Operation Bronze Medal: Partway There!

We’ve had crazy amounts of rain over the last week, and I was kind of glad I wasn’t entered at an event because there was no way we would have run.

But I didn’t really expect the brand new fancy all-weather rings at Morven Park to be unrideable on Saturday.

I’d entered the PVDA Spring Dressage Show, and had planned to do two first level tests on Saturday and two second level tests on Sunday to knock those scores out and start really working on the third level tests for my bronze medal.

By the time my first ride time came around on Saturday afternoon the rain had stopped, but the warm up footing was just horrendous–uneven, deep and sloppy. It’s similar to the footing at Morningside, sort of a wax-coated sand, and if it rains a lot the week before a Morningside CT, I don’t go.

The minute we stepped in the ring Oh So started tripping in walk. I tried a bit of trot and canter, and it wasn’t much better, so I tried trotting on the bluestone outside the rings. He was a bit tense and unhappy at that point, and with no warmup, even for a first level test, I wasn’t feeling good about it either.

I trotted around the outside of the competition ring when it was my time, and it was similar, so I told the judge I was scratching.

I was pretty upset about that. Just more money down the drain, but I have to keep his soundness in mind. Deep is not good for him. It’s just frustrating since the bluestone and rubber ring at the barn was fine, and the indoor at Morven was unavailable. Sometimes fancy footing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Luckily in dressage if you scratch, it doesn’t mean your whole show is over, so I came back the next day cautiously optimistic. It was quite hot and sunny, and the ring was 95% better, so we went for it.

I think he doesn’t love that kind of footing either way because he tripped a couple of times, but it was much more even, and there were no holes.

I think because it was so hot he was a little more willing to work with me, so I felt for both tests that he was fairly rideable and not tense, just anticipating a couple of things.

We’ve always had issues with him wanting to jig after a canter/walk transition, just anticipating the next upwards transition, but I thought his serpentine with simple changes across the centerline were decent. One was a bit abrupt down, but he didn’t anticipate. He did flip his head in the upwards transition at C after a medium walk in the corner, so that wasn’t helpful, but that was the only serious mistake.

The medium trots sitting are difficult for me, and I definitely bounced, so it wasn’t the prettiest picture. I need to continue to school those at home, and the judge commented that I need to flow more with him. Noted!

The second test felt about the same, but I thought the pattern was a bit more difficult. I wasn’t confident in my geometry, so I think my half turns on the haunches were a bit off in particular.

The judge wanted to see more angle in the haunches in as well. We scored a 63% on the first test and a 65% on the second test. We ended up winning the first class and getting second in the other!

Our scores were mostly 6s and 7s. We did get one 8 on our first centerline and one 5.5 on the rider score for my bouncing, which was sad, but not undeserved. I’m hoping we can turn a few of those 6s into 7s and maybe get a few more 8s next time, but now that we have those two second level scores we needed for the bronze, we’re going to leave that level behind for now until we can get through the third level stuff, especially the flying changes.

He’s been offering them when we school the second level counter canter, which is appreciated, but not needed, so hopefully we can cut down on his confusion now. I’m bummed that I have to try to find another show to get those first level scores out of the way though, but I feel a sense of accomplishment to have gotten our scores at a licensed show and won! I wasn’t expecting that.




Things I’m Loving In May

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Rambo Plus Fly Mask

Oh So has decided this year that he can’t simply be bothered to wear a fly mask, so I’ve been trying a couple of different brands hoping to find one that will stay on.

I thought for sure the Rambo Plus Fly Mask would be “the one,” but alas, he got it off too! Maybe it’s because he knows he looks so silly in it? Either way, I still like the mask, no matter how dorky it makes him look. You’d think the raised eye area would alleviate any irritation around his eyes and ensure he wouldn’t try to rub it off, but nope! But I still like that it doesn’t sit so close to his eyes. With other fly masks I’m concerned about trapping dirt so close to his eyes when he rolls in mud and it crusts on.

The mask has a detachable nose cover, which I took off when I bought it, but it’s a great idea for horses that tend to sunburn.

The mask runs a bit large, so he wears the cob size. Even then, the ears are a bit large, but it seems it was designed that way. It has two Velcro enclosures under the jaw, one that slips through a keeper and attaches back to itself, but that didn’t help keep it any more secure on him.

I honestly like the fly mask despite that. I think he’s having some help in the field from his friends, so I can’t place the blame on the fly mask!


Grand Champion Fly Repellent and Show Ring Shine

I got a full size bottle of this with my latest A Horse Box, and I’m glad I did because I was really curious about it.

I like to keep a bottle of fly spray in the trailer, and this is perfect since I can use it as a touch up at shows.

I sprayed it on Oh So this weekend at a dressage show and was immediately blinded by the shine! Wow. It’s an aerosol spray, and the directions say to wipe or brush it into the coat.

It’s made with citronella and lanolin for a soft, shiny coat and pyrethins for fly control.

The spray has a pleasant citronella scent, and seemed to keep the flies at bay for a while.

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Joules Official Badminton Women’s T-Shirt

I picked up this shirt at Badminton, but you can get it online. What’s better than a stylish eventing T-shirt? I love stripes, and that’s Joules’ signature. They had it displayed with an olive green jacket, and I loved the way it was styled, so I’m going to try it with one I have that’s similar when the weather cools down again.

Badminton: Checking Off The Bucket List

I gave up a trip to Kentucky this year so I could check off a big bucket list item; going to the Badminton Horse Trials!

I’ve watched my VHS tapes and DVDs of the event from as far back as the mid-90s and never dreamed I’d ever go, but I decided this was the year.

A photographer friend who’d always wanted to go met me in London, and we started with a quick adventure in the city. It’s strange since I was just there in November, but I had a pretty good feel for how to get around.

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We Made It To A Recognized Event! Loudoun Recap

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GRC Photo

It was looking iffy that we would make it to the Loudoun Hunt Pony Club Horse Trials last week with Oh So having time off for his injury and losing some riding time, plus tons of rain the week before, but I’m happy to say we made it!

I walked the course on Saturday evening because Morven Park is literally five minutes from my house! The footing looked a bit deep in spots, especially at crossings, and I thought for sure Lisa would say we shouldn’t run, so I mentally prepared for the disappointment of just doing a combined test. To be honest, having not done a recognized event at any level for nearly two years, even some of the novice tables looked kind of big to me!

He stayed in overnight to keep clean, and I was there bright and early the next morning to braid, which I also haven’t done for awhile!

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Product Review: Battling Skin Issues

I recently tested some fungal and anti-bacterial products for COTH’s Untacked magazine!

Oh So actually had a pretty good winter skin-wise, despite living in a horrible paddock of mud. Now he’s starting to get a few knicks and scrapes being in a bigger field, so some of these products have come in handy!

Here’s a few items that have become staple items in my tack trunk.

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Farewell Sam

On April 20 my family said goodbye to Sam. Over the last few years he’s developed severe arthritis in his right knee, and  while he was still full of life at age 24, his body just couldn’t keep up, and we were unable to manage his pain.

We’ve never euthanized a horse before, so this was a new and emotional experience, but I’m happy we were able to choose his time. He’s now resting peacefully in his paddock overlooking our farm. He always did like to know everything that was going on in his domain.

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