Saturday’s Schooling Show Update

schooling shows

Not our day.

After you have a show, where everything is lined up just right, things feel great, the test went OK without major mistakes, but the scores were lower than hoped for – you get exactly 1 Day to mope about it.  Then, move on.

Mar Val Stables, Dressage In The Almonds.

Both tests went without spooking.  She felt forward and attentive to aids, prompt transitions and just minor bucking in the warm up.  (First canter in the warmup is usually exciting for her, I don’t mind.)

Her back and neck never fully relaxed at all at this show.  We got an 8 on the first halt.  Some 7’s and 7.5’s, no big errors, but the rest wasn’t good enough and the submission score suffered big time.

schooling shows
At May’s schooling show.  This time out; casual attire.

Sure, a Second and Third place ribbon, but the two First Level tests got a 63.91 and a 58.53.  More practice this fall!

The good news – after so much practice on moving freely forward she got “Lively Performance” in the Further Remarks.  Good mare!

dressage show ribbons
Waiting for a 2nd Blue Ribbon at July’s rated show. Didn’t happen this time.

A Few More Show Shots

elinor yee dressage on a dime

Just because I don’t head out and compete super often.

Best to make the most of it! 🙂

And because my husband was so nice and a super star to stick around in the heat for both tests, taking so many pictures.  Very sweet!

first level test 2 2017 dressage


The counter canter loop – she did it well (go Gray Mare!) but I piloted just a bit too shallow, not quite hitting X.  Easy to do, you just want to get back to the corner 🙂

counter canter loop in dressage first level test 3


Next up will be a post on some training issues – yes, with pictures of all the “uglies!’  Figured many of you will recognize a lot of it, and I think it’s so cool when you want to stand on the sidelines and yell out helpful hints.  I’ll promise to try whatever you have to say!

elinor yee dressage on a dime

Surprising Show Results – And The Secret To Surviving Heat

showing dressage in the 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!

horse blogs

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


dressage blogs

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

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!