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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…

D-3 Pony Club Rating

After earning my D-1 and D-2 rating back in July with Epona PC, I was able to test for my D-3 in September with Atlantic PC!  It was held at the barn in NH where my DC boards her horses, where we had our striding clinic in early spring.

Like my other D ratings, there wasn't much for this test that felt difficult.  I did go over the questions I would be asked to be sure I felt prepared, but I did not have to "study" or learn anything new for this rating.  The horse management questions were still fairly basic, though I had to now identify more parts of the horse and more breeds/colors, provide more details in my health and maintenance record book, and I had to show how to apply a standing wrap.

We did the horse management section seated at a picnic table near the barn with all four of us who were testing.  It was a gorgeous early fall day to be outside doing fun horse things!  Two kids were doing their D-1, one was doing her D-1 and D-2, and I was doing my D-3.  The examiner did a round-robin type question/answer session with the D-1 questions, adding in the D-2 and D-3 questions for the two of us who needed it.  While it took a while to get through, it was a much more effective way to be sure we all had the knowledge required, rather than the examiner having to question each of us separately.

Because it took longer to complete my HM questions, I was riding after the kids.  They had been dismissed when their HM portion was complete in order to tack up.  I passed all my HM questions and so it was time to ride!  Yay!

Ellie had waited quite patiently on the trailer and when I unloaded her to tack up, she was relaxed and calm despite never having been to this farm before.  It is SO nice to finally have a confident horse who can go with the flow.  For the flat riding portion, I had to show balance and competency at the walk/trot/canter with an obvious knowledge of diagonals and leads.  I had to show the examiner my normal warm-up routine, prove I understood how to bend properly on a 20m. circle, and demonstrate an emergency dismount.  Basically, the riding/jumping requirements seemed to be right exactly where Ellie is at in her training, so I was glad I had the opportunity to do this rating this fall.

Everything went smoothly in our under saddle portion, though I was a bit worried about how Ellie would react when I went leaping off her in the emergency dismount LOL.  She was fine despite the fact I have never practiced it with her.  Whoops!  😜 Thank goodness for sane horses haha.

I then had a quick moment to change from dressage to jump tack.  I headed back over to the outdoor ring, where we had to jump a grid and an SJ course of 2'3".  Besides getting a little close to the base of a jump or two and one yucky chip, Ellie was great.  My examiner recommended I stay cognizant of throwing Ellie off balance, and that while I don't necessarily jump up her neck, if I allow myself to get too far forward at all on her short neck, she is more apt to chip.  It was good advice!

We passed both the flat and jumping portion, but still had XC to go!  I had to jump a XC course of at least 4-5 jumps at 2'3".  I was feeling confident we would do well at this point, as Ellie had been a star all day.  We had to hack up to the other end of the farm behind the indoor in order to jump in the field.  The D-2 candidate was also jumping XC, and she went first.  I had five jumps to choose from and had to make my own course; the only fence that made me a little worried was the white barrels, only because it is the only type of jump Ellie has never seen and a bright white jump can be intimating.  

I chose a flowing loop around the field with two changes of direction to get all the jumps in, and I made sure to start with the smallest and most inviting fence haha.  I should not have worried at all, as Ellie took each jump easily and while she peeked at the white barrels a bit, she didn't hesitate at all.  We were not supposed to exceed 300 mpm on XC, but Ellie and I were definitely closer to 350 haha. Other than telling us we were a little "speedy", the examiner seemed really pleased with everything!  I felt as though we had definitely passed, but we had to wait a little while for her to write everything up to give us the official word.

I took care of Ellie, got her hosed off and cooled down, and put her back onto the trailer to eat hay.  We all met back at the picnic table and it was exciting to hear we had all passed!  YAY!  I received all "has met the standard" with a few exceeded standards that I forgot to write down or take a pic of, so I don't remember lol.  But it was in the HM portion.

four Pony Clubbers
four successful ratings!
Pony Club has been so much fun this year, from meeting new horse friends to having fun rally experiences with my teammates to passing all of my D ratings.  My plan is to study over the winter for my C-1 and take that in the spring.  There are definitely some questions I need to study (I bought the C rating book from PC a few weeks ago!) like the different names of conformation/unsoundness terms and names of farriery tools (most of which I "know" but need to review to make sure!).  We will have to ride BN Test A and jump 2'9" at the C-1 rating, which should be doable, especially once we move up to Beginner Novice in June 2020!  It makes me excited to now have a rating that we need to study and prepare for.  I am not thinking the C-2 rating will happen next year though, as while I can easily pass the HM section, we need to ride Novice Test A and jump 3'.  I don't feel as though we will move beyond BN level in 2020, so the ratings won't go as quickly as they did this year.  But that is OK, as the point isn't to progress quickly at all, but to develop a reliable and happy eventing partner!  

Comments

  1. Congrats on getting your ratings! Following along in your adult pony club adventure has been a lot of fun! I am so surprised they test emergency dismounting - and glad that Ellie kept her head!

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    1. Thank you! And it said in the paperwork that adult members only had to describe the reasons and procedure of an emergency dismount, not actually do one LOL! But the examiner was like, nope, I want you to do it. At the trot! I was like well, Ellie, this is your chance to show how good you are haha.

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  2. Congrats! I got as high as C-1 before college but I definitely remember practicing my trotting emergency dismount, LOL

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    1. Nice!! Yeah, I remember doing it as a kid but, man, it has been a long time! :-P I just wanted to stick the landing and make sure Ellie didn't spook off because I was leaping! hahaha

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  3. Thank you for continuing to chronicle this journey. I'm learning a lot from your experiences.

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    1. You are welcome! It has been a lot of fun and I definitely recommend PC to anyone who is interested!

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  4. I love that you are loving pony club! And am very impressed you could just emergency dismount! I had to do one two years ago and I literally created a stress fracture because my old fat self is not meant to be jumping off horses! Very impressed you could just do it like it was nothing!

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    1. Well, I don't think it was my most graceful movement hahahahaha! I have to say that starting Pilates back in March this year was the BEST thing I have ever done for my body, core strength, and flexibility! I have not been able to touch my toes since I was in elementary school and this summer I finally could!! It is amazing and helps this 40 year old body not feel so old! ;-)

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