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.

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.

Positivity Week!

close up of horse head

Time to try something different!

Ready for this!!??

The rest of this week will be all about looking at the horse and the riding from a positive perspective.

Calling it the Positivity Week.

Got that?  It means a full week involving ONLY positive horse postings. 

Think about that for a second – maybe harder than we think?…

We’re about to find out!

Join in at any time!

boy and whippet dog

Weeks of hot summer days left, even if school has already started.  I’ll miss having this little guy around.


Come back tomorrow for the first post in the short “Positivity Series.” 

You know, to double-check that I’m keeping up on the plan.

Inviting anyone to join in with comments – on a positive note too, to up the challenge.  Or even more fun, jump in with a link to your own post in a Positive Spirit!

Gray Mare.  She’s very excited about this!

close up of horse head

Hating On The Short Stirrups But Still A Great Ride

schooling dressage on young horse

Here we go! – A whole slew of pictures.

Back from vacation.  Hers:  in pasture.  Mine:  in the cool mountains.  Now back for more long weeks of hot summer.

Definitely didn’t expect her to go as well as where we left off (in the shots below.)  But she was even better!

Go Gray Mare!  Usually, rides after some time off are awkward and sort of “rusty.”  This time – happiest horse to date.

schooling dressage

young horse schooling dressage

schooling dressage on young horse

Still working on riding, and straightening her, from the right outside rein when tracking left.  It’s getting a bit better.

canter through corner


The less overbent to the inside, the better!  It’s been hard to decide just the right amount, but we’re getting there.  Her specialty is to immediately shut down if she feels “clamped down on” in any way – I’m working hard on resetting my own riding to be more open, or however you’d describe it.

trotting with young horse


Something as easy as a canter diagonal has been a struggle.  Although not a hot horse at all, she can get rushy and flailing there, and like many young horses just flop on her forehand.

So happy with her here, staying balanced and with me!

schooling canter diagonal

staying balanced in canter on diagonal

That’s all from this crew today!

dressage with young horse
Special Theme next week! Come back to see what it’s all about!

More Schooling Pictures. Wanna See Them?

horse cantering with poll up

Got a lot of pictures from a ride.

It feels, well, almost fake to post them.  The site is all about showing things as they are – for real.  Honestly – most parts of the riding session is not all this smooth and happy.  (Surprise!  Yeah, no surprise.)

happy riding


Mostly, she’s fuzzy and tweaky like this.

horse unsteady in contact


Posting more good shots next time anyway!    It’s all about small improvements, and she’s trying so much harder than a year ago!horse cantering with poll up