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CNER Eventing D Rally - October 6, 2019

I almost didn't attend the last Pony Club rally of the year, because I wasn't sure if I wanted to show in the dressage show on Saturday and then the rally the following day.  But seeing as this rally with Central New England Region (through Atlantic Pony Club) is only for riders at the D level, and my plan is to earn my C-1 next year, I knew that this was my one and only chance to compete.  I also figured Ellie was more than capable of doing two Training level tests the day before an event.  And as a D-3 rider, I was required to do BN Test A and jump 2'3", which seemed like a perfect move-up opportunity.
Of course, it was an early morning adventure to get to the Groton Fairgrounds in Massachusetts, a place I had never been to before and is 2.5 hours away.  I left the house at 4:30am (OUCH) and luckily had a super easy drive down to MA.  It was only 29 degrees when I left, and it wasn't much warmer when I arrived at the grounds just before 7am.  There was still fros…

Kennebec Morgan Farm Dressage Show & 2-Phase - October 14, 2018


This past weekend, Ellie and I attended a dressage show and 2-phase at the Kennebec Morgan Farm, where she was born.  I entered Training 1 to get another shot at it under our belt before show season is over, as well as the PreElementary 2-phase division to get her more miles over fences at a show.  Sadly the dressage test for the 2-phase was Intro B, but I had to choose either 18” jumps or go up to 2’3” jumps, which I do not think she is ready for yet.  It is not a huge deal; I just want to never show Intro level again hahaha.

All of the USDF dressage was in the morning, with the 2-phase USEA dressage and jumping after lunch.  This meant our Training level test was at 10:30, while our 2-phase dressage test was at 3:00.  That is a long day, but I was able to get a stall for Ellie and volunteered, watched, and socialized during the downtime.

We made it up to KMF by just before 9am, which gave me plenty of time to get her settled into a stall and get myself organized to show.  I planned to just bring my brushes and tack into the barn on this super cool rolling rack (which I bought years ago for going to Acadia National Park.  10/10 recommend!) and keep my show clothes and everything else in the trailer.  It worked out well and the only time I forgot something in the trailer was my crop at the end of the day for jumping, but I had one of the farm workers hold Ellie for me while I retrieved it.  I must say, it is really lovely to show out of a stall, even for a day show, because it totally eliminates Ellie’s ants in her pants moments haha.  It is also soooooo much easier when you are alone and need to walk the jump course or use the bathroom and leaving a horse tied to the side of a trailer alone isn’t ideal. 



Anyway, Ellie took a few moments to realize where she was and then she did the usual screaming to everyone (and her old herd came galloping up behind the barn I was told later), and I swear she knew exactly where she was.  I figured this would either be a real pain in the ass or totally fine.  Thankfully, it was totally fine and I did not feel like leaving her there at the end of the day hahaha.  ;-)

Warm up was in the indoor, and at first she was a little uptight, since it is right near her old pasture (so she just wanted to STARE OUT THE OPEN DOOR AT A AT ALL TIMES BECAUSE FRIENDS and there were huge round bales stacked quite high all along the short side at C which looked very suspect to her lol.  So it took a little walking and chilling out before she finally let out a breath and was able to get to work.  She still wasn’t completely relaxed when we went out for our test, but I expected her to be a little tense through her back.  She definitely is the type of horse who is looking for things to spook at in this brisk fall weather, but I am glad that at least she has gotten to the point where she doesn’t just spook at imaginary things if she even spooks at all.  She is starting to trust me enough to keep herself together despite being worried.  Instead of acting out on her impulse of WE ARE ALL GONNA DIE!, she just thinks it quietly to herself nowadays.  


I have soooooo much media!  Huge thank you to Margaret B. for taking video and pics!


I think we put in a really respectable test, with all 6.5s and 7s for a score of 67.60% and tied for first place with the barn manager on a mare that has been eventing at Novice all year, so I was really pleased.  The judge wrote: Nice energy, good in topline, fairly good bend.  Our first canter transition was a little shuffly and I thought a little late; though we got the correct lead, she was not quick off my aids, yet we still earned a 6.5 and the comment, transition could be a little clearer. 



Ellie happily tucked into her stall after our test, drank plenty of water and ate her hay and just chilled.  I actually enjoyed hanging out watching tests and helping adjust the ring over to the large arena, which is rare since usually I show and go straight home.  It was nice to just be a horse girl and relax without the pressure of entertaining a husband/kids or having to rush straight home.  Part of being able to show and do horsey things is not forgetting my adult responsibilities at home haha.  I periodically checked on Ellie and was able to walk my course (while it was set at Prelim height, since they did the divisions from highest to lowest, hence the reason I was the second to last rider of the day to jump haha!  Yeah, I don’t think I will be jumping Prelim anytime soon with Ellie!)


Eventually it was time to get ready to ride Intro B, and I didn’t plan to do much warm up.  Ellie was much more relaxed this time around and calmer in the indoor.  We just did a little walk/trot around and called it good.  Intro B is a breeze now, though it did get a little interesting when a huge group of turkeys wandered in behind the judge hahaha.  Ellie definitely noticed them before I did and anytime we were near C, she tried so hard to be good while still getting a good look at them.  I was almost in giggles because all you could do was laugh.  She can be grazing in her field and have literally fifty turkeys walk through and she doesn’t even look at them, but eight of them near the dressage ring was a different story.  I am so proud of her for holding it all together so well though, as I know her eyes were bulging out of her head!  When we halted at X and I saluted, I broke down into giggles and remarked “OMG those turkeys!” as they literally swarmed around just a few feet behind the judge.  She turned in surprise and was like, “Oh wow, she was so good!  I had no idea they were there!” which is obviously a good thing, but it definitely cracked me up. 


We scored a 30.94 with all 7s except a 7.5 on our free walk (heck yeah, totally been working on that) and three 6.5s on our final halt (haunches swung right as usual, but I was too worried about getting her to halt and be over with the test because I was waiting for the turkeys to enter the ring at C and all hell to break loose hahahaha), impulsion, and submission.  Judge’s final comments were similar to Training 1: Nice test, good bend, topline, and energy.  We were sitting in first by 3 points in our tiny division of two riders haha.


After I put Ellie back in her stall, I carried all my dressage tack out to the trailer and brought back all my jumping tack.  Jumping was to start at 3:30, with nearly twenty riders before us and several height changes, so I figured I would watch a bunch of rounds before I got her ready to jump.  I also helped take down the dressage ring and put up the two warm up fences in that ring, since there are only two outside rings and one was already being used for the stadium course.  I still ended up being maybe ten minutes too early in the end, but I’d rather be early than rushing.


Ellie was not as impressed about being taken out a third time from her stall this time, which is understandable.  She had clearly decided she now lived here again and was bonded to every horse in the barn.  She didn’t do anything bad, just screamed a bunch of times for the first fifteen minutes lol.  Of course, other horses answered her, but apparently not the ones she was screaming to.  We did a lot of walking at first, since I realized we were a bit early.  I popped her over a crossrail three times to get an idea of where her brain was, and she was happy and listening to my half halts.  I was super impressed with this, and she decided to just chill out and be happy she had five other horses in the warm up (at first you would have thought she was all alone in the entire world the way she screamed haha).  I thought for sure she was going to pull shenanigans because of her attitude, but she was actually quite good overall. 




We did a little more walking and then three deer decided to come out right at C where the turkeys had been.  Ellie was curious but not upset about it, which was great, and thankfully none of the horses in the warmup got upset either.  I was so happy with her ability to stay focused on me despite her desire to call to her long lost relatives and the second surprise wildlife visit.  As soon as the rider before me went into the ring, I popped her over the crossrail one more time and she was fine.  We were ready!




We entered the ring and I knew this could either go really well or not well at all.  I felt confident, but Ellie is young, she had been calling out and then slightly worried about the deer, and the jumps are gorgeous and highly decorated (which is so fun but I wondered what Ellie would think...).  And of course, being at her home barn with everyone watching her go, I felt like I wanted to prove she could do it even more so!



I had no need to worry.  Ellie was a rockstar, going over every single jump without hesitation.  We trotted into the first few fences, and I made the choice to canter through the three stride and five stride.  I also cantered her through the last three fences and it was seriously so fun.  You can see me smiling in the little bit of video of us going towards the final fence.  I was just so happy with this little mare.  



I know the fences are teeny tiny and it is really not a big deal in the scheme of life, but she was adjustable and listening to my half halts.  There was no rushing or being silly at all, just a little professional attitude and this is huge for her especially with her bit of silliness in warm up.  This shows me she is capable and ready for more.  While we are easily jumping 2' at home right now and she is 90% perfect, I am hopeful we can move up to Elementary next year (which is 2'3") and lay a really good base for her to confidently go BN.  Maybe we will be ready next fall, but I am tentatively planning to be going BN in 2020! 




KMF Dressage & 2-Phase - October 14, 2018 from Elizabeth Sanborn on Vimeo.

Comments

  1. Congratulations! I love the partnership that you have built with her. It’s wonderful. She is such a lovely mare. And can I just say that I love the colour of those ribbons!

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    1. Thank you! I am so pleased with how she has developed over the year. And aren't the ribbons super cool?!

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  2. Congrats!!!! She has become a great little worker getting down to business. All the show miles this year have really paid off in teaching her her job.

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    1. Thank you! She has really done well to learn her "job" and thankfully seems to enjoy it (even with lots of distracting wildlife hahaha).

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  3. Whoo hoo, way to go Ellie!!! Your patience and work to really lay a good foundation is paying off and it's so fun to watch you guys go out there and kick butt! 😁

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    1. Thank you! This past spring I only had high hopes everything would work out as well as it has. I am getting tired of showing haha, but it definitely worked out in our favor. Here's hoping we have many more fun show seasons!

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  4. Her color looks so pretty right now - and she’s really filling out! Sounds like she was very mature for all the rides too, gotta be a great feeling !!

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    1. I am so in love with her liver chestnut color this fall! I am not loving the fact that her dark fuzzy coat indicates what is to come this winter (uggg) but it sure is pretty haha! I was so happy that despite the distractions she was willing to behave!

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  5. so great a show! Ellie has come so far from this time last year!! WOW. Love how steady she has come (Remus would have noped out of that arena if turkeys had showed up in his test he stood and watched a flock next door for hours the other day snorting and flagging his tail) LOL...

    Ellie is looking so grown up and so much like her other Kennebec ancestors. Love it! :)

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    1. Ellie is going to always "pretend she is going to spook" about things that she is not actually afraid of for probably her entire life. She just can't overcome her genes hahahahaha! You are right though, she is definitely looking like a grown up more and more lately! :-)

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  6. You ribbons totally coordinate with your outfit!

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  7. I'm so impressed with how game and good she was despite all of the distractions and her obvious recognition of her former home and, most importantly [for her], FRIENDS. It speaks volumes about your training and bond with her to have had such a great showing even though she had to talk to her friends the whole time lol! Congratulations.

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    1. When my instructor asked me what she thought Ellie would think about being "home" after a year away, I told her I thought she would either be really well behaved or I would end up leaving her behind hahaha. I am impressed as well LOL! I am glad our bond seems to be there when she needs to trust me. :-)

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  8. Congratulations! Great scores and comments. (also I love that stall she's in in the photo - looks super cute!)

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    1. Thank you! Could not have asked for a better day. Her dam was right next door to her, and I should have thought to snap a pic of the two of them with her heads out looking at me each time I entered the barn. They are total twins!

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