Now that the snow has melted and the rings aren’t a complete and utter mess, #Maredrama and I are back in the full swing of things prepping for her first combined test!
Since she has had approximately two weeks of vacation due to weather and time constraints, I opted to start from scratch and hack out in the grass field working on simple, consistent dressage maneuvers for a few days. Fully prepped for a fire-breathing dragon, I tightened my helmet strap a bit more, looked long and hard at my XC vest (decided against it since I had on several layers and it would take a few minutes to fit over them and I was losing daylight), grabbed my reins and headed to the mounting block.
#Maredrama was fidgety but listening. As soon as I swung my leg over and settled in the saddle she turned directly to the field and prancercised the whole way there (Google search “Pracercise,” you won’t be sorry). Sit deep, deep breath, leg on, let’s get to work!
I feel I should mention I am not currently working regularly with a trainer. Sure I’ve hauled off property to several trainers within reasonable distance, but I have not had a chance to since #Maredrama’s reins have been handed over to me. Do I plan to seek professional help? Absolutely. I was initially just riding her for fun to better my green horse riding skills. Now that we are seriously considering showing all season, I’ll be booking some lessons soon! I am very fortunate to have an excellent background in dressage through my high school days and started my hunter/jumper career in college so I’m fairly confident in the basics and instilling those on green horses.
Day one: #Maredrama was on the verge of nuclear explosion for the first 10min of our ride. The field I enjoy hacking in has a nice, steady incline and I often like the use for trot and gallop sets. #Maredrama remembers EVERYTHING so every time we turned away from the farm toward the open field she turned into a freight train, ready to take on the open tundra at full force. We practiced lots of transitions and various sized oblong shapes that were supposed to be 20m circles. Her brain came full circle, we ended on a lovely loose stretchy trot, and called it a day.
Day two: #Maredrama started out in full meltdown mode. A friend of mine had hiked out to watch our ride and the grey dragon could simply not FATHOM why she was there. We had an ugly 10min of giraffe neck and hollow back and then the rhythm started to creep back into our ride. She surprised me with some really nice circle and lateral work and found her impulsion for the later half of our ride. Loose rein, big pat, shovel cookies into dragon mouth, head back to the barn.
Day three: #Maredrama was in a foul mood because I had asked our barn manager to leave her up so I could ride first thing in the morning. Another nice skill #Maredrama has developed is running far, far away from you in the field, sometimes for hours on end, before you can catch her. Therefore, if I want to ride and god forbid have time constraints, I make sure to plan ahead and let our barn manager know when to keep her up in her stall or turn her out. Needless to say, we started out with a lot of snorting and whinnying to our friends and a bulge here and a spook there. I decided to use her, ahem, excess energy for canter transition work and got her brain sort of kind of on the same page as me. For the heck of it, I decided to run through USDF Intro test C (the dressage test for our Maiden level CT).
Aside from jigging through the medium walk portions of the test, SHE. DID. IT. PERFECT.
Day four: My friend and I measured out a small dressage arena so I actually had boundaries and letters to ride to. After several near meltdowns (conclusion: she’s amping up for her cycle), she settled into her work and executed the test nearly perfect again. I decided to switch it up and let #Maredrama run through some combinations in the jumper ring and boy did she deliver! She was a little less confident due to not jumping for a while but once she got her mojo back she was launching full force over every fence presented to her.
What I have concluded from the past four days is that we might end up being the ugliest horse in the warm up ring but who cares? It only counts after that bell rings and we enter at A in a working trot or the whistle blows for the 30 second countdown for show jumping to begin.
Less than two weeks to go! Next task: How to get the dirtiest mare ever white again in the middle of February. Oy vey.