Braid Poll Result

Unanimous vote for the larger braids

Thank you for voting – already over 25 votes for the sewn-style so far.

Dressage On A Dime A Horse For ElinorQuietly dying, who wouldn’t want to cut the prep time some and just do the rubber bands..?

Not giving up just yet – Alli had a great link for braids with a thicker mane.  I’ve also got another rubber band style that still gives the softer, larger look, without sewing…

We’ll call that one The Flyinge Swedish Pretzel style.

Valiosa and pasture friends have looked fat like ticks all spring, even with no hay fed for months.

Leaving with a picture from the end of last summer, when she seemed so heavy.  Looking slim in this picture, compared to now.

perfect weight andalusian cross mare

Your Show Warm-Up Strategy

Care to share a dressage show warm-up tip?  I know there’ll be many that’d like to read it!

For Valiosa’s warmup after two earlier days of rushed, spooky and more stressed out warm up, my only goal was to have her go on the aids without too much tension before going in the ring.

canter on the forehand

Super pleased with her for pulling off a sort of “blah” canter, despite multiple other horses in the arena, announcers, and audience.  Success!

relaxing a horse in the warm up at a show

My goal was to have her reasonably attentive and when there were more than 7 horses in there we did several walk-trot transitions instead of trying to fight for space.

Some trainers like to warm up their student’s horses really forward and deep.  Really proud of Valiosa for doing her thing just with me, even when some ponies came close and large horses breathed heavily down her hind.

trainers warming up horses for riders at shows

Have a warm-up tip, below Fourth Level? We’re all ears!!

focused warm up before dressage show
Madame Muffin Cup, keepin’ it together beautifully for a minute.

Writing & Reading To Ride Better

Always amazed at the incredible level of support the reader community can offer.

Thank you to everyone who invests time in commenting and reading the posts here!  I’ve never reposted any comments – but this one is a must read!

First; Your Daily Dose of Duchess Rice Dream.

classical dressage philosophy


This is from Tonia.  We both clearly play on the same team.  Enjoy!

“…  A bit of good old classical dressage wisdom, which is that we as riders should ask ourselves regularly–why are we doing this? Why do we ride? For some people, the answer is they want to be at the top of the sport…to compete, win and be the best. But for me (and probably–hopefully–for most equestrians) the answer is because I love horses. I have loved them since I was barely old enough to recognize that feeling.
… With that answer in mind, and channeling my inner nine-year-old-self, I go out and do the things that are hard and scary and that progress us forward…  if at any point I start to lose touch with the core reason I am doing all this, then I know I am on the wrong track and I need to take a step back and return to a place of love and enjoyment again, wherever that may be.
This idea of love and enjoyment over competition/progress/goals was reiterated so eloquently to me recently at a lecture I attended by Paul Belasik …it was such a good reminder and came at a really good time for me, when I was in the throes of being hard on myself for what I felt was slow progress over the past couple years (during which time I had a baby, ahem).
I’m passing on that reminder now–not to suggest you should take a step away from showing, but because this concept enabled me to loosen the grip that perfectionism and competitiveness had on me at that time and allowed me to just ENJOY THIS, no matter where we are or what we’re doing or how “good” we’re doing it.” (Tonia)

Find Tonia at Peace Love Horses.

Until next time!

riding dressage
If you haven’t aleady – cast your vote for braid style in Sunday’s post!

Time To Vote On Braid Style!

Unless you’ve got a roached mane, braiding is required at any show.

With a horse that shakes the head a lot (Hello, I know one.), both during the braiding process and after between classes, sewn braids are great since they stay in really tight.

They take a lot longer to put in though.  Yes, even with practice at countless shows.

Last show, I did old school rubber banded ones instead.  There are various ways to roll them up, rosette style (Gorgeous, but falls out easier unless the mane is pulled thinner and kept shorter/short-ish.) or banded in the middle.

Different necks look best in different braid styles – want to give your input on this one?!

Vote for your favorite in the poll below!  Which ones look the best?

⇓ Easier to make, taller rubber-banded braids ⇓

tall braids on dressage horse

⇓ Larger sewn-in braids ⇓

large sewn in braids on dressage horse


#ThingsWeThingAboutWhenStuckOnTheCouchWithaCold 🙂

First Level Or Bust

Keep filing away at First Level.

How hard can it be?  For us, quite a challenge, but this time out Valiosa did everything right and we had two solid tests.

horse posing as Breyer horse
Valiosa, making her best Breyer Horse pose. Although she went rogue with one hind.

Her show result from last Friday’s Training Level Test 3 was 64.1, a 2nd Place ribbon.  Thrilled with her, and that score included a low 4′ score for coming on the wrong lead once – all stemming from tension which I hope will go away with time.

canter at first level
Pictures today are all from the First Level Test 3 Class last Friday.  Complete photo overload, sorry, but if your husband comes out and takes wonderful pictures of you poppin’ around endlessly in the ring, they’ve got to be shared! 🙂

horse that looks like breyer horse
This is the big ring, with the big horses – expectations are higher here than the shows we did last year.  Miss Silky Blue’s lengthenings, both trot and canter, are what really hurts our score.

trot lengthening with short gaited horse
For Lady Pumpkin Tush, this is really good, but this lengthened trot diagonal got only a 5′.

Canter lengthening scores were a bit stronger with 6’s. I think she did phenomenal, staying straight and focused.
canter lengthening with horse with short gaits
The score for this First Level Test 3 class was 61.8.  Nope she didn’t place in the class, but it’s a qualified score and she was wonderful and very different from the show just the weekend before.

white horse in dressage ring
Peach Tart, doing her thing and being fantastic.

collection at first level dressage

This was a wonderful experience for her – strong-willed and with a mind of her own, we negotiated on being a show horse for the day.  Carefully.

I don’t have the tools to be super strong and ride her perfectly.  Instead, I try to be very tactful in moments of tension, and together we get through it.

riding tactfully on tense horse

This crazy sport of dressage. Last halt; square, straight, prompt and in the right spot.  (Bit of nose tilt out to the left.)  Still only a 7′. Judge’s comment – Not closed.
square halt at first level

It can only get better from here.

Go & be someone you’d like to remember!

For Those Of Us A Bit Too Busy

All plans of getting the show-update posted have gone out the window.

Too many things going on.  An overflow of wonderful pictures – what am I supposed to do with them all?  Just erase them?

first level dressage horse

Gray Velvet tried so hard and pulled off two really nice tests.  But you’ll leave and never come back if all the photos go up in one post 🙂

I work tonight.  Tomorrow is a schooling day, running day, and Scout Court of honor.  Your photographer is working toward his Eagle while your little horse tamer is getting his Star Rank.

And there’s a physical therapy appointment for, well, butt pain.  Because some of us are more pain in the butts than others.

gray mare competing in dressage
Lady Sealskin trotting her stuff. Promise an update from this day soon!