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!

Spring Inspiration!

Hi all!

We’re in the middle of a 4-day rain and wind period.  It’s been a bit intense but everything’s still standing – no problems.  Just really stormy.

For any one stuck inside early spring inspiration today!

riding in tall grass

This was just the other week.  Love all the green to the max before it all burns out in summer!  climbing hill with tall grass at the walk

Climbing back up, Gray Silverine had lots of opinions about the scary tall grass.

 – “Snake grass!  I’m sure!  It’s too deep, I’m bolting out of here, NOW!”  Arguing about the pace.

riding in tall grass

Guess who won?  But maybe just this time…  Unless I want to hike back up in the snake grass alone 😉

not bolting up hills

spring with cherry tree and horse
Have a wonderful weekend!

Pretty Ponds With Ugly Names

Good morning!

At the far bottom corner of the property, there’s this seasonal pond.

Complete with rabbits, voles, buzzards, coyotes, deer, and herons passing by.  You can even ride around it on the back berm, if you don’t mind extreme spooking and side stepping.

poop pond

Valiosa detected dead riders in the sludge this day, signaling their presence with her best interpretative moves, so we didn’t check out the far back this time.

nervous horse at pond

Still a great cool-down walk!

gray horse in green grass

 

taking pictures of gray horses in sun

Have an awesome Monday!

Barn Time – The Black Hole

-“So if you’re no longer doing any work or chores at the barn, how come it’s been almost 5 hours since you left and came back?”

Recent question at home…

Well, sometimes it just takes.  Longer.

barn bird
Barn bird. Waiting for oats

That day was one of those days where I could see her sleeping when driving in.  Her two sentries stood guard, two quiet drones watching over her, one hind cocked but alert.

Gray puff-ball laid in a regal pose with her head propped up on the ground.  Deep sleep.  Gave her a few extra minutes before finally walking out there.

She’s decided there’s no longer any reason for alarm when I go to her while laying down.  Never gave her any reason in the first place.  So she stayed down, of course I had to stand there for a while with the others, guarding sort of.

Carrots in bed, some mane scritches, a strange cat-like stretch-move while laying down, and she could finally be convinced to come up.  That stuff takes time.

Part of the reason I have her in the first place – to enjoy her whale-like body and watch her doing strange things.  And sometimes watching birds together.

morning dove at barn
Another barn bird

At the end of riding there was an opportunity to try out a Haflinger for a few minutes.  Haven’t ridden one for many years, so why turn that down?

She also needed to have her mane mutilated while icing her hinds, so we did that with scissors too.

Plus, she wouldn’t finish her grain in the stall where she stands for a while before going back out, so she needed pieces of apple rolled in the left over salt to get her to eat it.

gray horse standing with rider
Wasn’t exactly a time-efficient barn day.

 

Enough With The Christmas Cookies Already

Just a few more rides left in 2017!

Next up, another training update with a photo bomb.

I’ve pried the boys with Mexican Enchiladas and they’ve promised to come out again during winter break.  So, more pictures later on!

 

dramatic horse picture with dark background

This site would just wither up and die without them, for sure…

Check back in tomorrow to see how we’re coming along, or not.

Who Decides What You Should Think Of Equestrian Sport?

Your flow.

Social media.

What does it look like?  Maybe an endless stream of negativity about horse sport, in just about any discipline.

Ever thought about how that shapes what you think, making your sport feel hopeless, a lost case where every one takes short cuts, or worse?

horse blogs elinor yee

After some of the larger international dressage competitions, half of  the Facebook feed seems to be about contorted necks and horses working in pain.

Heated discussions about shady training techniques.

In other disciplines – spur marks, bloody froth, draw reins, horses dying from over exertion, riding with all sorts of training gadgets, and even some temper tantrum millennial mishandling her horse in the show ring after falling off at a jump.

Should that decide what you think of modern horse sport?  Would it change if we would mostly see good training, good riding, good showing, good horsemanship?

 

upper body leaning in on canter circle

 

Just a small change of focus can really make a difference.  We do what we see others do.  We become what we do.

Trying really hard to not focus on bad riding over here, looking up to good riding.

Far from perfect, I’m trying.  It really matters what we look at.

This site is mostly safe – not much behind the vertical stuff here.  Because it shapes what we think.

 

horse by green pond

Maybe it’s important to you?

Focus on the good.