October 7, 2019

IDS September: The Best Yet

In addition to trying out all the gear I reviewed this week, I did actually show my horse at the horse show, and it was the absolute best we've ever done 2-1.  And even though the whole point of Dressage is that it'll never be perfect, I am so proud of it.

THIS has changed a lot!

It was the first time we didn't get against each other halfway through the test.  It was the first time we've both stayed relaxed and present.  I actually had the presence of mind to think "Damn, this is the best 2-1 we've ever done" as I finished the first counter canter here:

We may have stayed relaxed, but I also rode hard.  The first thing my trainer said afterward was, "I just watched that entire test with a huge smile on my face.  That was a HUGE improvement!  You rode that with conviction !" And one of her other students said, "You made that look so easy."  That comment meant a lot, because 2-1 did feel easy, for the first time ever.

When I had to basically pick him up and carry him through the counter canter in the tough direction

What was different?  A couple of things.  My trainer warmed us up, which rarely happens, and she did an outstanding job of it.  She has a knack for knowing exactly what the horse needs in the moment, and it was an exceptionally effective warmup.


I also had CGP's lesson ringing in the back of my mind, and kept my elbows soft and the contact following through most of the test.  I got a little stiff in the canter work, but did a great job with it elsewhere.  I also had a better idea of how to sit in my jump saddle for maximum Dressage position effectiveness.

Perfect?  No.  But believe me when I say this is the best medium walk out of the halt/reinback we've ever gotten.

And, it just felt like progress.  We're better than we were in April.  We've learned things.  And because we're showing, we have this objective measurement in addition to the glowing feeling I came out of the ring with after that test.  68.919%!  A high score by nearly 5%.  It's a fantastic feeling to head into the offseason with.  And it's exactly the reason I show even though I'm not motivated by awards or regionals or anything like that.  Measurable progress!

Check out how straight his tail is after his bodywork - he's carried it to the left the whole time I've known him

Three years ago I left this show feeling dejected, because nothing had changed over the season and I knew I wasn't riding well but I didn't know exactly what was wrong or how to fix it.  Ending on this note this year after all the progress we've made was just so gratifying.  I'm sure some people will look at it as "She's only gone from 1-3 to 2-1 in three years,"and that's totally fair, but there's a whole lot more to the story than that.

Looking forward to really putting in the work over the winter and seeing where we are in the spring!


  1. he looks SO precious and you should be happy - youve done a lot of work to get here!

  2. For anyone who knows the difficulty of stepping from 1st to 2nd level this would be recognized as a huge achievement. Congratulations on an awesome score :)

  3. Congratulations!!! Love that feeling when things really come together. You both look fantastic!