Surprising Show Results – And The Secret To Surviving Heat

Sunday, in the baking hot inferno, Gray Mare did really well at First Level again.

Although everyone else said it was soooo much better, you know, since it wasn’t even 108 like the day before.

15 m canter circle

Quick secret to surviving horse shows in the heat – spend hours, for weeks, working with them in the heat first.  Fully clothed, no Scandinavian dilly dallying with water misters and shortened days.  Absolutely no breaks indoors in A/C.

I deal incredibly poorly with heat, so to enhance the process, I’ve added some daytime runs in the sun.  (Sometimes panicking, stopping behind a retirement center to rinse off with their garden hose, but why admit that publicly?..)

So there you go – horse show heat conquered!

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Valiosa did wonderfully, although mostly rode like a tense ball at both First Level Test 2 and First Level Test 3.  Goal this year:  figure out how to ride the tense ball better.

Today, photobomb.

first level test 3

The free walk in both tests got an 8.5!   Quarter-Cross mare delivered the impossible!  She never fails to surprise. ⇓

free walk at first level


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Trot lengthening.

trot lengthening


This time out, she was sensitive and with some engine.  The first canter transition, with a kick, buck, and this interpretative snake move got only a 3.

bucking at shows

The score for First Level Test 2 was 64.7 (Yay!)

Elinor Yee

In First Level Test 3  she scored 60.1, with 7.5 on one canter transition, and only 3 on the other where we got the wrong lead and got very disconnected on the diagonal.  (It’s our specialty, so no surprise there.)

So happy with her and she’s showing a lot of potential.  She won both classes – not expected as the second test is more of a challenge with the counter canter and other small but more difficult things.

Very lucky to have this mare and friends who let us come along out to shows!  Thank you for all your help!

showing dressage in the heat

30 thoughts on “Surprising Show Results – And The Secret To Surviving Heat

    1. Thank you so much Teresa! Extremely busy days right now and I was thrilled to check in here and see all the support. Love it!
      Well, I think with the giant buck right before the snake move, perhaps we earned that 3 after all πŸ˜‰


  1. Congrats on your scores and your wins! She looks really uphill in the trot lengthening; actually, she looks really uphill most of the time! That’s one huge battle you don’t look like you’ll have to fight with her. Improvised dance moves, well…

    I lost two points going off course. At least it was a predictable off-course. If I’m going to forget where I am in a test, it’s always in this same place (15 meter canter circle at A right before the canter lengthening in 1-3). I’m so ecstatic just to get the lead change through trot right before the circle that I forget it and head right on to the next major challenge…

    However, on Saturday we did break 60 in our 1-3 test, 62.50 to be exact. And we redeemed ourselves in quadrille, it was 90.3-something. Sunday, not so great. We’re always worse on the second day of a 2-day show. More info when I get some video.

    PS: the big fat braids stayed in!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay! Alright Alli, way to go!!! You’ve been working hard for it!
      And this is funny, we have BOTH made that same exact mistake! Maybe it’s something with the test, the way it’s put together, I have no idea. But years ago, with a different mare, I made the very same move, going off course right there, WITH a reader. (Argh!!!)
      Decided right then and there that if was was to be showing, I’d never have a reader again if I could avoid it. Since what’s the use? I was just going to go off course anyway πŸ™‚
      Anyway, well done to you both!!! Especially for braiding a giant thick mane and getting it to stick.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Annette! Thrilled with her, but would like to repeat again of course. There’s something to be said for training at home, and feeling like things are going alright, and then going out to show and getting a COMPLETELY different horse to ride…
      I’m sure you’ve been there.


  2. Bravo! Frist of all for dealing with the heat. Secondly for two good results. That walk is marvelous! That is something that is so hard to train and you have it there! Do they not excuse jackets in CA? In FL in the heat and humidity they excuse jackets and those of us who are older and wiser always ride without jackets once they are excused. I have two of those hi tech long sleeved shirts that wick and have mesh under the arm. They really are cooler than having bare arms. Anyway you and Valiosa look very good for first level. You are on the right road for sure!

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    1. Oh I’m so happy you like that free walk Anne! I can’t even begin to tell you how incredibly ugly the walk was from the start. Short choppy steps, sometimes almost falling over, or at least walking like a drunk, with various “busy” moves like chomping or tossing or sidestepping. Or kicking at leg aids. I’m so please to have gotten her to this poing!
      They DO waive jackets, but since it was cooler on Sunday than the day before, I don’t think the judge did, until maybe in the afternoon
      I’m secretly contemplating making my next purchase one of those long sleeved shirts for shows. Maybe in the winter when they go on sale… For now, I think I need all the help I can get, so coat had to stay on πŸ™‚
      Thank you for coming along “for the ride” with us, I love it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I admire your attitude and I know you are working on your own with Valiosa much of the time so that is not easy. Well even with help it is not easy this dressage. So I enjoy reading about your progress. And you ARE making progress!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you!
          Now that I’ve been able to spend so much more time on long distance running, it’s been harder to continue “self educate” at home, which has been my way of continuing to learn. But, I love both these sports, so somehow I’ll have to make it go on! πŸ™‚

          I know how easy it is to “get stuck” and never really progress, been there my self for many years, so I’m SO grateful to be moving forward!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey, good ride and showing on Sunday. Keep it going.

    We’re on week one of two shows close to home. The girls are riding their events but are also doing a bit of coaching for the five juniors from the club. The juniors are hanging on every word they speak; not much different when my three were doing the shadowing. Trish is overseeing the entire effort.

    Some videos to get you inspired for the next show:

    Pro-tips/preferences from Beezie Madden:
    Bit By Bit from Beezie Madden:
    Bit By Bit from Kent Farrington:
    Pro-Tips /preferences from Kent Farrington:

    Kent and Beezie are the most favorite riders of my girls. The other is Steffen Peters from the dressage world.

    Continue to ride well,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi!
      It’s good to get to stick to shows close to home, isn’t it?! It makes the whole endeavor so much easier. Maybe not as exciting, but yeah, easier πŸ™‚
      Great that they’ve picked up even more on the coaching – I’m sure they’re loving it. Nothing like teaching someone else, to realize how far you’ve come!
      Good for them!

      Steffen Peters is one of my favorites too! He’s always come across as very genuine, and in one of his later interviews he completely won me over. He never seems to have lost that “initial love” for the Horse, after all these years… Love it!

      Thank you for all the links! It will be a click fest this weekend!


  4. I’m so pleased and almost as proud as though I did it myself :-). The canter pictures show such wonderful improvement! Go back and look at the canter from a year ago. She is now so much more uphill and engaged! Clearly a horse who is carrying herself more with better engagement, more strength – getting ready for the next level (yes, girl, second level is coming your way next year!). I do think this new saddle is helping you both, two. You look more comfortable and balanced in your seat. Towards the end of your time in Lemke, it was not helping you (worked well at first, just got off balance at the end). Equipment matters! Anyway, super well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes to this Edie!
      The canter!! All the way. It used to be a very scrambling, four beat, difficult gait – and now it’s become the one where I feel it’s the easiest to get her over the back. (The trot, at shows, forget it for now haha.)
      Very happy with this.
      DO hope you’re right – how wonderful it would be to get to second already next year. Fingers crossed we’ll get there. For now, SO many holes in our training, and I need to figure out how to close them.

      You’re right about the saddle – a little bit more narrow twist has made all the difference. I’m STILL not in right of course, and I haven’t taken the time to experiment with smaller rolls just yet as I hoped two weeks ago, but the inner thigh can be on in a whole different way. Now I just need to get the horse to actually respond to the aids, right πŸ˜‰

      Any chance you might be coming to the CDS Champs. late September at Rancho M. Equestrian C.? Even if you don’t bring Star? I’d love to pop down and say Hi again! I’ll be there, one way or another.


      1. Star is still in rehab. Trotting a bit now, has been sound all along, but it took forever for the swelling to go down from kicking the pipe corral. She’ll never go in a pipe corral again, I can tell you that! Our entire season gone, and six months off of real work. Horrible. Walking for three whole months. I’ve been going nuts. As for the championships, highly doubtful I’ll be there at all. We’re in the midst of moving – selling our main house (palo alto), living in our small vacation house in carmel valley. (monterey). Neither has sold yet. I’m going nuts. Other than that, all is well πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I feel you with the pipe corral. Right after breaking my finger I was worrying to death about not being able to provide enough exercise for Valiosa. Could barely handwalk at first, so let her loose in three indoor. She promptly kicked the pipes there and scraped up the hinds!
          I realize now how lucky we were it wasn’t very serious…
          SO sorry it’s been so long for Star πŸ˜”. All my thoughts with you both that it will all bee history soon!
          Oh, and that the house will sell soon. That’s really stressful stuff!
          Carry on! πŸ˜‰


  5. Great job!!!! I love the sassy photo. :0)

    For what it’s worth, First Level Test 3 is HARD! It’s harder than Second Level test 1 for sure. It crams a bunch of stuff together that shouldn’t go together at all. Like that stretchy trot circle immediately after a leg yield. What the heck? Oh, and then do some 10-meter circles with a halt in between.

    Valiosa looks great. She looks soft and supple in your hands, and more importantly, she looks happy to be there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Karen!!
      Yeah, that halt on C-Line is trickier than most people think to pull off nicely. (Which we didn’t exactly do.) Nothing like testing the throughness right there πŸ˜‰
      Thank you for all the support – you know we’ve worked hard at this! I’m thrilled we got there. Now we’ll have to work pretty hard to make it even better πŸ™‚
      I only posted the “good” pictures. There was plenty of “unhappy” horse to go around too…

      Good on you for taking BOTH the horses on a road trip! It makes the dynamic different for sure!


  6. She is absoloutley beautiful! I ride this horse at my riding school who is a black and white paint called Bandit, he is amazing! He jumps beautifully but you have to make his canter more forward when you jump him otherwise you nearly fall off the front of him, its honestly really funny but scary too!

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  7. Congrats, congrats and congrats!!!! As to the awesome show results, I don’t think they are a surprise at all. You and Valiosa have been working hard (just from what I can just see in this blog) and it is will-deserved!!!! SO happy for both of you!!!! ❀ ❀

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