May 6, 2016


Check it out, the end of the rainbow is the manure pile. Hmm...

I made a game-time decision to enter for the May 13th Indiana Dressage Society show earlier this week.  

I'd been going back and forth on it. Downsides were: it's my husband's birthday, I really shouldn't be spending money right now, nobody to go with, is my trailer still in one piece? Haven't seen it in months.  

Upsides were: it's my last chance at a Dressage schooling show until July, it's only $90 for two classes, office fee and overnight stabling, it's 15 minutes from my house.

My spendy side won out, and I entered. (And later found out Karen is going to that show too, yay!)  We'll be doing 1-1 and 1-2 again, since I can't handle the adversity of 1-3 in my life right now.

Style points for having the world's most gorgeous pony?  Also, getting this picture took me holding an entire jar of treats.

If you're keeping score, this will be THE FIRST time I've ever shown without my trainer.  It's a good thing, I think.  I need to become more independent in my riding in general.  Now, this first show is probably going to be a cluster, but I'll learn from it.

In my lesson last night, Connor walked into the ring relaxed, and quickly got SO TENSE from the constant clucking and whip slapping of Former Western Pleasure Girl riding before me.  (Note: FWPG and her horse have come a long way and are competing in their first Starter this weekend, but he still tends to hang onto his WP tendencies, and her methods of motivating him freak Connor out.)

I tried valiantly to get him straight and in self-carriage, finally got it, he went great, we took a walk break.  I said, "How the heck do I get that on demand and without the histrionics at the beginning?" My trainer knew there was an unspoken "when I'm by myself at that show" tagged onto the end of that sentence.

She broke it down like this.  Take the right shoulder fore, for example.  My left (outside) leg started out totally not in contact with him until she pointed that out.  When I ask for right bend, he just swings his hindquarters out and puts more weight on the right shoulder.  Meanwhile, he's dropping me onto my right seatbone, making the hip angle of my right side more open, and putting my weight exactly where it shouldn't be.  Thus, he is never straight nor bent.  When he IS straight and bent, magic happens.

It was raining in this picture, which I hoped to capture, but it didn't work out.  Gorgeous evening, anyway.

To fix this, I kept my outside leg in light contact with him at all times, behind the girth.  I thought about my left hip weighing more than my right.  I only asked for the bend when his hindquarters were behind him - not inside, not outside.  I also kept looking down, straight down, at my legs from time to time, because while I have a hard time feeling differences in my hip angle, I can see it from the angle of my thighs in relation to the saddle.

It's a lot to remember, but I'll keep practicing.  If I can just get him on my aids, the tests will be easy.  If I can't, they'll be ugly.  Fingers crossed for the first one!


  1. You're going to do great! You've got all the tools and the world's most gorgeous pony :)

  2. So exciting!!!! Cant' wait to read all about it :)

  3. Omg I'm with you on the first 1&2 thing. I think it's all I can manage this weekend to keep our respective brains in our heads, remember two tests, and hopefully stay in the arena. We'll do first 3... eventually...

  4. you can totally do this! i show without a trainer pretty much exclusively (tho admittedly i booked coaching at my next event bc i'm a disaster at present) and honestly it's usually jusssst fine. i just try to trust my horse and trust our training. good luck!

  5. Woohoo can't wait to see you and hang out! I got your back if you need it!

  6. You've got this :-) I'll be living vicariously through you since my first one this year (and pretty much ever) is in a few weeks and I can't wait but I know it will be a disaster haha

  7. Ugh yes I know what you mean.. should not be spending money but I keep spending it wtf how can i stop and so fucking busy too, we just keep on aiming though and achieving right?

  8. Good for you! I opted out of the two recent shows to give my hand a chance to heal, but I really wanted to go. Good Luck.

  9. Awesome! I recently did my first show without a trainer too, and we lived to tell the tale. Good luck!

  10. Dang - wish we were going to this show! Would love to see Connor and Fergie together - maybe later this season will make it to the same show. You and Connor will rock 1-1 and 1-2!