be the worst, man. She's such a sneaky little sucker sometimes and because her gaits are so smooth, once in a while I nearly cannot tell she is on the wrong lead uggg. Bright side is she will take well to the counter canter? LOL maybe??

  6. Overall sounds like a great experience. And I can commiserate with the picking up the correct lead, it's always such a struggle for a while and then before you know it, it never or rarely happens again and you forget what a struggle it was (until the new baby/green horse haha)

    1. Yes! I cannot wait to look back and laugh about how much the canter leads drove me nuts! Dreamy was the same way and then suddenly it was all just there and magical haha.


Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving a comment!