Fall Training Wrap Up

Elinor Yee dressage

Someone asked a question on how the canter lengthening went at the show.

Only fair to wrap it up with pictures.


lenghtening the canter

She was a good girl, stayed straight, and yes, forward.  More would be better.  Well, more is always better.  Gray Mare don’t really care…

canter lenghtening in dressage


She looked like a real beef cake occasionally though, absolutely trying hard.

Elinor Yee dressage

This show was eye-opening in many ways. New training mantra even.  More on that soon!

Main site “About” page has some small updates – find it here  https://ahorseforelinor.com/about-dressage-on-a-dime/  to take a quick look!  Need to change something?

October Show Success

Elinor Yee

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!

2 Day Show This Weekend

horse next to lemon tree

This will be her first overnight show.

Nothing to worry about there, she won’t get upset or too fussy.  Probably exhausted by Sunday afternoon and very ready to get to go home.  She likes her view next to her orange tree and the small lemon tree. ⇓

horse next to lemon tree



Coming in to this show with the absolute lowest confidence before any show experience.  We haven’t felt like a team at all and I’m not really sure what to expect.

Very hard on myself, but aren’t you, too?  This is dressage after all.  The absolute crazy sport where “good enough” or “fairly OK” doesn’t really exist.

Either you’re riding the horse actively, comfortably, respectfully, and effortlessly with smooth, almost invisible aids.  Or, you’re not.  And then it simply wasn’t very good.  Nothing in between.  (Arghh!)

cantering without tension
Hoping for THIS canter. No tension. She CAN do it!


Still – very grateful and happy to have the opportunity to show with this mare!  A 2-Day is exciting and I have so many friends out there whose horses have gotten injured, permanently lame or sadly passed away.  Competing, and worrying about not riding a good test is far off their list.

Feeling very lucky that we get to do this, Gray Mare and I!  We’re already at the show!  Report coming up next week of course!

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!