May 21, 2021

Harmony in the Park Saturday: 2-1

After hauling in to the HHP for a very successful in-person lesson with my GP trainer Thursday night, I hauled home to let Connor have a full day of turnout on Friday before hauling him back for the show for real on Friday night.

I was up bright and early to braid at 5:45am on Saturday for an 8:15am Second Level Test 1. 

Blanket rub braid being held on by QuickBraid and prayers, as usual

For the first time ever, I had a coach warming me up at a Dressage show with a headset and also for the first time since I switched away from eventing, I had a coach warming me up at all.


I had been on the fence about whether I should generally prioritize showing close to home (where I can put an entire rated and schooling season together 22 minutes from my house) or whether I should prioritize showing with my GP trainer even though it will be hundreds of dollars more expensive per show, and this warmup totally put that discussion to rest. 

She came out and said "What do you want to work on?" and we worked through just the parts of the test I thought would be tricky. Quietly, calmly, over the headset. No need to stake out a spot close to the rail so I could hear her, and she was able to comment on every little thing rather than just yell something out when I got closer. Headseat warmups are a game changer.

She pointed out that the moment I got into the warmup ring, I got tense in a way she hadn't seen before, even though I didn't feel tense. She told me sometimes she feels like her pony riders act like they need to get out of everyone's way in the warmup ring, like some kind of Napoleon syndrome, but she said I deserved to be there too and it was okay to take up space. The warmup itself was shorter than I would have normally done, and Mary said later every instruction she gave me had the effect of lifting his breastplate.


The colors on all the GIFs on this post turned out muddy colored, but rest assured we looked AMAZING this weekend.

I had told her in the warmup I wasn't underestimating the test, but 2-1 truly feels easy. I know we can do it well, without a doubt. There are no simple changes, it flows well, the canter work isn't a slog, and we've done it a billion times.

That turned out to be prophetic, as we got a 66.486% on it, in large part because we got a 7.0 or 7.5 on every single double coefficient movement except one, and the one we didn't was still a 6.5.

SO I'm having GIF problems and the framerate on my phone and every GIF editor I've tried don't match up. So if the GIFs from this show look like they're in slow motion, it's because I had to choose between warp speed GIFs and slightly slowed down GIFs. This halt scored an 8.0.

He was just right there for me the whole test. (Score sheet is at the bottom of this post - bless e-scribing, I had my results emailed to me by the time I walked back to the stalls).

Free walk, 6.5 "good stretch more ground cover"

Oh sure, the medium trot still only scored a 6.0. "Attempted but short" was the judge's comment, story of my life. But almost everywhere we could have picked up points, we did.

"Attempted but short", lol. Yes, we are both short, thanks for noticing!

Both counter canters received 7.0's (double coefficient) and had no comment.

The second one in particular felt really good.

I was absolutely thrilled with this as a return to rated showing. We ended up first in a combined division (of 3) and this actually rounded out our Bronze medal scores at second.

Next up was 2-3 a little under two hours after that, making it our first time doing two tests in one day since 2017.


Score sheet:

She was really hung up on my elbows, and my very biomechanics-oriented Mary Wanless GP trainer said she thought that was a bit unfair based on how short my arms are in relation to my torso (scroll back up to the "colors" picture above to see what I'm talking about). For the second test, under the same judge, she told me to over-exaggerate it more or less just to make her happy.



  1. I think it's so funny that the judge commented on your elbows because I distinctly remember someone else's blog post that was jealous of your fabulous "shopping bag" arm position. Sounds like a fantastic experience otherwise!

  2. I think I've had a trainer's input at ONE warm-up in my show career (shouting from the sidelines); that just hasn't been a luxury I could afford. And an entourage!

  3. Congrats doesn't feel like the right word - you've worked so hard for this! Totally admire the pair of you!

  4. Well done!! :) You guys are a great pair.

  5. The headset warm up is such a cool use of technology! Congrats on a great test and you guys look so professional and classy all braided and dressed up!!

  6. I was so bamboozled when my coach warmed me up for the first time last year. I'd NEVER warmed up under a coach before and I was horrified, LOL! Obviously it was very helpful and my coach is amazing - just something of a shock to the system!
    You two looked amazing and those marks are super!

  7. Congratulations on a very successful show. Well done! Honestly, I don't see anything wrong with your arms. They look completely proportional to your height. Your jacket is stunning.❤️

  8. I love seeing all your hard work pay off! Congrats!

  9. lol the elbows such a #shortpplprob - Congratulations! Tho I know you are probably now married to the idea of hauling far away for shows, maybe you can do a mix where you start the season with GP trainer, maybe do some close to home and then finish out with her. Or an every other.. honestly the possibilities are endless!