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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

Central Maine Dressage Association Schooling Show & Combined Test - August 4, 2018

After our first ever combined test last weekend at Esprit Equestrian Center, we headed back there this weekend for their CMDA affiliated show.  Essentially it was the same exact show, just affiliated with a state GMO.  I have limited media because I went alone to this show, and my friend who showed up to ride her First level tests later on wasn't going to hold a phone out in the pouring rain for our jumping haha, though she did get a short 30 second clip of Intro C and a few pics.

This time around, I had a solid game plan, since we had shown there just six days earlier.  The show started at 9am and we were the fourth dressage ride of the day, so I arrived a hour and a half early in order to handwalk her in the scary indoor.  I asked permission ahead of time, of course, and doing this helped immensely.  It was dark that morning with the promise of rain (which did end up starting later in the morning), so the lights were on and the indoor seemed gloomier.  Ellie is a stop and look kind of horse when she is nervous, so having the opportunity to literally stop and put her nose on EVERYTHING was good.  She stopped to touch every single dressage letter, which were large handpainted wooden signs on the wall LOL!  It was incredibly funny to watch her do this.  She was able to crane her neck waaaay up to peek over the half way and see the horses on the other side (well, I am assuming she could see them or at least realized what it was).  She put her nose on every single cavaletti they had set up across the end of the ring by C so the judge and scribe could be seated.  She tried to investigated the clipboard and bell, but I stopped that haha.  The farm owner came over to chat with us over the half wall, so Ellie could see a person and realize no one on the other side of those half walls were going to eat her.  

I eatin hay, Mom
no bug me
 After almost 20 minutes of just walking around the perimeter both ways and doing a bunch of circles and changes of rein, we headed back to the trailer to get ready.  I had already walked my jump course before I unloaded and hand walked her, so it was just a matter of tacking up and changing.  I had entered her in the Introductory level combined test, which was Intro B and cross rails.  I also entered her in Intro B and C for straight dressage to get our last GMO scores and it gave her THREE tests in the scary indoor for the day.

Intro B for Combined Test
She warmed up well without issue and seemed much more comfortable at this venue having been there once before.  I was so hoping our hand walk had helped.  To my delight, rather than being horrified when she entered the indoor like last weekend, she marched right in.  GOOD MARE.  This first test was for the combined test.  She was slightly tense but obedient and we laid down a great test.  We are working through an issue of her wanting to swing her haunches left every time we halt from the trot, so our lowest score was a 6 on the first halt and a freaking 4 on the final halt because I decided to fix it rather than just allow her to halt crooked, so the judge commented "cannot step back in halt".  Yes, yes, I know that, but I am here to school my horse so whatever LOL!  I was happy with the 8s on our trot corner after our first halt, because that was the corner from H-E where she was so nervous the previous weekend.  We also had an 8 on our medium walk and our free walk!  That made me super happy because we had no free walk at the beginning of the show season hahaha and have been working hard on that. The rest were 7s and 7.5s for a score of 30.62 points (which is 69.38% in dressage land).  Judge's final comment: "Lovely horse, careful of haunches swinging left."  This was a 7.19 point improvement over the same test from the previous weekend because she wasn't terrified of being eaten hahaha!

all the dressage pics are from my friend Annie during Intro C
I am going to spread them out to look nice haha
We had forty minutes until we rode Intro B again, so I took her back to the trailer and removed her bridle.  She was SO freaking good this time, just standing tied to the trailer and eating her hay.  She pawed a few times when I had first tied her before our first test, but now that we had one test done, she was happy and relaxed.  Such an improvement that she can just stay STILL and be chill for once haha.  

Intro B - again
I headed back over to warm up with about fifteen minutes until our next ride.  I did a few trot circles and practiced a ton of center lines with a halt a X, really focusing on NOT letting her haunches swing anywhere.  She marched into the indoor again and put in an even better test, though the damn horse halted straight on our first centerline and then SWUNG HER HAUNCHES SLIGHTLY LEFT while I was saluting.  OMFG horse hahahahaha!!!  She is such a redhead.  She didn't swing them left in the final halt but she was squiggly and tried her damndest to try, so it was not a smooth halt (but she was freaking straight!!)  So that made our lowest scores as 6s on the initial and final halts.  The rest of the test is 7s and 8s, with an 8.5 on the free walk!  Our score was a 71.88% with the judge's final remarks as "Lovely pair, lovely test.  Good luck!"  I love that we laid down two great tests in the scary indoor and showed improvement!  That is exactly why we were there back to back weekends!  We won this Intro B test out of five riders!

We only had two riders before we rode Intro C, so I headed straight to warm up to canter a few times.  She was lovely to the right, which was our nemesis earlier this year (go figure), and a little cobra while going left, which she has decided is a good evasion instead of bending to the left while cantering left.  Ya know, she's nothing if not creative.  Beth called her shaky cobra head "rude" at our lesson this past week, which is on par for her teenage rebellion against dressage moments haha.  She doesn't do it the entire circle, just at the transition and at least once the first circle.  Then she usually gives up and goes, alright I can canter like a trained horse.  Which is too bad, since obviously there is only one canter circle in a test haha.

Intro C
At this point, they had opened the two large door behind the judge, so it was pulled open about a foot, just enough for a person to enter.  Which is exactly what happened during our opening trot circle ugg.  Ellie was like OMFG WHAT IS THAT THING? and scooted forward above the bit (still got a 7 on the movement, since it happened at the close of the circle but the judge commented slightly tense haha).  She was still trying to process this scary human who entered her ring when we came around to A for our canter circle.  I was BOUND AND DETERMINED to have a good canter in this test.  I knew besides trying her stupid cobra head shake, our canter has improved a lot.  

The arena door at A was wide open and there had not been anyone standing there.  However, suddenly there is a man with a small child on his shoulders right outside the door.  Ellie is already wide eyed from the scary human entering the ring at C, and I could feel her suck back as we approached A.  I squeeze my legs and am ready for whatever is about to happen, thinking if we can just ride past the door, our canter depart is in the first quarter of the circle, so we will be fine.  OH NO, the man chooses the exact moment we pass A to lower the small child off his shoulders and she falls slightly forward, falling into the ring.  I am seriously watching this entire thing happen and I am internally screaming GET AWAY FROM THE FUCKING RING as well as thinking we are going to trot over the kid.  I sit through her huge shy to the inside of the circle, where she then trips all over herself OF COURSE, and by the time I get her reorganized and back onto the circle at a trot, we are approaching X.


I swear, this Intro C test is the death of us.  I am never riding it again.  EVER!  LOL!
still cute even though Intro C sucks
So, I just ask her pick up the lead and we canter about four strides before we have to trot before A.  Oh well.  Crap happens and we earned two well deserved 4s for the entire thing because Ellie is like why are we cantering and then not cantering and OMG scary shit!  At least I know it was just a bad moment, and I wasn't even upset about it because she redeemed herself and was actually quite good the remainder of the test, with no head snaking in the left canter circle, another 8 on her free walk, and 7-7.5s on collectives.  The man actually came up to me after I exited the ring to apologize, and he was so genuinely sincere, that I couldn't be angry.  I thanked him, laughed, and reminded him it wasn't the Olympics haha.  He said he still shouldn't have been standing right at the door (very true) and that some riders take things differently than I did (also very true).  I did remind him that horses can be spooky, especially young ones like Ellie, and I was happy she didn't run his little girl over.  Of course, I let the little girl pet Ellie and they both fawned over her, because I am a nice person even though all I wanted was two good canter transitions in the test grrrrr.  Not a horrible score though, netting us a 63.25%, but of course I do the math afterwards and realize we would have had a 66+% had those 4s been 6s.  Judge's comment at the end: This test was less consistent than others, which while I don't think referring to previous tests is great judge etiquette, she was correct.  I am still pleased because Ellie was sooooooo much better about the indoor ring itself, and we cannot always prepare for the scary humans who might literally enter the ring while we are riding.  *headdesk*  We ended up fourth out of four riders.

Stadium Jumping for Combined Test
At this point, the rain began just as we left the ring to head back to the trailer.  I had planned to change my stock tie, jacket, and helmet to jump but there was no way I wanted to get a second set of clothing soaked haha.  So instead, I just changed her tack and went straight to the jump warm up.  There were only five of us riding in all the combined test divisions in total (as opposed to 27 riders total last weekend) and the jumping had started at 10, so I knew the organizers were just waiting for me to finish my dressage tests so my Introductory division could jump (we were the last division to jump anyways).  We warmed up over two crossrails a few times and she was listening and happy, despite the fact the rain was coming down steadily at this point.  The footing was grass and I didn't want her to slip, so I figured I would ride conservatively.  The jump field has rolling hills and I didn't want her to have any issues on the terrain.  The other rider in my division had a few refusals and knockdowns, so even though I had not seen any of the dressage scores at that point, I wanted to lay down a clear round even more so!  Come to find out after the fact, the other rider in my division rode HC, so as long as I didn't eliminate myself, we were going to win regardless LOL!

All competitiveness aside, my goal was to go clear without any drama at the pace I set.  The jump she had refused last week as fence six was now fence three, so I was ready to tackle it early on.  And this time, instead of a related distance of 6 strides, there was a combination which was actually flagged as two separate fences, the last two #8 and #9.  It walked as 30 feet, so I knew we would probably actually do it in two canter strides or could just trot it.

would rather eat ribbons than win them
Ellie was sooooooo good and I wish I could rewatch a video!!  She was bold without rushing to every single fence.  I trotted her into fences 1 and 2.  I allowed her to remain in canter between fences 3 and 4 and 6 to 7.  When she landed once on the wrong lead before fence 5, I just brought her back to the trot and jumped it from the trot.  We ended up trotting into the second to last fence 8 and she landed trotting, so it didn't even matter what the striding was.  She was a little wiggly to the last fence, but nothing that a little opening rein and closing my leg didn't easily fix, and in all honest we have not practiced combinations enough.  
I eat dis
All I cared about for this show was being relaxed in the indoor, going clear over the jump course, and having her listen to me during jumping, all of which was accomplished.  And from the looks of the scores posted when I picked up my tests and ribbons before I left, we would have won even had the other rider not ridden HC.  So at least we didn't just win because we were alone hahaha!

a little better pic haha
can you tell it poured buckets lol
my barn looks like I hosed it off


  1. Intro C is definitely not my favorite test either lol. Major congrats tho!! She looks so good in all the pictures and sounds like she’s learned a lot even just in the last week!!

    1. Thank you! She is definitely a smart cookie! Sometimes TOO smart haha!

  2. What a wonderful experience. Congratulations! But I don’t understand the judge at all. She should have rang the bell when the man did that and let you redo that part. It’s called ‘interference ‘ and you shouldn’t have been penalized at all. Grr.

    1. Well, in an effort to be polite, let's just say the judge probably either didn't know that or doesn't care. She's an......interesting person. I could write an entire entry of stories!!! :-(

  3. Another great outing for you two!!

    1. Yes, thank you! :-) I feel as though she is really becoming a solid citizen at shows.

  4. Omg I think any horse would have had a freak out moment over children falling into the ring lol! She's so cute snacking on her satin.

    1. Right?!?! It was the strangest moment where I could SEE what was about to occur and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Looking back I wish I had yelled something out to him, but it has been drilled into me to be mute in the dressage ring haha. Isn't she the cutest little weirdo?

  5. yay fun times and ribbons!! And stupid people in the way of those ribbons :) LOL Remus would have melted down over that himself and he is 15!! Good Ellie for being such a champ! She is really coming along nicely :)

    1. Hahaha I didn't even care how we would place, I just wanted to nail both canters because I KNEW we were finally at a place where we long as no one fell into the ring hahahaha. Ah well. She really is a good mare overall.

  6. I really don't feel like people falling into the arena should be held against you but you still got ribbons, so all's well that ends well, right?

    1. Hahaha yup! I was like whatever, we survived LOL! I just REALLY WANTED an Intro C test with no canter bobbles. It doesn't seem like that is ever going to happen!

  7. Your successful outings all summer speak volumes to how well-matched of a pair you are. Congratulations to you both!

    1. Thank you!! I do hope we continue to grow together as a partnership because she is such a fun horse! I feel so lucky to be on this path with her!

  8. Ramone always used to do that too, swing his haunches one way at the halt. haha. Congratulations on the great show :)


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