Our First Show

Loading, and hauling,  Joy went without a hitch.  We even stopped at the gas station to pick up ice on the way to the show.  Joy was perfect in the trailer. It was cute though,  she saw Bob walking back to the truck with the ice and she whinnied at him.  
We got to the show and I was so nervous about unloading her that I almost wanted to quit right there. Heart jumping out of my chest.   Joy was vibrating like a top and screaming her fool head off.  I was scared…  

We got her off and for the first time ever I used a chain on her. 

The pony was a powder keg. 

Luckily i had a friend there to offer advice and moral support. 

I walked Joy around for a few minutes,  and once Joy figured out that the place was filled with other horses she settled right down.  

I lunged her for a bit.  She was “Up”  but sane. 

And then I got on… 

Yeah…  That’s Joy not giving a shit about anything,  acting like an old pro at all this.  


Best pony ever!! 

So we entered 2 walk/trot classes.  

This show didnt require show attire,  fuzzy show. 

I was on my own game plan.  Just having fun.  Weee! 

To my utter shock,  we won both the classes! Ha! 

What a fantastic pony. 

Oh,  and she loaded up like a dream and rode superbly to come home.  

Definitely a show pony in the making. 

I’m so thrilled with how well she did. 

Next weekend we have our first lesson.  I can’t wait! 


May is Here

The start of the show season, the end of the snow, the beginnings of a new summer of possibilities!20170428_230511

I love May!

I’m taking Joy to her very first show May 6th. This is a local, open show. Not a dressage show.

This will be “the test”. She did well with hauling to the neighbors house. How will she do in a completely new environment? I have no idea.


Side note: I haven’t taken a horse to a show since 2014. Three years! Guess how many of my show breeches fit?

That’s right, NONE!!

Tubby rider definitely needs to lose weight.



Then, on May 13th, I have my VERY FIRST LESSON in three (3) years!!

Count them… THREE YEARS!!


I’m so excited.





VIP at a Grand Prix show

Visited my parents last week and my father surprised us with VIP tickets at the Fox Lea Farm “Under the Stars” $25,000 Grand Prix jumping show. Talk about fun!!

They let us walk the course (the jumps were huge). I’ve never been this close to jumps at this level. I can’t even imagine riding a horse over this. This jump is taller than both of my horses.


Our table was right of the middle in this covered area, and we had a great view of the entire course (picture taken from backside).


We got complimentary drinks and food for being VIP. Pictured below is just a very, very small sample of the goodies we were given. We also had fresh shrimp, a plethora of yummy appetizers to choose from, cookies and chocolate treats. You could also choose different types of beer or wine.

Needless to say, we were stuffed and drunk by the time the show ended.


The riding was fantastic! I have nothing but blurry photos this time, but the horses were gorgeous and the riders were great.


They gave us a score card so we could follow along with times and scoring.

We had dragged a couple of non-horsey friends with us and they had a blast too.

This was such an awesome experience. With five of us at the VIP table (which holds 6) the price was quite reasonable for what they gave us (free access to more food than you can possibly eat, more alcohol than you can drink, some of the best deserts I’ve had in a long time, and a great view of the action).

It was  a blast!!

This venue also hosts some high end dressage shows, but my visits never seem to coincide with those. Maybe next year I can get over to see the upper level dressage riders perform. 🙂

Series Champion!

I won Series Champion for Second Level at Waterloo!!

There were 9 rated shows for 2014, and I won Series Champion for the entire year! Woo Hoo!


I’m still walking on cloud nine.

This was my first rated show in 20 years, riding a grade horse  I was told to sell because she’d never be competitive at Second Level… and….  I won. I won! I can’t believe it. It’s taking all of my self-restraint not to skip down the hall singing ‘I won’ over and over.

It never even occurred to me that I’d be anywhere in the running for this.

I wonder if I get a ribbon, or if it’s simply the “honor of knowing” type award.

Also, I’d like to point out that Reserve Champ, Andrea, was riding an Oldenburg.
Just saying… 😉


If you want, you can read about my first rated show by clicking the links below:
Rated Show – Part 1
Rated Show – Part 2
Rated Show – Part 3 – Videos & Score Sheets


Rated Show Videos and Score Sheets – Part 3

I finally had a chance to upload the videos from the rated show. Unfortunately, I look like an ant in the videos. My husband did the best he could, but there wasn’t a good way to get closer to the action.

Rated Show Part 1
Rated Show Part 2



Second Level Test 2: http://youtu.be/YaRhY4jngd0

Second Level Test 3: Not recorded.


Second Level Test 2 Sat Results

Second Level Test 2 Saturday Results


Second Level Test 3 Sat Results

Second Level Test 3 Saturday Results




Second Level Test 2: http://youtu.be/6F1U6-bo9oc

Second Level Test 3: http://youtu.be/gOpvUJlyQQk


Second Level Test 2 Sun Results

Second Level Test 2 Sunday Results

Second Level Test 2 Sunday Score Sheet

Second Level Test 3 Sun Results

Second Level Test 3 Sunday Results


Second level Test 3 Sunday Score Sheet

Rated Show Update – Part 2

Our second class on Saturday was Second Level Test 3. Ava was less nervous, but still tense when we trotted around to the judges stand.

All I can remember from this test is I felt like it went okay, but I messed up here and there. I could tell Ava was a bit tired. She tried her heart out though.  In the end we scored a 64.048%. Not bad for only our second attempt at that test.

Sunday it rained in the morning but the footing was good by afternoon. Our first test was Test 3, which threw me off a little. For some reason I was extremely nervous on Sunday and ended up starting our warm up 30 minutes early. Bad call on my part. By the time we got to the test poor Ava was pooped. I was a dissapointed in myself for not timing the warm up better and for letting Ava get off balance a few times during the test.

Our last ride of the day was Second Level Test 2. This time we made it to the warm up with about 7 minutes to spare. We did a quick check of responsiveness, and in we went. I was so tired. I felt like I was just hanging on while Ava carried me through the test. Ava did a great job carrying me though. She was a bit heavy and on her forehand a bit, but overall it was smooth.

Final Scores
Second Level Test 2 – 67.105% First place
Second Level Test 3 – 64.048% First Place

Second Level Test 2 – 64.737% First Place
Second Level Test 3 – 66.786% First Place

We also won the USDF/Dover Saddlery Medal for the 66.786% on our last ride!The USDF/Dover Saddlery Medal is presented to the highest scoring Second Level adult amateur of the show. You also get a $20 gift certificate when you win the Dover Medal.

In addition, Ava and I also won the Second Level Adult Amateur Championship.


Overall, a very successful and awesome show. I still can’t believe we did so well. I went in to the show not expecting to place at all. My only goal was to score oveer 60 at my first rated show as an adult.





Also, you know it’s been over 20 years since I’ve gone to a rated show. I expected the people to be less friendly than they were. Everyone I met at the show was amazing, friendly, willing to give a hand or whatever you might need. It was the friendliest show I’ve ever gone to. The staff was amazing too. I had so much fun, and even the big name trainers were friendly. It was awesome!

Oh, unrelated to dressage. I get to work on Monday morning feeling all good about my awesome weekend and I promptly get yelled at by three different people. Luckily my job keeps me humble. Very humble. I wish it would do a bit less of a good job in teaching me humility.

USEF Pony Classes

USEF Pony classes have got to be the most confusing division. It seems like the information is scattered and conflicting. So I went right to the source and asked.

This is for USEF/USDF Rated dressage shows.

First, even if you are riding a pony, you can show in any class you want and any division (AA, JR/YG, or Open). You aren’t relegated to only pony class. This is the statement I was given when asked if a pony can enter regular classes, “The only time you need a pony measurement card is if you enter a class specifically limited to ponies. A pony without a measurement card can always enter any class open to horses.”

If you do enter the Pony Division, then a USEF Dressage Pony Measurement Card is required.

The rider can be any age (I have this on fact). I believe they can be either amateur or professional. I couldn’t find any conditions on status of the rider, other than they have to be members of USEF.

Membership Requirements:

The owner must be a USEF member and the horse must be recorded with the USEF (either annual or lifetime) in order to compete in a pony class.

Pony Measurement Card:

You can get the cards from most rated shows. You have to let the show know that you need your pony measured so that they can coordinate the times and location. The show has to get a veterinarian to assist with the measurement (they won’t measure a lame horse).

The fee for measurement will not exceed $100. The $100 fee is split between the ponies getting measured. Meaning, if there’s only one pony being measured then that pony pays the $100 fee, two ponies, 50/50 split, etc. The fee is to pay for the veterinarian.


If anyone see’s any inaccuracies or has additional information they’d like to add, please leave a comment below.


I registered for a Rated Show

I am officially entered in a rated show! Woo Hoo! I have three weeks to become a dressage super star.

Ha! I just freaked myself out.

I signed up for Second Level Test 2 and Test 3. I debated for several agonizing hours over which level to do, and which tests. The safe bet would’ve been First 3 and Second 1. But… I really have a blast in the last two Second level tests. Those two tests are fast paced and challenging, and when Ava is “on” she can make the movements seem effortless and floaty. Of course, when we’re not “on”, we can really make a mess of it. Anyway, I settled on ‘fun’ rather than safe. I may regret that later. 😉

I should probably clip Ava this week. And I need a real stock tie for this event. I lost my show glooves somewhere… I’m hoping they’re just misplaced. I need to memorize the tests to a T before the show. I have so much work to do!!

I’m so excited!

Recap of First Show

Well, we tackled and beat down the first show of the year. Got those first show nerves out of the way, I think. I hope.

I was glad I decided to trailer in the night before the show so we could ride in the arena before the actual tests. Ava’s normally a laid back lady, but she was jazzed up at that place. It felt a tad bit like a powder keg was beneath me. I didn’t feel out of control, but it did take a wee bit of convincing to stop her from skedaddling out of there at warp speed. I chose to see it as having more forward energy then we’re used to. 😉

The great parts:

Medium canter: I haven’t practiced lengthen/medium canter much.   The judge said the strides weren’t long enough, but I was actually really happy with the fact that she didn’t fall on her forehand or lose her balance too much. And I was super happy that when I half-halted with just my seat she listened and came back, all while keeping her weight more over her hind end.

Travers, Shoulder-In, and Renver: These went so much better than I had hoped.  Ava, for the most part, kept her balance well, she didn’t suck back and didn’t lose momentum (not too much). Our haunches-in to the left is our hardest way, and she powered through it. The haunches-in right should’ve been the easy way, but we lost momentum. I blame it on the scary chairs and flapping things at the end of that rail.

Collected work: Some of the collected work was fantastic. We had moments where you could start to see that beautiful trot she can do.  Her canter was better than I had dared hope it would be. She was balanced and engaged and it was easy to move her around.

TOH: The turn on the haunches at walk went so much better than I had hoped for. Ava was really jazzed up, and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to maintain the same rhythm in the walk through the turn. I really had to fling her shoulders around her butt to keep up with her. We got 8’s on two of the four.

The bad parts:

She’s still tense. Especially during counter canter, but you can see it through most of the test.  I think that we’ve come a long way with addressing this though, and I’m hopeful that by the end of the summer we can show some clear improvement in this. I think she’s improved a ton since last fall. In fact, a couple of people commented to me later that she looked less tense than last year. So, Yay! Progress.

Medium Trot: This was horrible. Just horrible. We’re just at the point in training where I can squeeze a really good one out of her when everything is set up correctly, but we’re not anywhere near anything resembling consistent. And she’s not quite strong enough yet to hold a medium trot from corner to corner. We can do a few awesome strides before she loses balance. Definitely something I’m working on this summer. We lost a lot of points on those. I think I might try cavaletti work this coming month and see if I can get her used to the idea of stretching those legs out. She’s not naturally gifted with lengthens, so we’ll have to work a bit harder at them then others do… but we’ll get there eventually.

Rider issues: The rider is tense. I didn’t ride very well. I think partly it was due to nerves. I was having a heck of a time sitting the trot though. Some days it’s easy, some days I can’t sit the trot to save my life. This day was the latter. I was also too strong with my aids in places which contributed to Ava’s tension, and in several spots I was sitting way too far forward. I need to be especially aware of my upper body during the canter. There were spots where I am way up over her withers and definitely pushing her on to her forehand.


The judges comments were descriptive and concise. I agreed with all of her assessments. The weak parts she saw were the areas I knew I was having problems with. It’s always nice to know that your views on your progress line up with what others think.

I had originally signed up for all three tests at Second Level. Test 2 and Test 3 were the first tests of the day, with Test 1 following. I ended up scratching Test 1 because I was tired, Ava was tired, and it seemed so anti-climatic to do the easiest test of the level last. Plus, Ava’s a bear to load when she’s tired, and I had wanted the whole experience to be positive for her.

That didn’t work out so well though.

It took me over an hour to get her to load. It was horrible. I just don’t get what is so scary about the trailer. If I work with her at home she’ll gladly get in and out of the trailer a dozen times without an issue. Before I take her some where she’s happy to walk right on the trailer. After I haul her some where she wants nothing to do with the trailer ever again. I take her home after a disastrous episode, work with her on loading again, and she’ll pop right on after a 5-10 minute discussion and she’ll happily stand in there munching hay with out a care in the world. Once I haul her somewhere and am trying to leave again, she won’t get on without a massive, massive fight. Every. single. time.

It was a poor way to end a really good show.


Anyway.. here are the videos. I couldn’t get them to load earlier, that’s why it took me so long to post about the show.

Second Level Test 2

Second Level Test 3

When the Chips are Down

I eat them all.

Yeah, I know. I’m a tubby. Don’t judge. 😉

I couldn’t think of a catchy title.. 🙂

I have my first show of the season this Saturday. It’s also my first show since June of last year, and the second show I’ve done to in over two years.

I don’t really enjoy showing. I love watching people show, I love helping others at shows… but boy, showing is a LOT of work! A lot of work… for a ribbon. A ribbon I usually throw away or give back afterward. Because let’s face it, after the first dozen yellow and pink ribbons are proudly hung on the wall, you start tossing those in the tack trunk and forgetting them until you clean it out two months later.

Anyway… showing. A lot of hurry up and wait.

This is going to be my first real attempt at Second Level where I feel our training is up to par enough to do a decent rendition of collection. I’m excited to show off what we can do, yet terrified our performance will be sub-par.

If we perform well, and I can keep it together at the show, then I’m hoping to hit one day of a rated show this summer. Which would be so cool!

Oh, by the way, I shaved off Ava’s lovely Friesian feathers last week. She looks naked now… but she also looks sleek and powerful too. By the time I finished shaving the fourth leg I had enough hair on the ground that I could’ve filled an entire grocery bag completely. Just from mid cannon bone down. It was a lot of hair.