Colleen, my wonderful sponsor and friend from Advanced Saddle Fit, came down for a saddle fit clinic and consultations, something she does a few times a year. I LOVE Colleen’s visits—I love Colleen, of course, but like any Mom figure Colleen always tells me a) my horses look great (they do), and b) I’ve lost weight (not so much).
I had a plan for Ella. Very little warm-up, just walk-trot-canter and a little piaffe-passage. She felt terrific, and we walked over to Ring 1 for my test.
SUPRISE! I'm not riding in Ring 1. I'm riding in Ring 2, the indoor arena, in which Ella has never set foot. So now the test is really on: Can Ella not only stay with me through two consecutive competition days, and after only a little warm-up, but can she do it in a scary, strange arena?
Why yes, yes she can, to the tune of 71.8 percent. Woohoo!
What a day, what a day, what a day! Ella and Midge, both in my care and training from the beginning of their competitive training, made HUGE career leaps today, and both were superstars!
Midge put in a lovely, fluid, conservative, but very rideable, Developing Horse test—similar to the Prix St. Georges and ridden in a tailcoat. He was a little tight, but mostly he was backed off on the very dead, hard footing, and I should have ridden more forward as a result, but I didn't until the last few movements.
I'm not sure what I did in a previous life to deserve the horses I've got, but it must have been awfully good.
My day started with Ella, who was a bit of a nutter yesterday. Today, she said, “Oh, right, be a rockstar dressage horse. Sorry. OK!” And said YES! to every question I asked of her—half-pass left, nice corners right, ones, canter pirouettes, and passage-piaffe-passage.
Here we are in Williamston, N.C., for our first real show of the year. Lots of good omens: On Thursday Fender walked on the trailer like an old pro, Ella ate, no traffic and the sun was bright and shiny.
Down centerline, it might seem I'm out there alone with my horse. In reality, I have an amazing support team riding every step with me. I've got lots of people in my camp—too many to list in one blog—but all deserving of note.
The plan was simple. As long as Ella was going to suffer through conditioning sets, I would suffer with her by riding at least one of those sets without my stirrups. I ride four to six horses a day most days, if not more. I can totally handle that.
T-minus six days until Midge and Ella’s first show. Yes, it’s a schooling show. Yes, it is a very, very small deal. And yes, my blood pressure is rapidly rising.
They’re ready. Neither is going to get 90 percent scores, but they’re ready enough. Midge’s 3s and 4s sometimes look a little more like calculus than simple counting, complete with imaginary numbers and the square root of pi, but the pirouettes are pretty super, and the trot work is gravy. He’ll be fine.