Knocking The Rust Off - BCHP Schooling HT May 2015

Dino's and my first event of the 2015 season is complete, and we are both utterly exhausted. It was a great day, with equal parts shining moments and things to work on. I'm feeling ready to get out there and tackle our next competition now that we've gotten back in the swing of things, but I'm also in no rush whatsoever to move on to Beginner Novice! We'll stick at Elementary for a while.

I got to the barn in the morning and found this:

Thank you, sir, for covering yourself head-to-tail in mud. Thanks.
 Luckily my first phase wasn't until 1pm, so I had plenty of time to make the pony look socially acceptable. He turned out pretty darn good-looking if I do say so myself, and I didn't even give him a bath! Old school grooming for the win.

We met up with Rachel and Toby at the Horse Park, and it was so fun to be able to spend the show day with them!

For dressage, I stuck with my original game plan to warm up on the grass for 20-30 minutes and then canter Dino around the outside of the ring before we went down center line. 

warming up like a noodle who can't go on the bit..

I think that tactic worked to our advantage, but I was not super pleased with the test itself. Our first canter depart was HORRENDOUS, mostly because I was so focused on getting the up transition that I neglected to steer or bend my pony, and so he asked me if we should jump the dressage boards. I said no. There was still no canter depart until after A. We got a 4.5 for that one. Ouch.

The rest of the test wasn't super ugly or anything, but it wasn't our best work so I was feeling a little bummed out about it. The judge was scoring really strictly, too, so I wasn't optimistic for a great score. Most riders were sitting somewhere in the 40's after dressage.

Almost square! 
But apparently the test was not quite so bad as I thought it was, and we managed a 36.8! We actually were sitting in first place for a short, glorious while. At only a couple points shy of the lowest dressage score in our division, I'm actually feeling pretty good about our future prospects after this test. I was able to ride each movement individually and think a bit more slowly than usual, so I'll count that as a win.

Dino warmed up great for stadium; he was jumping wonderfully and I was seeing my distances. After walking the course, the bending lines that I was originally worried about didn't seem so bad.

We marched into the ring when it was our turn... and...

Dino didn't want to canter.

So instead of giving up, or panicking, or picking a fight, I just trotted his little chestnut butt over the first two fences on course! After that he was absolutely perfect, and we had a double clear round, galloping through the finish flags with my hands by his ears, because there was NO way I was going to get time penalties for trotting!

I think this is my favorite shot of the day!

Good Pony
After all of the inside-a-ring nonsense, Dino was more than ready for cross country. He bounded out of the start box with extreme enthusiasm, and I was giggling like a maniac for the first 7 fences. We were having SO. MUCH. FUN!

Then we got to fence 8, which was a post-and-rail fence with some hay bales under it set on a little bit on a downhill slope, and I wasn't quite clear in my instructions as to what exactly I wanted Dino to do. He stared at hard, considered stopping, and then ended up literally walking over it. Should I have popped him with my stick when I felt him sucking back? Probably. I didn't. Live and learn!

We trotted down the hill and picked up our canter again for fence 9, the hanging log, which Dino jumped wonderfully. At fence 10 - the dreaded palisade where we had three stops during our very first horse trial, Dino looked HARD, I didn't back him up, and we picked up a refusal. I circled and re-presented, and my fantastic pony  jumped it just fine. We trotted the last downhill section, picked up the canter, and jumped the cute little coop at the end of the course.

I wanted to collapse and die after XC. It was so hot and humid, my legs felt like jello, I thought I might puke, and it was all I could do to slither off of my pony and walk him back up to the trailer.

At the end of the day, we finished in 8th place out of 13, and got to take home a beautiful ribbon for our efforts!

We weren't all that far off from the winning score, and if we hadn't had the stop on cross country, we would have won. Knowing that, I am VERY determined to finish on my dressage score next time around! 

Of course, I have a laundry list of things that need to be improved, but overall I'm pleased with how the day went. As our first horse trial of the year, it was a good way to see where we stand and get back into the swing of showing. I think both Dino and I needed to get into the routine again, and our next outing will be smoother and better all the way around. 


  1. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!! So proud of you and Dino!! :)

  2. Congrats! Sounds like you had a good show, despite the stop!

  3. wooooo hooooooo congratulations!!! i love all the pictures - and it sounds like a fabulous day! you too look like you're having a blast out there :) bummer about the stop on xc, but with a dressage score that good even with things you know you can do better, you two will be a force! we're just gonna have to school tons of xc this summer haha :)

    1. YES so excited to school with you and Isabel this summer!! Your bravery will rub off on me ;)

  4. Awesome dressage score! With more miles Dino's confidence will improve and I have no doubt you'll be finishing on the dressage score- this being your first outing of the year, it's totally understandable to have a little rust as you put it!

    1. Thanks Britt! I can definitely make up more than a few points in the dressage next time. Can't wait to see you and Foster back at it soon!

  5. Those perked pony ears on cross country have just made my day. Congrats on your finish and getting it done!

    1. Thanks!! Wish you were there and CAN'T WAIT to hear about your hunter ring domination!

  6. Bummer abou thte stop, but your git-er-done attitude in dressage and stadium is much improved! Besides, yay ribbon!

    1. Thank you - really in terms of my mental game and attitude this show was a HUGE win for me. :) Plus OMG PRETTY SATIN!! I love the brown & white combo a little more than I should...

  7. A good first outing! Plus you know that when you get your dressage how you like it, the scores will be totally amaze balls :)

  8. You and I sound like we're in similar places right now! It's so easy to think about all the things that went wrong, how poorly we rode certain elements, but at the end of the day you both did really well! Dino is telling you when and where he needs help, you have some clear homework, but the basics ARE THERE and you're already competitive!

    Once you get the kinks worked out, you'll be winning!

    1. Tracy this comment MADE MY DAY. Thank you so much for the love!

  9. Such awesome! That dressage score is what dreams are made of. And it sounds like your stadium ride was JUST what Mr. Ponyneeded. I too love the brown and white combo, and am personally a big proponent of winning ribbons purely for their aesthetics -- one facility near me does fourth in a gorgeous gray and white that I covet!!

  10. Congratulations on the good show :)


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