Sunday, June 17, 2012

Just Call Me Alice

... in wonderland that is.

(I tried to write this post last night and I could not keep my eyes open.)

Yesterday was the Greenstone Dressage Show. It's part of the local area show association. It's a pretty laid back schooling show and a great way to introduce showing to a green horse, especially when the show is on your own property.

I rode three horses. Actually, I rode two horses and a pony in the show. I only found out I would be riding the pony and the second horse about three or four days before the show so there was certainly not a lot of preparation. The pony is a four year old Welsh that is either a big-small pony or a small-medium pony. (Does that even make sense?) Well, the point is I'm one of the only people small enough to get away with showing her. She is at the farm for training. We just call her Pony, btw, she has a fancy show name that I don't even know but everybody just calls her Pony. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of Pony at the moment but I'll try to get some. Pony did very well. She certainly got the cute points. She even managed to place 4th in her second class, although, I'm not sure how many other people were in that class but she did score somewhere between a 64 & a 65 (I can't remember the exact score and I gave Pony's owner her score sheets). Of course Pony did buck me off about 20 seconds before we went in to her second test. (Of course she did!) She somehow managed to get a hind leg tangled up in some flowers next to the show ring fence and panicked herself and pretty much did a handstand. The ground was so close I could literally reach out and touch it so I'm not even sure if it counts as a fall, lol.

(From the FoF website. I will remove if requested.)
The second horse I rode was Logan. He is a Friends of Ferdinand foster horse. You can read about him here. The guy had 78 starts!! as a race horse. I was super, super impressed with him. He was unbelievably well behaved. Absolutely not spooky in the least with all the new horses and people milling about the place. Marched into the arena and just gave the judge's tent a little look but was never hesitant about going forward. (This was his first show ever! and after I'd only ridden him twice before.) On both of his tests the judge commented about how nicely forward he was. He was a little tense but remained calm the entire ride. We just did intro tests and he scored a 63.4 and a 65.93. I know this guy will someday make a wonderful show horse for somebody. He still has racing flashbacks now and then which is why on the website it says no beginners but I do think those moments are going to get fewer and further between every time we ride him. He's the kind of horse who will learn his job and then just go out and do it with no complaints. Friday evening he let me pull his mane and clip him, including his ears, without any qualms. As far as we know that's a first for him as well. Honestly, if I could afford two horses I'd consider adopting him myself. I don't know that he will be the most talented horse on the block but he will definitely make a wonderful companion for someone. He so wants his own person.

And of course the last horse I rode was my own boy, Loki. I can't say how proud of him I am. He was really wonderful. We just rode two tests. Beginner Novice test A and Beginner Novice test B. The way the schooling show is set up there is one class for all of the USEA tests so you can ride whatever USEA test you want in that class but you are competing against other people who may or may not be riding a different test from you. Since we did two tests we also competed against ourselves. It just so happened that the other two riders in the class (my sister included) also rode the same two tests. Loki managed to score a 35.24 on test B (and that was with an error on my part!) for a 1st place ribbon!!! On test A he scored a 42.5 for last place in the class. I find this to be a perfect image of where we are in our training which is completely inconsistent but hey we've only been working together for around a month or a little more so of course I'm as pleased as punch (as the saying goes).

The judge made some really nice comments of course. My favorite was "lovely horse. When you let him go in a longer, lower frame he looks AMAZING!!" I did get a lot of comments from different people about what a handsome boy he is. I do wonder about the "when you let him" part of that comment. I love for him to go in a longer, lower frame since that is where we should be right now in our training. The problem (as I see it) is that when he gets long and low it is wonderful for about two or three strides and then all the sudden I've got about 1,000 pounds of horse sitting in my hands. I try to bump him up as politely as possible but he is so sensitive to my leg aids that this often results in him throwing his head in the air and scooting forward like I zapped him with an electric prod. Of course this has become a little cyclical of a problem because I then get leery of using any leg at all and end up trying to ride with just my hands and seat and as most of us know that just doesn't work either. So, I guess I just need to keep working on it and working on how to use my legs even more subtle than ever. We'll get there. Again we are just starting out, lol.

I wish I had more pictures but my Mom was only able to get this one of my sister and I. There was a photographer at the show but I just took a look at his photo pricing and let's just say I probably won't have any new photos to share this time around.


  1. Ah Loki looks awesome!!! Glad it went so well! :)

  2. Haha, I figure that when the judge is all, "If you would just GET OUT OF THE WAY your horse would be perfect!" there are two possibilities.
    1) Rider needs to GET OUT OF THE WAY.
    2) Rider is doing a pretty good job of making horse look good.
    #1 is definitely a possibility, but I have just as definitely had tests where the judge said, "If you would just GET OUT OF THE WAY, X would be much better," and I thought, "...or else Y and Z would go COMPLETELY TO HELL, but I'm glad it wasn't super-visible how precarious those elements are right now!"

    The judge's job is to comment on what they see in front of them on that day. Take it not too much to heart, and apply to your work on all other days as appropriate. :)

    1. Hannah,

      I think in this case it was definitely a little bit of both. I need to get out of his way and mentally, I need to get out of my way... if that makes sense. But, it's all good, we're living and learning and most importantly having a blast. Well, at least I am having a blast, lol.

  3. Aw you did so good with Loki! That's fantastic!

    And I'm always the only more "advanced" rider at the barn who is small enough to ride the ponies... so I always get stuck on those green suckers as well. We had a fancy welsh x oldenburg at our farm not too long ago and I rode him for about a year. Only unseated me once but we had plenty of moments where I should've come off and he caused my TMJ injury. But, I loved him lol.

    I'm so excited for you and Loki! You all will make a great pair. One day we'll probably be competing against each other :)

  4. That would be way too much fun to ride at the same venue! We likely won't make it to any big events this year but definitely by next summer.

    It's funny how they can throw us off and get us hurt but we still always love them. Sometimes I really do think that "horse people" must have a screw loose somewhere. I love it, though.