Come Along, Trail Clip!

warming up for first level dressage

Quick clip from the pond loop.

But first, just another shot from the show.  Uphill in the warmup on Sunday – go Gray Mare!

warming up for first level dressage


In case you’re stuck and not riding today – a quick clip, one-handed with the mobile, from the cool down loop.  Probably the last overcast and cool day until end of October.

Nothing exciting happens here.  Which is just the point.

Have a beautiful day!

Mother’s Day Show Report

trot lengthening on the diagonal

Beautiful day, wonderful horse!

This was her second time out at First Level, and she pulled it together really nice.

Solid and focused in the ring, prompt and attentive transitions.  Very happy with her!

I think it’s ridiculously fun to show.  Nerve-racking, but just so awesome to be there. Picture day as promised – starting right before the bell, suspiciously happy rider.

First Level Dressage Schooling show

Well, maybe that streak of 8’s on the halts is over, since she went rouge with her left hind, in both! 🙂

dressage salute with right hand

dressage salute with left hand

Only one test this time, again.  Definitely moving up to two of them next time – it’s the only chance to fix any mistakes in the same show!

trot lengthening on the diagonal

leg yield left

Leg yield.

spooking at the judges booth

Zero spooking at the judges booth.

stretchy circle dressage

Overall, thrilled with how she felt and behaved, it felt like a super test.  The judge felt she needed to be more forward and supple for an even higher score.  Agreed!  Total score at First Level Test 2, 63.13.

Great Show

top horse blogs 2017

Sunday’s show went great!

Tell you more about it, with pictures soon.  Thanks to my husband there’s some wonderful photos again this time!  Thank you!

Another schooling show, at a facility she’s been to many times now…  Planning on a rated show again in June at a new place.  That will be interesting 🙂

There’s something about training at home, and then riding in the show ring…  So here goes:

training at home and riding at shows
At home

– A lot of positioning work went out the window, or at least it felt like it.  The seat a bit perched, too long leg, (because road rash from new boots…) and the hands didn’t consistently come as far forward as they should.

Details, but you know it makes a huge difference of just puttering around, and truly showing!

schooling at home more forward
Going forward with some nice push at home.

The lesson learned from this time – you can’t just focus on wanting to make the test look flowy, smooth, and easy.  There has to really be some engagement to it too!  This horse will never win a judge over just by presence, so I have to work extra hard on trying to make it precise, but actually something to look at in the ring.

It can happen at home, the next step is to figure out how to turn it on at shows.  Without bolting!

top horse blogs 2017

The Short Story:

We took a nap in the free walk, and she didn’t show enough in the canter lengthenings.  Next show, I’ll need to correct with the leg immediately – forget if it gets ugly for a second, we’ve got places to go!  Don’t know about you, but I’ve just toted the whip around in the showring.  Never dared to use it.  Seriously.  Come on.

Coming up next:  Pictures.  Because she truly was really great in this test!

Year End Award

high point award in dressage

Valiosa received her first award over the weekend.

Our chapter of CDS (California Dressage Society.) is active and good-sized, even with two other chapters close by.  It’s a good group, and in 2017 I’ll be stepping it up even more with my time and getting involved at board meetings.

At this years Foothills Chapter Year-End Holiday Party and Awards night, Valiosa surprised by nabbing the High Point.

high point award in dressageI somehow ended up competing as Open Division (Gasp!) and felt I needed to return her award.  (Seriously – there’s nothing Pro about the riding, I’m all Adult Amateur.)  But, nope, she keeps the award, and now has this beautiful plaque and soft padded leather halter with nameplate.

year end dressage awardsNever saw that one coming!    (Hands down the most thrilled Chapter Award recipient ever!)

Of the shows I rode her in this year, only two of them were rated through USDF/USEF.  We have limited resources to even get off the property, and I do most of our training on my own.

It’s a very backward set-up to get to play in dressage at all, but we still do it and have fun!

So rewarding to have her recognized for the work we’ve done together.

Just pointing out that it can still happen!

If I can do this – so can you!

Mary Wanless Clinic

Mary Wanless at American Sport Horse

6 hr car round trip to audit your riding biomechanics guru?!  Sure!!!

I was lucky to get to do just that, and spent a day at American Sport Horse, outside Santa Cruz.

Mary Wanless, in just the few hours I was there, did all the magic I knew she could do.  And more.  Here she is with Leslie and her charming little gelding.

Mary Wanless at American Sport Horse

She’ll visit the U.S in just two locations – East Coast, and Watsonville between Capitola and Santa Cruz.  So, you get it that I was excited to attend 🙂

With the Dressage On A Dime budget, her 3-Day clinic is not in the cards for Valiosa and I.  But I’m lucky to have a little help from someone who is trained in the Wanless method, so all may not be lost…

Mary Wanless in California
Question and answer session. Surprise, my hip tweak is a rare one and there’s no quick-fix. There’s never a quick-fix.

While I’m rehabbing my tendon and things are a bit slow, I can still see that you’re checking in on us as much as ever before, which is great! 🙂

I appreciate it, because I worry about all sorts of things.  Will everything get better with my pesky multiple tendon thingies?  Will my horse develop, or are we spiraling down the wrong direction?  Will we still be stuck where we are now, in a few months…


Now, there was this promise of a new Before And After post, back in this post: “Show Me Your Before And Afters!”…

That one was read by so many!  I know you like a good makeover, or simply Before & After horse shots.

It’s time!  Check in on Monday next week – time for a wrap up on 2016!

Because really, just how many pictures do we need of her stupid horse?…

Hey, I heard that!

Show Warmup Last Weekend

Dressage On A Dime

To date, our shortest warmup.

And yes, I think it worked for us this time.  Only 20 minutes, including walking, and she was ready for a great First Level Test.

Dressage On A Dime

dressage show warmupNo bucking or piggy rooting to the first trot aids this time, brownie points to her.  That was a new one.  Someone’s growing up.

grey andalusian cross mare There was plenty of screaming to the baby though.  Remember the newborn filly at this venue in May?  (In Warmup Woes.)

Yeah, she was still there.  Bigger, and even more gorgeous now.  And silky.

foals distracting at showsValiosa is completely infatuated with this one.  NO OTHER horse seemed to care at all, but my mare goes into Super Alert at the sight of  a baby.  We had some seriously distracted spinning around.  And screaming to the fuzzy butt.

Then back to this for a second, before heading out to the show ring.

Elinor Yee

Valiosa – 1st Level Debut

first level dressage test 1

Hands down, she was awesome!

Her very first time out at First Level, she stayed composed, focused, and, most importantly, inside the showring.

So happy with her!

azteca dressageJudge was Melissa Creswick.  I liked her style when auditing at Starr Vaughn earlier this year (Read about it here:  The Adult Amateur Clinic – Is It For You?) and really looked forward to showing for her.  I knew she wouldn’t miss a thing!

dressage show first levelOur First Level Test 1 ride was good enough for a 66.67!  First time out!  If you’ve followed this blog for some time, you know how hard we’ve worked to get to this point.

young horse in dressage testTo make this experience really easy on her, just one test with her this time.  (You’ll still end up paying more than showing 2 tests in a non-rated show, let’s not be silly now, this is drezzoaah.)

And yep, the shortened warmup worked really well for us!  More on the warmup later this week…  With photos.  (Thank you again to the best husband ever for taking pictures!)

first level dressage test 1Still posting the trot throughout.  I’m looking forward to a better connected feel once there’s more strength and she can have her back up for me.  We experiment at home for just a few minutes.  Well, sometimes.

canter lenghtening at first level

first level test 1 dressageNo 8’s this time, but no score below 6.  Absolutely amazed!  (And thrilled, since there was a small playful buck into the second canter transition, right at C.)

square halt unattentive dressageNice square halt.  She got 7.5 on both, even with popping up like this.  Next fall, I bet we’ll have that part all sorted out 🙂

first place blue ribbon on grey horse
At least for 1 day, First Leveling like a boss.