September 27, 2021

Show Recap: IDS Championships

What a show yesterday ended up being! 

It had everything - highs, lows, comedy, tragedy - and a couple of good lessons along the way.

We were stabled next to NK, whom I hadn't seen since I stopped riding with her 2 years ago (for no reason other than she's closer to me, but more difficult to get to than CGP).


If you remember, my whole goal for this show was to do it for fun, and because we qualified for championships, because why not? The weather ended up being amazing - highs in the low to mid 70s underneath those perfect late-September Indiana skies. My barnmate brought her coming 3 y/o as a non-compete just to see the sights and stay overnight off the property for the first time ever.

Sunday morning dawned clear, cold and panic-inducing, as I realized that I did not, in fact, have enough waxed thread to make it through to the last show of the season. I took a deep breath and calculated that if I did fewer, larger braids and only started the thread near the end of the braid instead of the top, I MIGHT make it. And worst case I could leave the forelock down and pretend he was a stallion. 

I ended up using every. Last. Millimeter. Of thread.

Shitty, shitty braids, lol.

Connor was bothered by those braids for the first time ever for some reason, and kept using a hind foot to scratch them out, which of course was worst case scenario for braids that had a lot less structural integrity than they normally do, but they did live.

Horses that try to scratch their braids out get tied to the wall, and are not happy about it.

But this isn't a blog about braiding, this is a blog about riding. We had two tests on Sunday, which I never do with this horse, but again, we were there 100% for fun. We rode 2-3 for the Imperio Trophy at 9am and then again for the 2-3 AA championship at 11am. Both tests, being championship rides, could be ridden with spurs but I could not carry a whip after warm-up.

Barnmate is such a badass. After lunging and warming up in an unused arena to check her steering and brakes, she walked her baby horse all the way around the warm-up ring, in this bosal hackamore, and he never put a foot wrong or screamed once. On a colt she bred and backed herself. Very impressed!


For the Imperio 2-3, he was quite behind my leg. I had gone for relaxation in warm-up and never really gotten him quite jazzed up enough for a test without a whip. It was a steady, workmanlike test with one big error when he broke in the second canter serpentine and then I picked up the wrong lead because OMG I can never remember which lead we're on when he breaks in a serpentine! Then I had to fix it in order to do the simple change.


But it didn't feel that bad, so I was surprised to see our lowest score of the season by a lot, a 57%.

Back at the stalls, I was hemming and hawing about whether to scratch the 2-3 championship ride. The idea of legging him through that a second time was exhausting. I actually made a pros and cons list (there were literally no cons, aside from potentially bruising my pride in front of the local IDS crowd), talked to Austen about it, and then the deciding factor was watching a video one of my former eventing teammates took of my first ride. I left a LOT of stupid points on the table, and I knew I could at least do better in accuracy.


Just, meh.

So I pulled a tired, confused Connor out of his stall, gave myself a 10 minute warmup that largely consisted of transitions between gaits backed up with spurs then whip if he didn't react to my leg in time, and headed in.

I took this GIF just to show off how my disco ball of a browband blinded the entire crowd, lol. Although fun fact, in the inconsistency of the angle, you can see me fighting to stay over his right side as he continually fights to tip my hip upward and off of him

We f***** brought it.

This scored an 8.0. Right in front of the judge. I'm so proud.

Every movement, I went for more, but tactfully, since I didn't have a ton of horse and being too aggressive would have led to him breaking gait, not giving me more impulsion. More angle, more bend, more lengthening, more stretch. Was it perfect? Absolutely not. Was it a thousand percent improved from the Imperio ride? You bet.

Position has gone to shit here but my horse is bringing it.

When they announced my score over the intercom of 63.4%, for an improvement of 6% from the same test two hours prior, I was ecstatic. And when they announced we won the championship class, I was stunned. I've left this show crying twice in the past, completely lost on the path of Dressage, so to come home with a blue ribbon (well, I'll receive it at the banquet in November) was just so sweet.

Speaking of the poor announcer, they announced breeder and breeding at this show, and she did an admirable job of trying to read Connor's dam's name (*Bwlchllan Bessie) the first time, but the second time, she took the easy route out with "...and out of a Derwen Desert Express daughter". I cracked up.

The biggest win of this whole show? We did the whole thing in the thin, 3 piece Myler, the bit he goes best in but also the absolute easiest for him to get his tongue over, which often happened in the warm-up ring at shows in the past. It's one thing that he hasn't been trying to get his tongue over at home, but to do it in a show? It's truly a comment on my hands improving.

 I love you, buddy <3

And with that, we are truly done with Second!


  1. Wow congrats on slaying with that killer score!! That test must have felt awesome!

  2. That is an impressive improvement; so glad you WENT for it!!!

  3. SO exciting!!! Congratulations! You two have worked so hard this year, and I'm so happy you got to show that off!

  4. So fantastic!! It must have felt AMAZING to make a plan, execute the plan, and be so well rewarded -- both by Connor and the judge.

  5. Congrats on such a fantastic improvement in one day!

  6. Congratulations! Well Deserved Win!

  7. Getting out of your own head after the first test to make the changes needed for the second is huge - WELL DONE!!!

  8. What an epic way to end a fantastic season! Congrads!!!

  9. So proud of you! This is amazing!

  10. That is fantastic! Congratulations!

  11. I've been waiting for this post! Congratulations!! :) Well deserved.

  12. OMG I'm SO excited for you!!! Huge congrats!!! You've worked so hard it's great to see such a great end to this level!