Positivity Week Day 3: More Engagement

showing first level dressage

Building a swankier trot, not easy, right?

Gray mare has never had a super impressive trot.  But, it’s super comfortable!  And, a few steps here and there, there’s even that little bit more engagement from behind.

more engagement in trot

We don’t really get there during every ride, but sometimes, she can feel connected and capable for a few steps!  Never mind that it sometimes takes days to get back to the same thing.

hindlegs reaching under in trot

She qualified for the CDS RAAC at First Level, (The California North is happening next week.) but I don’t have a way to get her there to strut her stuff.

The positive spin – we’ll make it our own division at a schooling show instead.  Today!  (First Level – Imaginary RAAC division.  Open to all.)

Already on our way!  Entirely stress free, we’re taking three horses, having a good time.  Maybe I’ll go rogue – braid free, no jacket!  Immorality…

showing first level dressage

Positivity Week Day 2: Low Jumps

dressage horse jumping low rail

Carrying on with another positive post!

It had been a long time since she had an easy ground work day with low jumps.  She may not be the most natural talented jumper, but it was fun for her!

jumping dressage horse over low rails

The surprise – she’s gained power, and stride-length in the canter.  Two very low rails in a row threw her off several times and she’d take the second one sort of “by luck.”

dressage horse jumping low rail

 

And with too much speed…  Until I figured out this wasn’t right for her any more.

free jumping dressage horse

Super positive spin with this mare – she’ll just hang out like this while stuff is being fixed.  Traipsing around getting spooked or tangled up is for nillies.

jumping with the young dressage horse

Then she’ll try it again, sure, feeling brave and superwomanish.

free jumping horse on lunge line

Next positive post on Saturday morning!  Until then, all ears for any good stuff from your side.

30 Second Summer Recap

union valley reservoir creek

Lots of camping.

Sums it up without getting too much off topic.  Quick peek at a fraction of a luscious summer, then back to horses.

Started with the tell-tale Boot-Tan Foot.  Here, at our lake close by.

pale feet and tanned legs

It was beautiful this year, finally full of water, after years on end of drought.  The lake, not the foot.  Is there a written rule you have to post pics like this on social media?  Exhausting…

 

In Crystal Basin, Union Valley Reservoir, above Silver Creek Falls.  An unmarked trail, you can sort of hoof it through the brush, leads to the creek that feeds into the Reservoir.

union valley reservoir creek
Family dogs may or may not throw themselves into deep water on the side, almost drowning.  Depends on your breed and how exciting the day is.

 

Summit Lake, high above Donner Lake.

summit lake above donner lake
Easy hike. (Depends; your 8-year-old will want to die. Return 4 years later:  The 5 mile climb is nothing, and only a 20 mile mountain bike ride the next day will ensure regular bedtime hours.) Lake will be all yours to swim in, only Loon Birds.

 

Best smelling secret meadow at around 7,700 feet.

meadow above donner lake

Peaceful.

No one around.

 

But wait!  There’s something moving!

 

dalmatian jumping in flowers

 

Black Bear by our cabin.  Brown, because that makes sense with the name.  Blurry pic, because even if just last year’s baby it felt sort of.  Close.

black bear at donner lake

Hope you’ve had a beautiful summer!


Next week, back with some special posts, inspired by Avery at AHA Moments.  She writes about simple things, with her horses.  And stays positive about it. That’s what we’ll do too, for a week.

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

Arena Back Drops

cantering with seatbones out of the saddle

Staying at the “new” farm means not being able to see good friends at the “old.”

So many good days together out there, and I’ll miss Nancy, my friend and partner in crime, a lot.  Have a feeling we still have some adventures together, just need to come up with a plan 🙂

Today, honoring the wonderful, enigmatic backdrop of the covered arena at Twisted Oak.  It is absolutely magical – the colors and vegetation forever changing with the seasons.  A treat and an honor to ride there.

I know the beauty can’t come through in the pictures enough (it wasn’t the focus at all when they were taken.) but it can look like a piece of art sometimes when you’re there.  The twisty trees, the droopy tiny branches, the shadows, the moss, and the different leaves throughout the year…

So here goes, pictures from several different months!  Ignore the riding, just look at how the colors change throughout the year!

September heat.

"Elinor Yee"

 

Late fall.

"Dressage On A Dime"

 

December.

young horse trot

loose rein walk

 

January.

Andalusian cross mare

 

Late winter.

starting to leg yield at quarter line

 

Cantering on loose rein

 

Spring time March.

posting trot

easter egg color breeches

"Elinor Yee"

"Elinor Yee"

 

June.

warm up canter before jumping

horse cantering with high neck

 

July.

canter with grey mare

 

The never-ending summer.   August.  So hot you can taste it.

riding a horse in a mist of dust

cantering with seatbones out of the saddle

 

Early fall in September.

inspiration for riding dressage when things are not going well

 

December again.

leg yield from centerline

creating a longer neck

When To Quit

horse standing guard while another one is sleeping

The minute you consider yourself not good enough, too old, or without enough talent.

There’s no shame in that. Everything has to come to an end at one point.  And that’s alright.  Accept, and move on.

Maybe it’s the “move on” part people get stuck on? Ranting about it.  Endlessly telling anyone who cares, or sadly just ended up within earshot, how they would be doing it if it wasn’t for A, B, or C.

Isn’t it exhausting to listen to?

Of all role models, I mostly admire the ones who’ve been able to stick to their passion for years and years.  The ones who stuck it out, decided over and over that, nope, it’s not time to quit just yet.

It’s beautiful.  To be able to continue on – that’s not for everyone.  And a gift.

Who hasn’t had to end many things throughout the years?  Often not by choice.  And often because the body decided it was time.

Allow it to slip like a piece of cool silk, easy, without trying to grab on.  A happier ending, especially for others around.  While opening up so many other possibilities.


That was a lot of rambling. Not really the style of this site.  Nothing to tie up the end of the post with either.  Back to horses.

Late morning pictures.

horses in pasture under oak tree
Late, but too early to get up.  No one came to say Hello.  Is it still called Catching In Pasture, if you have to go all the way down there, making that “possible-cookie-crinkle” in the pocket just to get them to stand?

horse standing guard while another one is sleeping
– No thanks, still sleeping.
horse watching over sleeping horse

Namaste.horse stretching