A Trifecta

It’s been pretty non-stop since I got back from Fair Hill in October. I made a pretty major life change and became a boarder for the first time in 13 years.

While I was perfectly happy with my life, my parents thought it was time for me to move out and be closer to my job. They want to retire eventually and not take care of two crazy OTTBs, so here we are. Sam and the minis are still at home, along with my two cats. I really miss having them around, but I’ve been able to get home about once a week or every ten days  to get my fix.

Boarding after taking care of my own horses for so long has been a major adjustment. I like controlling every aspect of my horse’s care and now I can’t, and that really irritates me. From how much hay they get to which paddock they go in to how many times the arena gets dragged, I’m struggling a bit and my OCD is freaking out.

The good news is the place I’ve found is about as good as I can get for my budget and is close to my apartment in Leesburg. I can stop by on my way to work to turn them out and ride on the way home. I’ve got friends nearby who can help me out and the barn owner comes highly recommended. It’s not the fanciest place, but there’s tons of rideout, an indoor and a little cross-country course, which Oh So has been loving.

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The boys are both in a small paddock together right now but will be going out in a group next week, another thing I’m freaking out about.

They were pretty awful about being separated at first, but they’re slowly getting better–just screaming now, no running.

The good news about being in the area I’m in is that it’s closer to a lot more things. On my first weekend, I took Bear cross-country schooling at Loch Moy, which is now only 45 minutes away. We worked through some of his “teenage” moments at the water and down banks that weekend and he finished really well.


The next weekend I took him to school at Hunt Club Farm. He did his first ever combined test there, but now they’ve got a nice cross-country course. I think doing the two back-to-back weekends of schooling really helped both of our confidence and we went to the starter trial at Loch Moy and won our beginner novice division on his dressage score of 26!

Loch Moy Starter Trial
Loch Moy Starter Trial

I wasn’t really happy with our dressage warmup because it was so crazy and I just didn’t have a plan. He felt behind the leg, but he was mentally handling everything. We had a few minutes to work near our ring and after watching our video, I think we actually looked a little quick in trot. Sometimes I think I look for more out of him compared to Oh So, but I need to just take it down a notch and trust we’re actually moving forward. As a result, I drew my heel up a bit as I was kicking/using my spur, so I looked awful!

I got a little rapid in my show jumping, taking a few “bids” three strides away and he thought that was great fun! He was a bit wild and I just didn’t keep an even pace, so not the prettiest round, but he was certainly going and enjoying himself.

Loch Moy Starter Trial
Loch Moy Starter Trial

Cross-country was much more steady and he was very brave and attacked each fence. A few in the woods backed him off just enough to make for some nice jumps, and he went right in the water.

The week before Loch Moy I took Oh So for an outing at Waredaca’s Starter Trial. He wasn’t quite ready to do the full thing since he hasn’t cross-country schooled since this summer before his tendon sheath issue, so we did a novice CT.

Oh So at Waredaca
Oh So at Waredaca

His warm up was quite good, but once we got onto the bluestone near our ring he tightened up a bit and got very strong in my hand. We must have faked it well because we got a 27! Lisa made some good points in our warmup about downgrading our work for the novice test. It’s so easy and while we both prefer a test with more to do, for now, we can warmup with more transitions and a more open frame, rather than counter canter and lateral work.

Our show jumping round was a bit rough in between the fences since he was so eager to go, but we got it done. In fact, he was almost a bit backed off, which was a weird feeling. I think just not being out for awhile had him quite up.

We ended up winning the combined CT division and a Waredaca gift card!

Oh So at Waredaca
Oh So at Waredaca

Last weekend I took Bear to a new event for me, Full Moon Farm. It’s been ages since I’ve been to a new event, so I had a little tinge of nervousness.

We warmed up mostly on the grass to get him thinking forward and finished up on the sand near our ring. I still didn’t really have a plan, other than thinking forward and working on our transitions, but we ended up with a 26.8. I was a little surprised since I thought the score might be a bit higher due to the recognized element and the fact that the test felt similar to the one at Loch Moy, but I’ll take it!


Show jumping was on a grassy hill, so Lisa and I talked a lot about how we would ride the turns and slopes. It was quite open, but as a result of focusing on my turns, we had 2 time faults! Oops. It was a smoother round than Loch Moy, but we didn’t get all of our leads like I was hoping. He did a few cleaner flying changes though, so that was cool. He doesn’t quite know how to do them on command, so the fact that he was balancing himself was good.

We’ve been lucky this fall to be able to event this far into November, and the footing on cross-country was about as good as it could have been. It was a little tacky, something Bear’s never seen before.

This prize was a bit of a head-scratcher.
This prize was a bit of a head-scratcher.

He was a little wide-eyed as we started since the course is kind of like a roller coaster and goes by the parking and the show jumping. There’s a lot to look at, but once we got to fence 5, a jump with a roof over it, he seemed to be pretty on. He did the little down bank to a roll top well, a bending line, an up bank and the water and ditch perfectly. We actually picked a line to the water to get the best footing, so he barely had to put a foot in it, but we were still between the flags!

We ended up winning the open beginner novice division, which was a great way to end the season. I feel like with some consistency over the last few weeks, we hammered it home to him and he gets it now. With me traveling so much this year and dealing with getting his feet right, we were just inconsistent. He probably could have been going novice by now, but it’s OK. He is still only five (and still for sale!).


Happy face.
Happy face.

Yesterday I took Oh So cross-country schooling and he had so much fun. He just wants to run and jump and was actually frustrated that we were walking around with a group of babies before our lesson! He was jigging and prancing and generally being silly, but it makes me smile. Every day I can still ride him is a blessing, so we’ll take it one day and one jump at a time. I’m hoping to take him to a derby at Loch Moy in December which is entirely run in their arenas.

First show of the season!

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I was finally able to make it out to my first show of the season with Bear at Morningside last Saturday.

It was quite windy, but he settled right in when we got to the show. The warmup on the polo field was pretty sucky so we had to warm up on the track and in the tiny little warm up ring, which always bothers me, but he seemed just fine with it.

The person ahead of us scratched, so we were able to warm up near our ring on good footing. The test itself was pretty good for the first time out. He was a bit spooky near the judge’s stand because there was a tarp flapping on the side of the hut. He took exception to that during his right lead canter circle at C, but the judge was quite kind and gave us a 25.3, with a 9 on our final centerline!

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I think the biggest thing to think of in the tests with him is to push him into the corners and really “show off” of those circles since it’s such a simple test. Our free walk and the transition to medium walk then trot needs some work and his final halt was square but not quite round and soft, so we’ll be working on those things before Loudoun. In watching myself, I’m still too active and trying to “push him along”. My heel was drawn up a bit and I was tipped forward in some photos, so I’ll be working on keeping a longer leg and a taller, more upright body position.

We went out on the hill after and had a short cross-country school. I’ll be taking him for a jump lesson tomorrow since my plans with Oh So have now changed.

I had a lovely jump school in the ring at Morningside on Sunday morning with Lisa and we went out on the hill to do a slow canter, Oh So’s first of the year. The footing wasn’t the best at some fences, so we literally jumped two jumps, the coffin and a small log into the water.

He had Monday off and was fooling around in the mud on Tuesday according to my mom. When I went to ride, he was most definitely off and I had the vet scheduled to come for chiropractic work, but we ended up doing a lameness exam instead. Sigh.

We isolated it to the left front and blocked it. He got better after we had blocked the lower fetlock/suspensory area and then ultrasounded. Thankfully there was nothing obvious on the ultrasound so we determined he probably tweaked his leg in the field. He’ll have a few days off and I’ll watch him go and decide what to do.

Unfortunately, I had planned on doing a combined test at Morningside this weekend, which will now not happen. I’m keeping my entry to Loudoun for now since we’re 10 days out and I’m hopeful, but really discouraged about the whole situation. I wish I had a real answer as to what it was, but now it’s a wait and see. Will I ever get to go to an event again?

He feels about as good as he’s ever been and his hind end feels really good too, so now I just cross my fingers and wait. And never speak out loud about any competition plans ever again.

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Plugging Away

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The snow finally melted, but not before it made my life a hassle when I tried to get down to Florida for the Red Hills Horse Trials.

After driving through the snow to the Richmond airport, my flight was promptly canceled and I made the decision to drive to the Charlotte airport since there were no flights out of any area airports the next day.

Five hours later, I got a hotel, slept and was on a plane the next day to Tallahassee and at the show by lunchtime. Whew!

It was a lovely event marred only by the sad death of Kyle Carter’s horse, Conahy’s Courage. I don’t have anything else to add to the conversation that’s been swirling since it happened, except that it happened at a pretty simple fence and just seemed like a freak accident, not anything involving course design, speed or experience.

Here’s a link to my coverage.

Once I got back, it was full steam ahead with both boys. Oh So has been feeling really good from behind–back to his normal self since before his hip injury, so now I feel like we can press on and finally get to an event!

The footing is drying out so I’m planning on getting him out on some hills to really strengthen his hind end before we do anything. I’m looking at a combined test in April to get going and then maybe his first event late April or in May.

On the flat, he’s been getting more consistent about his work, meaning he doesn’t always get tense, which has sort of always been him. I’ve found I can ask for a lateral movement or a change in gait or pace and he’s tolerating it and I’m not “losing him” and spending the rest of the ride getting him quiet again.

For awhile, I thought he might never be the same after having so much time off, but he’s coming around. He is getting a bit strong in my hand as the ride goes on though, so I’m trying to make sure he listens to my half halts and that I don’t get tense in my arms trying to hold him. I think that’s the last piece that needs to be polished after his time off, so to speak.

Bear has been going well but I’ve had to modify our plans since we haven’t been able to school cross-country because of the weather. I’m hoping to take him to an unrecognized event in April if we can get a couple of schools in.

I had a conversation with Lisa last week about starting to treat him like an adult and not so much a baby anymore, which means he must move off my leg when I ask, he needs to start moving away from the jumps quicker and he needs to start learning to shorten and lengthen his canter stride. We worked on that in our lesson last week by asking him to shorten his stride across the short side of the indoor ring to a vertical with ground rails on either side, similar to what we did a few weeks ago.

I played around with it in my flat lesson the other day too, but he misinterpreted my aid to mean trot instead of shorten, so that’s something I’ll be working on in the next few weeks.

Here’s a video of both boys this last week. In the flat session with Bear, Nicky and I worked on leg yielding on a straight line in canter to get him to sit a bit from behind and not canter wide behind. He seemed to get it and now we’ll start working more on some counter canter loops.

Oh So’s lesson shows his warmup, which was nice and quiet. We worked on leg yielding to warm him up and keeping a little more inside flexion in trot and canter and the leg yields to make sure he stayed soft.

Morningside CT recap

Bear schooling at home.

It’s been about two months since Bear was last out at a show due to his foot bruise, my travels and just getting him legged up again, but we made it to Morningside on Sunday for a combined test.

We decided to do baby novice one more time and he was pretty good. I don’t think he’s going to be one to need a lot of dressage warmup, which is nice, because it’s exhausting riding him compared to Oh So! He’s still learning to get off my leg but I decided against spurs since he’s been ultra sensitive to them at home lately, and I really could have used them by the time I trotted down centerline.

As a result, in our first canter transition, I freaked out a bit and chased him, so we got a 5 for that. His downwards transition was also rough as he swung his hindquarters in. Those are hard to do on the long side!

After the free walk, the test was steadier and we picked up a few 7s and 8s to finish with a 32.0. It was probably a little generous, but hey, it made me feel good!

He cantered easily around the baby novice course, but I was throwing my upper body left a little on landing so we didn’t get every lead. I’m not sure why I do it to the left on him but to the right on Oh So.

They had quite a few people sign up for baby novice and beginner novice jumping rounds, so after warming up on the track for our beginner novice round, which is awful because you can’t get into a rhythm, we had to sit around and wait for probably 40 minutes. He was fine with it, but I think I should have done a couple of jumps before we went in since I work best off the momentum of a few rhythmic jumps.

They put in the panels and fillers for the beginner novice division and in hindsight, I should have let him have a peek at some of them. He started off ok over the first fence, but then I asked for a long one to the second and he popped in an extra stride, while I stupidly jumped ahead for a pretty ugly effort.

We regained our composure quickly for the next two jumps, but I did the same stupid thing again to a vertical with a stone wall, and pretty much almost fell off! We regained our composure again and finished a lot better than we started!

So, moral of the story- I’m still figuring out my balance on him compared to Oh So. We’ve only recently started putting the jumps up to serious beginner novice height, and while Oh So made them seem tiny when I started him, Bear is smaller and I have less in front of me. His neck comes out of his shoulders at less of an upwards angle and I don’t have huge withers and a long neck to “catch me” should I jump ahead.

Oh So also finds long spots quite fun, so I’ve been able to get away with jumping ahead with my upper body. He’s rarely chipped in in the years I’ve had him.

So, Bear will teach me not to jump ahead I hope, because otherwise I’ll end up on the ground! He’s also been so saintly, quiet and almost bored jumping at home and in our lessons that I think I’ve trusted that too much. He was slightly surprised by the fillers at Morningside, so he added a stride instead of taking off long. Thankfully he doesn’t seem to mind as I right myself after the jump. A true amateurs horse, even at 4 years old!

For now we’ll just work on getting comfortable jumping at the height. I’ve done a ton of prelims but beginner novice feels big on him to me. He doesn’t seem to care, but I need to get brave now!

I included the second half of our BN round here since it was much better than the first!


Bouncing Around Baby Novice

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OK, so I’ve run out of creative titles and am going with alliteration!

But that title pretty accurately represents my Saturday with Bear at Morningside.

We had another early ride time before 9am and I kept him in the night before after a couple hours of turnout in the evening. Combined with the cool weather and the bigger atmosphere at Morningside, I knew he’d be a little up first thing in the morning.

There were a few trailers when we pulled in and he was definitely looky. I decided to get on about an hour before our test to walk over to the show area and let him have a look.

He was on his toes on the way over there, definitely a different side of him I haven’t seen before!

We watched a few horses do their dressage tests, then walked back and by that point, he was building. We had a few “baby” moments in the warmup ring where I wish I’d had my martingale on, then Lisa got there and we got down to business.

Once he was moving he focused the best he could considering the stimuli. He was grinding his teeth a bit, but we worked through walk, trot and canter, keeping the connection and making sure he was staying slower rather than quickening.

We walked over to the ring a few minutes before our test and worked in the arena on footing. He was totally focused by that point, but in hindsight, I should have asked for another couple of canter transitions before we went in for the test because he wasn’t sharp off my leg.

We got 8s on the centerline and the first trot circle, which was pretty cool. As we got to the corner for our left canter transition, he was totally dead to my leg and I had to kick and squeeze to get him into it. 4. Oops!

I also had to give him a reminder tap with the whip during the circle. 5. Resistant.

We don’t quite have a free walk yet so we got a 6 on that, but when I gathered him up for the trot transition, he stayed fairly connected in walk, which is good for him at this point in his training. I haven’t been insisting on that connection in walk because my dressage trainer Nicky doesn’t think he needs to be that connected yet, but Lisa wanted to see a little more, so I asked and he yielded.

I had some more trouble getting into the right lead canter and clucked at him, and the judge noticed. Oops. 6.

We had a good transition down to trot on the long side, which I think is sort of difficult since I always ask on a circle, then couldn’t quite stayed balanced enough to turn down centerline, so we got a 5 on that and the halt since he was against my hand. Again, something we need to keep practicing.

We ended up with a 37.4 on Beginner Novice Test A. I think if we can fix the canter work, he could easily score below 35 and I’d be perfectly happy. He got a 7 on his gaits, so that was nice.

So now for the over-analyzing-even-though-he’s-4-and-I-should-just-be-happy-that-we-stayed-in-the-ring:

I’m at the point now in his training where he needs to be sharper off my leg. He always feels slow to me compared to Oh So, so I have to keep his natural rhythm in mind, but he can be a little lazy. Lisa suggested a small pair of spurs now. I’m working at home on getting him more forward and sharper off my leg, but it just didn’t translate at the show.

Of course, I’d rather have him slower than faster, but I literally got a cramp in my leg from asking him to canter during the test!

We also need to work on smoother turns onto the centerline and smoother transitions through walk into the halt.

I didn’t get a chance to walk the show jumping, so I was a little nervous. We warmed up on the track, which is tough because it’s hard to get in a rhythm, but he didn’t seem to mind. We hung out for a bit while other’s went before us, then went in.

We was a little high-headed and looking around but we made it over all the jumps and got all the distances! We didn’t get every lead, but we got some of them and he tried to change for others, so I think it was our smoothest round yet.

We ended up fourth.

We went up on the hill to play on the cross-country course, but there weren’t a ton of small jumps for us, so we worked over a small ditch and up and down some hills. He went in to the water on the first try and we trotted and cantered over a log on the edge of the water. Training level here we come! 😉

So overall, I was really happy with how he handled the atmosphere. It was a lot to throw at him with two dressage rings going, horses in the distances, tons of trailers and more than one horse in the warmup.

He keeps getting better every outing, so I’m dropping our first entry in the mail tomorrow for the Waredaca Starter Trial on June 8 at beginner novice.

I think we need a couple more cross-country schools, but at this point it’s time to bite the bullet and just do it. There aren’t any convenient unrecognized events until September and by that point, I think we’ll be ready for recognized beginner novice.

I’m off to my brother’s wedding in Dayton, Ohio this weekend, so the horses will have a few days off. Oh So is up to five minutes canter and his work ethic/submission is slowly coming back. I’ve got the vet coming soon to watch us ride and determine when we can start adding more work and maybe jumping.

I went to Jersey Fresh last weekend to cover it for COTH. It was a pretty nice weekend and I was happy with our coverage. It was a shame so many didn’t make it around the CCI*** course and that there were so few entries to start with. I did an extensive analysis of the event in the issue out this week.

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Second Show Success

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Another 5am wakeup call awaited me on Saturday for Bear’s second show, this time at Hunt Club Farm in Berryville, Va.

I’ll back up a bit to last weekend for a minute though, when we took him for his second cross-country schooling at Locochee Farm in Middleburg. They have a nice cross-country course with lots of baby logs and things, but first we warmed up in the ring over some jumps with flower boxes.

He was a bit distracted, being a new ring, and Lisa had us trot to a white panel with the farm name across it. He took one look as we approached and dove sideways, so I let him go look at it, then represented and he did it just fine.

The cross-country course is on a huge hill, but it flattens out at the top a bit where the water jump and banks are. He got to the top of the hill and was quite impressed with the view. We had a buddy with us who was more experienced, which was nice to have.

Lisa had me start by going back to the bottom of the hill and cantering up over three logs in a row, about five strides apart. He was a little all over the place, but we jumped them and did it a second time with better impulsion. It was very weird to be kicking, but he has no concept of jumping UP a hill, so that was a good exercise.

She had me canter him up a bank for the first time (this one was a double bank with a one stride) and again, it was a little awkward and crooked, but he tried. We walked down a single bank as well and followed our buddy into the water.

I was a bit disappointed in myself by the way I rode a three-stride combination of logs in a mock sunken road. I didn’t take him far enough away for a really long approach like Lisa wanted and he ran out at the first log as it crested a small hill. I almost fell off to one side, but we approached again with more distance and had a much better ride. Lesson learned: give the baby horse more distance than you think to approach a jump for the first time.

Lisa felt like we “blew his mind” a bit, not in a bad way, but that we introduced a lot of new things in a new venue with a lot of atmosphere. He handled it as well as he could have,  I just need to make sure to give him the benefit of the doubt and not start riding him like a horse with a lot of experience.

It’s just a different experience for me because Oh So has never questioned a jump, even during his first schoolings. He’s stopped at two cross-country fences in his life (and both were my fault), and although he was older when we started him, he just never says “no.” Bear is obviously very green and has less “life experience”, and he’s maybe a bit more timid right now, but as long as we take our time and teach him correctly, I have no doubt he’ll rise to the occasion.

In fact, I think he really did at the combined test yesterday. We decided to stay at the intro level (18″-2′) for one more show since he’d never been to this venue. We were the first (and only one) in our division and I got on about 45 minutes before our test. We had a nice area to warmup on footing and were able to ride around in the covered ring before our test since the judge was late.

It’s a strange feeling to be able to work a bit, let him walk on no contact, then pick him up and have him be pretty much the same. With Oh So, it’s all about keeping him working until it’s time to go in for our test.

I wasn’t as happy with this test, just because the indoor ring made it feel a little claustrophobic and I think we lost some impulsion. The footing was also a bit deep. We scored a 33, which is definitely an improvement from the first show. The judge just said she’d like to see a more steady contact, and I’m partly to blame for that since I tend to let my reins get long with him for some reason.

The show jumping course had quite a few bright jumps with fillers, and I walked him by a couple of spooky ones, anticipating a similar reaction to the one at Locochee, but he didn’t care and jumped everything confidently. We missed a couple of leads again and got a bit close to a couple of jumps, but we made it through! In the warmup out in the field, he was shaking his head and wanted to buck a little, so I think he’s really started to enjoy himself and that gave me a good feeling going into the ring.

After that, we went out to play on their cross-country course, but they really didn’t have any tiny jumps for us. They did have a good intro ditch though and we jumped that a few times, then did the actual riveted one and he was awesome.

Overall, it was a great experience. I think I’ll enter him at Morningside in a couple of weeks and do an intro test and a training level test with canter because Lisa will be out of town.

I’m off to Jersey Fresh this weekend, so fingers crossed it doesn’t rain!


Bear’s First Show!

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I was up bright and early at 5am on Saturday to take Bear to his first combined test at Sandstone Farm. We entered the first timers division, which is Intro Test A and 18″ jumps.

Lisa and I decided it would be best to do the lower fences, even though he’s jumping 2′ to 2’6″ now at home. He tends to get distracted, so he could at least trot over everything if needed!

We were the first trailer there, but people slowly trickled in, which was an ideal situation. I didn’t want to get there in the middle of the day and drop him into “chaos” so to speak.

He had a look around, neighed a few times, then wanted to eat grass, so that was a good start. We hand walked around a bit, then I got on about an hour before my test. When Lisa got there, we did a little warmup, but it was on grass and the dew made it a bit slippery, so  we mostly stayed in trot, but got a little canter going up the hill because it definitely helps his trot after.

We were allowed to trot around the outside of the ring before the show started and since we were the first ones in, it was good to be able to do that. In our warmup, Lisa talked about making sure to keep a solid connection from my leg to hand so he stayed focused on me. She also reminded me to watch his floppy donkey ears to make sure they were relaxed!

He lost focus, as expected, a few times when a trailer came rattling up the driveway or when there were dogs barking in the distance, but he really didn’t seem to mind the other horses milling about, which was surprising since we mostly ride alone at home and in lessons off property.

Luckily the warm up was pretty quite when we went, about 2 other horses, so it was the perfect introduction.

The test itself felt pretty close to what we get at home and once he trotted up centerline, he seemed to settle right in. It’s a pretty anti-climactic test, with two trot circles and a diagonal, but we made it through! We got straight 6s on everything except for the final centerline and the “Geometry” score in the collectives where we got 7s.

I can’t be too picky for his first show, but I was hoping for more 7s. I know his gait scores are never going to be as high as Oh So’s, but he certainly had submission and I thought everything looked fairly steady.

The judged remarked that his rhythm and connection was a bit inconsistent, which is normal for a 4-year-old, so I guess that’s where we lost the points on each movement. Oh well, we stayed in the ring and he wasn’t nervous or tense like Oh So can be, so that’s all I can ask for!

The jumps were kind of pathetically small, but that wasn’t the point for the first time out. The warm up was again a bit slippery, so we just did a few jumps and went in. I was really pleased with his confidence once we got on course and in a rhythm. For going in cold-turkey over some brightly colored jumps, he was a star. I got a little stiff in my body, as I do in show jumping, so I didn’t ride as effectively as I could have and we missed some of our leads when I threw my upper body a bit.

We went back in for an unplanned second round to try to fix those mistakes, but it was sort of the same type of round. Oh well. More practice for both of us!

I was really happy that once he was in the ring, he let the outside distractions go. I know it won’t be like that every time, but for the first time, I’d say it was a pretty big accomplishment. I was also really excited to be back showing again. The last time I trotted down centerline was in July. Even though I don’t like those horse show jitters the night before and on the way to the venue, I missed it!

It was pretty funny when we tried to load him to go home. He didn’t want to leave!

We’re going to try another CT in two weeks at Hunt Club Farm and maybe play around on their cross-country course afterwards.

I’m finally allowed to do a bit more with Oh So, so we’ve taken a few excitable walks outside the ring and down the driveway and I tried trot poles for the first time yesterday. Yeah…that didn’t happen! I had three set up 9 feet apart and we bounced through them about three times before I quit for the day.

Today I did one trot set, then immediately did the poles while he was still relaxed and he was fine through them. We’re also allowed to start doing one minute of canter this week, so today I did about one long and one short side. He was a fire-breathing dragon, but I was just laughing and smiling the whole time. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt his canter and I was happy to even have 30 seconds of it. Coming back to trot was interesting as we had a pretty nice collected canter for several strides!

Consistency at CDCTA

I took Oh So up to the CDCTA combined test at Morven Park on Saturday for a little extra practice before Morven’s event in two weeks. The forecast was quite dire, calling for rain and temperatures in the 40’s, but we lucked out for most of the day. I had very late times (dressage at 1:54 and jumping at 4:15), which will probably be the only time this season I’ll have ride times in the afternoon, so it was nice to not have to rush in the morning.

I don’t say this often (or ever), but his dressage warmup was amazing. He was calm, quiet, A ECS13-0807482supple, and stretching, and I felt like I could have gone in and done my test with 20 minutes of warmup. Who is this horse and what has he done with my OTTB? We’d had a very good flat lesson on Thursday, and this was actually even better than that.

Unfortunately they were running a little behind, so I was probably on for 45 minutes, but he didn’t seem to mind. We trotted right in and the test itself was pretty good. Just from watching my video I could see a difference i his whole way of going. He had a lot more freedom in his shoulders and was just generally smooth. He did start to get a little low in his poll as we started going around the outside of the ring and I think it was just because he 429748_10100902399780557_1999114969_nwas maybe a little bit tired. He tends to get that way sometimes if we’ve had too long a warmup.

I had to work pretty hard during the test to keep his poll up, and we did score a couple of 6s due to that, but overall, he was very obedient. We got an 8 on our medium canter circle, our left leg yield, and my position (!), and even got a 7 on the weird ‘give the reins away at X’ that I hate in prelim test A. We ended up with a 31.8 and the judge seemed to love him when we chatted after the test.

A weather front came in as I was tacking up for show jumping and it suddenly went from about 50 to 40 and spitting rain, so that was unpleasant, but he didn’t seem to mind. The course was not huge, which can be expected at a schooling show, but it was still challenging enough. There were a couple of long canters to single fences, which tends to get me picking his stride down to nothing, so that was my big thing. But we both went in, I was pretty relaxed, and he was totally listening, and had a clear round! That kind of feels good. 🙂

He ticked a few, but the fact that he was waiting in between the lines and my position wasn’t horrible made it a good round. I had signed up for a second round, but decided I didn’t need it. We ended up second.

B JAC13-0809247Now we’ll have a couple of quiet weeks before Morven at the end of the month. We’re currently getting more snow, so I’m hoping that will end soon and that maybe we’ll have a dry day for Morven. I can hope, right?