October Show Success

Proud of this horse for pulling through and delivering a total of 4 good tests!

Saturday we were at the Foothills CDS Schooling show, she was every bit of down-to-business as I could hope.  She took first place in First Level Test 2 with 65.3% and placed 3rd in First Level Test 3 with a 62.5!

first level test 2

two mares kissing at horse show
After the schooling show. My fun trainer in the middle. She was great help in the first warmup!

One of our sticking points continues to be the change of lead through trot over X.  A piloting error where we lose a percent or so every time.

Last show, I thought she’d come onto the wrong lead and corrected it, completely botching the movement and setting up for a strange start of the 15 M canter circle at A movement.

dressage first level test 3

This show, it felt just as awkward, but I still went into the corner, not wanting to make the same mistake again.  Of course, this time it was the wrong lead…

She spent the night in an outdoor paddock in a huge pile of shavings under a tree, and stood nicely for snail-pace braiding in an all new barn early the next day.  Wonderful mare!

gray horse in dressage test

Sunday – rated show, the Foothills Fall Classic for two different judges.  We impressed with an 8 for the entry halt, the rest was, well, pretty tight backed…

tight backed horse in dressage

Both tests went better, and with scores usually a “little harder to get” at a rated show it was great to get a 63.1 in the first one and a 4th place.  She didn’t exactly impress (You need a real trot lengthening for that.  “Quickens” is the standard comment for us.).

keeping tempo in dressage canter

The last test was “slower”, she fell out of canter at one point and seemed a little overdone.  No ribbon there, at 6th place, but a 62.3.  So proud of her for still getting a good qualified score with all that!

gray dressage horse

With this, it is NOT time to gear up for second level.  At all.  We’re far away from “correct dressage”, and she’s still difficult to access, both over her back and in the contact.

Thrilled to have some pictures of her working well!  Over the winter there’s a lot of homework to do to figure out how to create a more relaxed horse.  I think we’ve just hit that roadblock that keeps many riders from ever getting to second level…  Or, we’ve been stuck there the whole time,  just didn’t realize it until now 🙂

Elinor Yee
Go Gray Mare!

17 thoughts on “October Show Success

  1. Glad you had a very good weekend. Enjoy it, then start on charting out what you need to move to the next level. That’s the advice my girls would lend. Deborah will write you later.

    We’re back home in Colorado. My girls had two good weekends. Next up, the Nationals in Las Vegas in 2-1/2 weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, we’ve got our work cut out ahead of us. This is NOT the story where everything falls in place, one level up per year… I think we’ll be stomping in place for some time. The move up to second level is big, especially if we want to do it really correctly, which I do. It’s frustrating, hard, and incredibly enticing at the same time 🙂

      Wow, you guys sure DO have a really intensive travel schedule! Wishing everyone the best with preparations for Nationals!!!


  2. Wonderful pictures-I love them all! You and Valiosa look…just perfect together, and GREAT JOB at the show!! You two are amazing. ❤

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    1. Isn’t it just such a never-ending struggle Teresa!? That whole Long And Low relaxed stretching at the beginning of each session, Warmblood style, simply doesn’t seem to happen with these guys… It’s a huge chore for us, to ride together as a team, Valiosa and I, with the back at least “sort of” engaged.


    1. Thank you Anne!! You know, in all it was truly eye opening. I cannot bring this horse up the levels (or at least I don’t want to, this way) unless I really figure out how to get her more free flowing. Sometimes, if we don’t go out to shows, we never really figure out “where we are.” She tries hard for me now, and I love it. Now it’s my turn to become better for her 🙂
      Lesson on Sunday. I can’t wait!!!

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      1. Good! I think that shows are like writing the exam. I think I may even have written a blog post about it. It is very interesting how riding a test in a show can pinpoint where we need to improve or what we need to work on. Enjoy your lesson!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I did – and the ride the day after was just as good. You know how hard that can be, replicating what happened in the lesson, the day after… I hope to be able to do it again tomorrow! Today, not so great – I’ve got a bee sting on my face and not really sure how I’ll look at the end of a long work day 😦

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  3. Hi,

    Congratulations on your first and third place finishes on Day One, and your fourth and sixth on Day Two. You did well; judging by your photos and narration, your progress with Valiosa is substantial. I think you probably could begin laying the groundwork to moving up a level, seriously. You know what pieces of Valiosa’s work needs additional attention before moving up, but I think you could try a dual track – one day is working on her problem areas, the next day working on moving up a level by using her strengths. The third day is a off day – no saddle, no riding – but assess how Valiosa is doing with her exercises. At some point, you will have to decide you’ve done all you could at your current level and move up. Think about it. If Valiosa, in your estimation, isn’t ready to move up a level, continue to work at your current level.


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    1. Thank you Deborah!
      Here is where it gets tricky. First to Second Level, if done correctly, is a larger step up, and it’s where all the basics have to be in place if it’s going to go smoothly.
      This show was an eye opener for me, because I decided she simply doesn’t feel at all the way I’d like her to feel. (I know, picky, haha.) so I’ll have to work more on the basics. To be honest, I don’t even like the steering, which is sort of elemental 😉
      This is where the challenge starts – figuring out a bit better on my own on how to get the pieces of the puzzle together. I do hear you though – we should work on some of the second level stuff during rides, but some days we have a hard time staying straight, let alone in a nice shoulder in.
      Or, maybe I’m just more in tune with her wriggly shoulders now, and paying more attention to it. Haha, I don’t know 🙂 Luckily I don’t feel like we have to go out and compete any more at first level right now. Working at home…. Glad you have confidence in us! We need it!! 🙂


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