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RABT Summer Cross Country Derby - July 12, 2020

At the beginning of July, Ellie and I tackled our first ever BN level XC course at a competition! We take jumping lessons with Babette at RABT Farm (Rest & Be Thankful Farm), so having Babette there that day to coach me was perfect.  We did have some bobbles on my part, like not riding to each fence and not enough leg (NEVER ENOUGH LEG) so we had one stop on course, but I was super pumped to have a chance to jump around a course at a place we are totally comfortable but it was a crazy chaotic day with 50 horse/rider pairs and a ton more activity than our Wednesday lesson days!  ready to go I paid for a second unjudged round after our division of nine riders jumped and we went clean. It was a beautiful summer day and such a fun opportunity. All COVID protocols were in place and people were super respectful of them.  Due to our stop, we ended up in 8th place with a 3rd place team finish! I paired up with two of my Epona PC teammates for the team competition and they both won their di

Georges Malleroni clinic - September 14, 2019

Because Ellie and I were awarded a Morgan Dressage Association scholarship this year, I spent a lot of time looking for worthwhile dressage clinics to attend.  Sadly, throughout the first few months of the show season, there really wasn't anything I was interested in.  There was a Shannon Dueck clinic I was thinking of attending down in MA, but it ended up being canceled.  I knew Ashley Madison would be back this fall, the clinician I rode with last November, but I had enough scholarship money to ride in at least one other clinic.

I saw an interesting clinic pop up on my Facebook feed in August.  The farm where it was being held is almost three hours away, so I hesitated at first.  But I inquired and there was a spot open for me on a Saturday, which was much more doable as we were back in school by this point.  The clinician was Georges Malleroni, the director of the Escola de Equitaçao de Alcainça in Portugal.  He is originally from France, studied extensively with Nuno Oliveira, and is a true classical dressage trainer and rider.

Georges demonstrating something with my reins
A childhood friend of mine, Becky, who also owns a Kennebec Morgan and has brought him up from birth to PSG, has ridden with Georges for many years.  She even went to Portugal to train with him at his riding school and has been encouraging me to take a lesson or clinic with him for years.  So this felt like a great use of part of my scholarship money!

Ellie trucked up to Peppergrass Farm just fine.  We were allowed to tack up in the barn, which was quite nice, as it was overcast and misty that afternoon.  We were the last ride of the day, so it was not that busy.  Ellie was happy to be crosstied in the barn instead of standing in the rain at the trailer, so I was able to take my time getting her groomed up and ready.  The only thing she found slightly terrifying was the large fan in the aisle, which wasn't turned on, but the breeze was making the blades spin around randomly LOL.
patiently waiting our turn

this is random, but the stall next to the crossties was apparently named Snappy
I spotted this empty box on the owner's trunk
and it caught my breath a little :-(
I miss my plain brown mare!
There wasn't much room in the indoor to get her warmed up ahead of time, as there was a lesson before me.  I was kind of bummed since I wanted to get Ellie stretching through her back and neck and ready to work.  It can take her 15-20 minutes of warm-up to finally become and stay steady in the connection.  So I don't feel as though we got as much as we could have if I had been able to do my own warm-up first.  They do have an outdoor ring, but I didn't want to get soaked. 

It is not a huge deal though, because Georges was able to see me do a quick and abbreviated warm-up.  I usually walk and stretch her much more than we had time to do, so I was showing him her walk, trot, and canter within the first ten minutes.

He is the quintessential old school French classical dressage instructor and wanted me to ride Ellie straighter instead of with so much bend.  It made sense, it is just to complete opposite way Beth and I have approached her training, with getting her to bend and release the neck/shoulder area near Ellie's withers has been crucial to getting her to truly come through over her back.  And only now have we started thinking about riding her more "straight".

It is also interesting to note that I have been trained in the German way of driving the horse forward with the seat and legs into a bit connection, which is different from the way Georges wanted me to ride.  I struggled to separate my aids.  So while I have no doubt the French and German methods can exist together, and one is not more correct than the other, it was eye-opening and fascinating to me in a good way.

It was valuable to me to see how to ride her without so much bend and better control her hindquarters from shifting, especially to the right.  Georges is a kind and patient man, and he fully recognized how much he was asking me to change in a short time.  Neither Ellie or I had a meltdown hahaha, but we were both definitely trying our hardest to do what Georges was asking.

Here are three short trot videos from the lesson.  Becky was able to stop by to watch and took these as well as the few photos above!  

Video 1
Video 2
Video 3 (she was not afraid of the cat haha)

Georges comes to Maine every few months, so I do think I would ride with him again.  He liked Ellie and told me she was a really nice mare and called her "really special", which I appreciated.  He is not the type of person to exaggerate praise.  It never hurts to have a new and unique perspective of your horse and where you are at in your training.  It was definitely a good use of my scholarship.


  1. That is so cool. You have been so busy this Fall!! And I love how Ellie has such a good head on her shoulders. Always makes me want a Morgan!!


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