Monday, December 30, 2013


The horse department of my life has finally settled down enough after a whirlwind of activity over the last couple of months which means I can finally sit down and write all about the new and exciting stuff that's been going on!

About a month and a half ago I moved Ben to a new barn. I absolutely LOVE this barn. For starters, it is considerably closer to my house so what used to be a 30 minute trip one way is now just under 15 minutes. I don't even have to get on the highway to get to my boy now!

Its also full board which I have never truly had and it sure is nice not to have to muck a stall and scrub water buckets every day. His stall is 10'x15' so he has plenty of room to hang out and he's turned out every day in a big grass field with a couple of buddies that he adores, one of which is a huge Percheron that has adopted Ben as his own.

There's also a huge sand outdoor, an indoor which is probably the greatest thing I can imagine, a grass field adjacent to the outdoor that we're allowed to ride on, a grass track that runs around the paddocks and is ideal for trot and gallop sets, and access to two sets of fields, hills, and trails, one which is right out the back of the property and the other which is a short hack down the quiet road. Its like an eventer's paradise!

I've also started riding with the dressage trainer there who is incredible and has helped me with more than I could ever dream of in just three lessons. Its also great having a whole group of incredibly awesome people and horses around as there is always somebody to ride with, something I've also never had before. There is a lot more motivation to ride in 25 degree weather when you have other people to commiserate with!

To top it all off, Ben is the happiest I have ever seen him. He's never been turned out in a group, which I think he really enjoys. He loves to play and I think being allowed to goof off and get all of that out of his system during the day makes him much more agreeable when its time to ride him. He went from being this lazy, stubborn, cranky horse on the flat to a lovely, forward, sensitive, responsive horse within a day or two of being at the new place. His leg yields are great, his canter has improved leaps and bounds, and he seems quite happy in his work.

We've been keeping things pretty low key since we moved here, mostly working on our dressage, though we did venture to a little schooling jumper show for fun, and are planning to attend a few more throughout the winter.

I am so looking forward to spring, when we can utilize all of the facilities to get him super fit and ready to event. I also can't wait to see what his dressage looks like in the spring. 

I've been mapping out a tentative schedule for the 2014 season now that the USEA calendar is out but it'll probably be a couple of months until the schooling show calendars start to come out so there will be nothing official until then. As soon as I have a basic plan, I'll update the 'Eventing Schedule' page at the top of the blog.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Course Brook Horse Trials Results

Well, I always say better (really, really, extremely) late than never, so here we are a month and a half after Course Brook with no result post in sight! Sorry about that!

Course Brook ended up being a very perfect way to end the season. As previously mentioned, we had decided to run Beginner Novice there, which I think was absolutely the right decision. We had a not-so-great dressage warm-up on slick grass on a slight hill. Ben is still getting used to feeling comfortable doing real dressage work on grass, especially if it is not level. I ended up making the decision not to canter at all in the warm-up, as I figured it would make things worse instead of better.

We then went in to our test which was very average. He was quite lazy, his trot to canter transitions were slightly horrendous, his left canter was more of a 'tranter', and he wasn't as steady in the bridle as he can be. It was still fine, however, it just needed a little more get up and go as a whole. Apparently, they are much more lenient about these things at Beginner Novice because we were in second after dressage with a 35.2!

I have never in my entire eventing career with three different horses, Beginner Novice through Training, ever been in the top three after dressage at a recognized event so I was quite excited to say the least!

Stadium was very soon after dressage, less than an hour actually. I had decided to just do dressage in my jump tack and head right over to stadium which worked out just fine. We had a pretty good warmup and then went in and jumped a lovely double clear round. He was very confident and bold which was exactly what I was looking for. 

Cross country warm-up went very well and was great for both Ben's and my confidence. He was extremely wired on the walk to the start box and it turned into a bit of a rodeo a couple times but we managed to keep it together. He was great out of the start box and over the first fence. He got a little close to 2 and 3 but was straight, forward, and did not balk at all. Number 4 was in the middle of a field so he was a bit more looky, but he still put his eye on the fence and went right over. 

I would say, on average, that it take Ben about 5 fences to really get into a rhythm on xc. During these five fences anything can happen: he can wiggle, spook, stop, buck, go sideways, etc. but usually after that he is an angel. He jumped the first four fences like a pro but we could just not quite make it over the fifth one without him doing something stupid. He saw the jump judges from a ways back and went sideways and stopped dead. After about 30 seconds of coaxing him on, I got him to trot and then canter ahead towards fence 5. As we got to it, I knew he hadn't locked onto it at all as he was too busy gaping at the jump judges so he did end up having a stop there. It was a tiny hanging log of all things, but it really doesn't matter what kind of jump it is if he doesn't even look at it!

We re-approached, he jumped it fine, and then we were on our merry way finishing the rest of the course clear without so much as a look or a spook or a sideways step. I did a lot of trotting in the woods, as I wanted him to slow his brain down a bit and really think about what he was doing, and I think it worked pretty well. We still ended the day in 7th place which I was pleased with and our Junior placing actually ended up qualifying us for Area Championships at Beginner Novice. This was all very exciting until I learned that they moved Area Championships from Fitch's Corner to GVRDC which is six hours away, so I will not be attending unfortunately.

I thought our experience was a great way to end the season. Ben seems to have gotten some much needed confidence back and we both had fun. We have our homework to do over the winter and then hopefully we will be back at it very successfully in the spring.

Here is the on-the-ground video of all three phases:

And here is the helmet cam of cross country. I went to cut out the spooking as it was just unnecessary, boring footage and I accidentally ended up cutting out the stop by mistake which is unfortunate as I like to go back and watch those things as learning tools. But the rest is all there so enjoy:

Finally, I have some exciting news to share which I will write about soon but this post is already far too long. As always, thank you for reading and for putting up with my severe procrastination in writing my posts sometimes!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Kent Horse Trials Results

At this point I am fairly convinced that the universe really doesn't want me eventing. There is not much to tell about Kent today, as it downpoured on and off the entire way up and when I arrived they had cancelled cross country for Novice and Beginner Novice because the footing was so wet. 

So, that was disappointing but no big deal, I decided we'd just do the combined test and it would be good to be judged and jump a low pressure stadium round. I got on for dressage and made the muddy trek to warmup to find that the warmup was coated with about 6 inches of mud and Ben was up to his fetlocks in it. The actual dressage arenas were not much better. I wouldn't dream of trotting or cantering in that so I made the even more disappointing decision to scratch. I was in good company as at least half the people there scratched as well. The footing was just too mucky and slippery and it simply isn't worth it. 

In addition, they were taking a break to move the stadium fences a few feet to the sides because they takeoff spots were so mucky and deep. As we were leaving, a horse went sliding into a stadium fence. So while it was quite frustrating to drive two hours, sit on my horse for five minutes, and then drive two hours home, I am happy with my decision to scratch. 

So I'm just transporting my goals to Course Brook next weekend where I can only hope the weather decides to cooperate a little more!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Beginner Novice or Bust

Well. Things have changed quite a bit since I last wrote to say the least!

Nothing terrible has happened, but Stoneleigh didn't quite go as planned. Dressage was okay, but he was very hyped up so the canter was quite quick and we ended up scoring a 41. Not as bad as it could be, but certainly far from the best test he's ever put in. 

The courses looked fun and doable. Stadium has never been an issue and we have quite a few Training combined tests under our belt, so I know he's very capable. Cross country had a lot to do but I wasn't terribly worried. Maybe a little weary of the HUGE ditch at 9 and the drop into murky water at 15, but I was in the right mindset to get out there and tackle it.

Unfortunately for me, things got very eventful as I was getting ready for stadium. The wind was picking up, it was starting to rain a bit, and there were horses running cross country right near our trailer so Ben was pretty hyped. As I went to get on him to head to warm up, he spooked, got loose, and took off. Great. There is a lot of pavement at Stoneleigh and he was slipping around on it as he evaded capture. He was probably only loose for about two minutes but it felt like a lot longer as I watched him skid around. 

He seemed alright so I hopped on to warm up for stadium only to find that he was slightly off and just not quite right. Ugh, horses. So of course I was not about to jump him and I was especially not about to take him cross country so we scratched. I was pretty bummed. We have not had a lot of runs this season and we haven't had ANY Training level xc runs this season due to a variety of bizarre circumstances. 

For some reason I feel like we've failed this season and I don't really know why. I didn't fall off, we didn't have a bunch of rails, we didn't get eliminated, and our most recent xc run at the Lyme Horse Trials was great. I suppose just the feeling of going to an event and not completing, no matter the reason, makes me feel as if we are incapable even though that makes no sense. 

Regardless, I have made the decision to drop all the way back to Beginner Novice for the last two events of the season, strictly because I want to minimize the risk of not completing and I want the two of us to have fun. Again, the reason we didn't complete had nothing to do with the level. He could've spooked and took off at any level. Same goes for when I had to scratch after dressage at Riga Meadow because I didn't feel good, it had nothing to do with the level, although maybe I would have run anyway if it was Novice or Beginner Novice. 

I just feel like after not having too many runs this season, I want to finish on a strong note over courses that I KNOW we will tackle with ease. It will also be nice to really work on the quality of his dressage because the Beginner Novice tests are so straightforward. It will give me a chance to work on making stadium even smoother, because I don't need to worry about the height of the fences. It will give me a chance to give Ben some learning experiences if he decides to be silly on xc because I can stuff him over the small Beginner Novice fences if need be.

I'm very much looking forward to going out and having a blast. If we end this season with confidence it will make the trek back up to Training next season much easier. I want to make sure we have a solid foundation and dropping to Beginner Novice is almost like having the inspector out to make sure the foundation doesn't have any cracks.

We were very capable of going Training this season, there's no way I would have attempted a move up if we weren't. But it will be nice to sit on a horse that I feel confident will go double clean next season, instead of the horse this season where it could have gone any way. 

So we've got Kent next weekend on the 6th and Course Brook on the 12th, both at Beginner Novice. Then I think we're going to head to a local jumper show and hopefully jump around some of the 3'6" classes. I haven't done the jumpers in almost a year and I miss it!

My plan for the winter is to really work on our dressage. I would like to master the counter canter as he really struggles with that. I'd also like to perfect our leg yields a little more so the rhythm is more consistent and they're a little straighter. I'd like to work more on haunches-in. And we'll really be working on the general quality of his canter, especially to the left. 

I also plan to keep showing in the jumpers at Westbrook this winter as its always good to keep him out and about during the winter so the first show of the eventing season in the spring doesn't turn into a rodeo. I'm hoping in the spring we can do a lot of xc schooling and start out at Novice before giving Training level a shot, yet again! I think we're on the right track and I feel like I'm doing what is right for both of us. 

So here's to the yellow numbers and having fun no matter what the level, because eventing is supposed to be fun and enjoyable. As always, thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Lyme Horse Trials Results

Back on August 18th Ben and I ventured off to Lord Creek Farm for the Lyme Horse Trials. The day started early with an 8-something dressage time. He was quite good for dressage and put in a respectable test to score a 35.5. The grass was quite slick in the ring so he was very conservative in his canter as he was slipping a little bit. His trot work was obedient but could've been a bit more consistent and a little less tense. But I was still pleased and we were in 5th out of 13 after dressage so it couldn't have been that bad!

Next was stadium where he put in quite a nice double clear stadium round. The stadium at Lord Creek is very challenging because it is set on a large hill. Number 5 was a wide oxer that landed right on the downhill slope. I made sure to collect his canter and get quite close to this fence as I didn't want any yee-hawing going down the hill, especially as it was pointed right in the direction of the in gate! He was jumping quite well and popped me out of the tack a bit over a few fences! He can be quite strong in this stadium field as it is wide, open, and undulating but he was very obedient and came back nicely! After stadium we were in 3rd place. 

Cross country was an absolute blast. What a great feeling it is to actually have fun on cross country again! We did have one frustrating stop at fence 5 because he was too busy paying attention to a woman and her two dogs (who in all honesty probably shouldn't have been on the course at that time...) but he jumped it perfectly upon the re-approach and was an absolute star for the remainder of the course (including over the ditch!). We came in well under time, we were actually the fastest in our division, which is maybe not the best thing considering we were also the only pair to have a stop! The boy likes to run, what can I say? Unfortunately that stop cost us the yellow ribbon and we moved down to 11th but we both had a blast and I felt like this was a GIANT step forward in our progress!

Here is the helmet cam:

Here is the on-the-ground video of all three phases:

We were supposed to head to Apple Knoll to go Training on the 1st but it was annoyingly cancelled at the last minute due to low entries which was quite unfortunate as I was very much looking forward to it. So our next stop is Stoneleigh-Burnham on the 21st in the Training division. I think we will then round out our season with Kent on the 6th and Course Brook on the 13th both at Training. I'm hoping for three solid Training runs to get him prepped for next year where I hope to get some harder Trainings under our belt.

I was also planning on applying to ride in the Phillip Dutton clinic at the Equine Affaire in November but as I started thinking more about stabling and hotels and more of the logistics it was getting expensive and confusing especially considering I may not even get picked so I decided I would just go and spectate instead of participate. More shopping time for me if I don't bring Ben anyway!

We had a fantastic jump school a few days ago where we played around with some bigger fences. I also bought one of those portable inflatable buffet things for about $7.00 to use as a liverpool which we tested out and it worked great. Much better than purchasing a 'real' liverpool for $300! So I set up a little makeshift coffin with our liverpool as well as setting up our small, skinny coops on an angle one stride apart. We played around with this xc stuff before moving on the bigger stuff. I actually went out with my measuring tape and measured the real height of all of the fences as I usually just assume that the fences that make my heart beat 10x faster than usual are 3'6" or higher and I never have a real measurement!

So in the following video the vertical with the gate is 3'3", the oxer of the in and out is 3'6", the vertical on the diaganol is 3'7", and the vertical of the in and out is 3'9"(!). He was fantastic over everything! I need some more work over bigger fences so I don't sit back so soon but other than that I was thrilled with it!

This post is already too long but I will be back at some point before Stoneleigh to write about what we've been working on in the dressage department! As always, thanks for reading!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Back to Basics: When Less Is More

Lately I've really been struggling with keeping Ben forward and engaged in his flatwork. If I give him a long rein and let him go how he wants he marches forward and tracks up quite nicely. As soon as I ask him to collect a little bit and come onto the bit he immediately lets his hind end trail behind him and loses any ounce of impulsion he may have had. 

Typically this would be slightly annoying and I'd just keep kicking on without much of a response but it didn't worry me much because he is always much more gung-ho at shows. Until we went to Frazier this past weekend and he did the exact same thing in the dressage ring that is. 

When I first got Ben I didn't ride him with a whip, crop, or spurs. He really was (and still is on his own accord) a naturally forward going horse. But as the dressage workload increased the whip got added as support for my leg and the spurs got added as a bending/lateral aid and slowly but surely I ended up with a horse who is at best quite dead to my leg and at worst pretty damn resentful of it. 

He has been remarkably frustrating to ride the past few weeks for this reason and I knew something had to be done about it before I started to dread doing a flat school on my own horse. 

For starters we had to fix the issue where his response to my leg aid was to stop, balk, kick out, swish his tail., etc instead of going forward. Next was to work on getting him to understand that he goes the pace I tell him and he maintains it until I say otherwise. 

I decided to ditch the spurs for now as I think that just makes him resentful and I prefer he move forward off just my calf without the spurs. I had also been riding with a crop lately instead of a dressage whip as I can use it every once in a while and get a more effective response than just constantly annoying him by tapping him with the whip nearly every stride, but I decided to go back to the whip and work on getting him sensitized to that once again. 

Yesterday we got to work on tackling this issue head on. I kept my reins loose the whole ride and didn't worry about his frame at all; all I cared about was his response to my leg aids. We started at the halt. When I gave the lightest of squeezes and he either balked or gave me no response at all he got kicked sharply forward into a brisk trot for a lap around the ring. We repeated this in both directions all over the ring for about 15 minutes until I could give a whisper of a squeeze with my calves and he would step briskly forward immediately. 

We then repeated this for the trot. Starting at the walk, I would give a light leg aid. If he didn't step right up into a forward trot he got kicked forward into a canter for a lap. He picked up on this one much more quickly and only gave me a hard time about the first couple of transitions. He quickly learned that he had only two options: do exactly what I asked or end up doing more work than I had asked for. 

Towards the end of our ride he was going forward off the lightest squeezes of my leg and I felt as if he was awaiting my command instead of going off of his own agenda. We also worked on pace maintenance. I'm tired of kicking him on every stride with little to no response. I should not be working harder than he is just to trot in a consistent rhythm on a 20 meter circle. 

I would trot him forward and not give him any additional go forward aids. The second he tried to slow down he got kicked into the canter. Again, he was either allowed to do what I asked or do more than I asked. There was no other option. 

All of this went over quite well and by then end he was doing some excellent walk/canter/walk transition on a long rein off of my leg alone. The plan for today's ride is to repeat this process for the first half and then attempt some real dressage work on big figures and straight lines to encourage the forward thinking. That will be the true test. This will obviously take some time and I'm willing to take that time to fill in the holes in our foundation, especially because I'm positive his lack of respect to my leg aids translates to xc when he spooks at something and stops dead in the middle of a field. 

I also have a lesson for the first time in months tomorrow morning so I will run this by my trainer as well. I have no doubt that this issue is my fault. I always accepted him being lazy because he used to be such a sensitive hot head. I was always fighting with him to relax and slow down so whenever he offered to slack off a bit I gladly welcomed it. Unfortunately it has now grown into him thinking he can get away with giving little effort when something gets hard. I felt a lot better about our ride yesterday and I'm hoping today's ride goes just as well.

I own a very talented horse but sometimes its hard to get him to display that talent. They always say your horse is a mirror of you and that is quite true with Ben and I. We're both stubborn and we both *know* that our way is the best way. Normally we get along quite well but when we butt heads it can get hairy. I have learned over the years of owning him that sometimes I need to take a deep breath, take off the pressure, and return to the basics. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Frazier Horse Trials Results

Look at me posting right after a show and not months later! Woo!

So, my unofficial goals for Frazier this past weekend:

*Have a obedient, accurate, and quiet dressage test - check
*Have a good, confident, forward xc round - ehh, mostly check
*Jump a nice stadium round - check

Obviously cross country is still our weakest phase at this point but I was really pleased overall with how the weekend went and this was his first time on xc since the middle of May so we accomplished what I had hoped to accomplish for the most part. Wow, that was quite a run-on sentence.

Dressage was actually quite lovely but WAY too lazy. If you had told me a year ago that I would be complaining that my horse was too lazy in dressage I would have checked you into a mental institution. But seriously. He was straight, he was bending well, our geometry was nice and accurate, but man was he lazy! He had zero engagement and wasn't tracking up at all and no amount of kicking, spur usage, or whip tapping was going to change his mind! The judge gave us some nice comments with just an overall suggestion that the whole test needed more forward (which I knew very well!) and we scored a 33.0 so I can't complain too much!

XC was next and the course looked nice and straightforward which was just what we needed. I own quite the quirky horse however and he never makes anything nice and straightforward. He was absolutely fantastic over the first four fences. He came out of the box thinking forward and actually locking onto his fences which is something I've really been working on lately. 

Fence number 5 was a water crossing/puddle complete with lots of fish swimming around so he was a tad skeptical about that but walked through just fine. This was followed by a left turn to another unmarked water puddle before fence 6. Well. We first found something to spook at before we even saw the second water so we stopped dead like a statue and we argued about going forward. I was kicking and whacking and clucking and he was bucking and balking and mini rearing. We apparently were not in agreement about which direction we should be going in.

He then saw the second water and I got him up to it but he couldn't possibly be expected to go through that water despite having just gone through the previous one. So by this point we were going to be overtaken so I pulled him aside to let the other rider pass at which point Ben realized that the puddle did not contain horse eating monsters and happily went through. 

But then I asked him to jump a log and we all know how scary logs are especially after your life was threatened by a fish filled puddle just moments before. So he stopped. And I reapproached. And he was definitely going but then I decided to add some insurance that he would jump by tapping him with my crop on the takeoff stride and that just shocked him SO much (because I have never, ever done that with him before) that he slammed on the brakes in quite a dirty stop. So yes, we had two stops at the most straightforward log ever. And then he spooked at something else again and I had a hard time getting him to trot down the pathway into the next field... He seriously is lucky that he is so cute because he can be remarkably frustrating

We continued on without fault aside from a peek at the ditch where I reapproached and stuffed him over. He finished happy and jumping well despite having had three stops and finishing more than three minutes over the optimum time...

Stadium was great, he was jumping nicely from the short spot and he easily jumped a nice, steady clean round. 

So overall I need to rev his engine a bit before dressage, keep on keeping on with our xc issues because I really do think the more he gets out and comes through the finish flags the better he will be, and keep riding stadium the way we usually do because that is typically our best phase. We ended up with a sixth place ribbon when all was said and done but the best thing we left with was good learning experience for the both of us.

So here is the on-the-ground video:

And here is the helmet cam videos of xc and stadium although I cut all of the spooking/stopping fiasco out because it was quite long and boring to watch:

Next up is the Lyme Horse Trials on Sunday, again at Novice. I'm happy to be going out again right away so I can repeat the good things and hopefully fix the not-so-good things! In reality our xc issues are mainly just keeping his focus on going forward and jumping the jumps instead of checking everything else out. The jumps are not the problem which is why I am confident that once I figure out the right way to ride him, Training level won't be an issue at all.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Millbrook Horse Trials

Last weekend I took a road trip up to the gorgeous Millbrook, NY to go watch the Advanced division run cross country at the Millbrook Horse Trials. Living in Area 1, we don't always have access to watching the pros run at the upper levels. Most events around here only run to Prelim, if we're lucky. It was a great opportunity to watch and learn.

I had originally planned to walk around the course a bit but we ended up getting a great spot at the water complex so we sat there for the whole division. This actually ended up working out nicely because you could watch every pair through the same series of fences and see what made it ride well and what made it ride not so well. 

A trend I've been noticing not only at Millbrook, but also from watching video from other upper level events, is that the riders who have a nice forward stride make it look a lot smoother than those who don't. Even for the combinations on course that require a shorter, more controlled stride, those that can package their horses up while still maintaining the energy level in the hindquarters end up having much better rides than those who pick at their horses and kill the power. 

The particular complex at Millbrook was a decent drop into the water, four very forward strides to a corner in the water, and another three forward strides to a table out of the water. The table was luckily very forgiving as more than a few pairs ended up more or less crawling over it! 

Another thing I noticed was that the riders who were able to stay over their legs as they dropped into the water had much better rides. Those that lost their legs dropping in were required to use the first stride in the water to catch themselves and sit back up which left less time to find their line and distance and kick on to it.

Here are a few photos:

Overall it was a great day and Millbrook is a lovely venue! Hopefully I will make it there as a competitor next year!

Tomorrow Ben and I are off to compete at the Frazier Farm Horse Trials in the Novice division. His dressage has really been coming along at the Training level so I have high hopes for his performance in the much simpler Novice test. I'm also hoping for a forward, bold, and confident cross country run. If all goes according to plan I should have a helmet cam video to share as well!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Riga Meadow Horse Trials Results + An Update

Two posts in one day? What is this sorcery? 

I realized that I really only had one more post to write to FINALLY have you guys all caught up on everything from this season so I thought I would just sit down and write it!

After Kent and the Boyd Martin clinic we were supposed to go to Apple Knoll on June 23rd and we were supposed to move back up to Training there. However, the event had low entries so it was moved to the end of July instead which was unfortunate because it left us with almost two months between events, which is exactly the opposite of what Ben needed at that moment in time. Not to mention that I was really looking forward to competing at Apple Knoll and the date they moved it to was the week we were going to be on vacation in Florida. 

So the next event for us ended up being Riga Meadow Horse Trials on July 14th, which was to be our second Training horse trial and our first recognized Training. Ben was an angel the whole day, starting bright and early at 4:30am when he was quite the gentleman about getting his boots on and loading onto the trailer all the way up to being an absolute star in the dressage ring. He put in what was probably our best Training test to date and earned an even 40. I thought the trot circles should've been 7s instead of 6s but otherwise I thought the judging was very fair and constructive and we ended the first phase in 8th place. 

I went and walked xc and it looked totally do-able and a lot of fun, quite the contrast to how I had felt walking the cross country course at my first Training where I was quite terrified of a few of the fences! Unfortunately, the eventing gods apparently still don't like me very much because before stadium I started to feel pretty lousy. I'm sure it had something to do with the perfect storm of the heat, my lack of eating anything, getting three hours of sleep the night prior, and having just walked quite a long xc course. Regardless of the reasons, I knew it was in both of our interests to scratch and wait to play another day. It wasn't fair to Ben to ride him when I wasn't feeling 100% and he's quite a tough ride xc so I need to be fully there to properly pilot him. 

As disappointing as it was, I still thought it was a successful day because he put in quite a nice test for him, he had a perfectly good experience, and we even still got a ribbon out of the deal for placing after dressage!

Here is the video of our test:

Ben has only been to three events this season, and only finished cross country at one. At this point, he just needs to run for the experience so I am taking him to two unrecognized Novices because they are inexpensive and nearby and I know they will provide two good, confident rounds for us. Then hopefully we will finish off the season strong at Training!

So there you have it, everything from the 2013 eventing season is all written up! I've also updated the Eventing Schedule page at the top of the blog. I will be back to more frequent and more "live action" posting now, which I look forward to. Our next event is in just 7 days, so I will be sure to write all about it!

As always, thanks for reading, and a very special thank you for bearing with me and my writing procrastination!

Boyd Martin Clinic Report

Way back on Memorial Day weekend at the end of May, Ben and I made the trek to Fitch's Corner in Millbrook, NY to take part in the Boyd Martin clinic. I was equally excited and nervous as I'd never ridden with Boyd before and I had also signed up for the Training group, and I had no idea what was in store for us in that regard!

Saturday was scheduled to be a flat and stadium day in the sand ring, and Sunday was meant to be a full cross country day. We arrived Saturday morning in the pouring rain. It was about 40 degrees (F), it was freezing, it was windy, and it remained that way for the entire day. The ring was super wet and sloppy but the footing held up quite well and it wasn't deep or slippery. 

We started the first day with some basic flatwork, doing a lot of transitions between gaits, particularly in the canter. Once we had sufficiently warmed up on the flat we trotted a small vertical a few times before taking turns cantering down a small grid of four oxers, all two strides apart, with a placing pole in front of each fence. Ben handled this quite well and was jumping fabulously. After we did this grid twice, the fences were raised so the last one was about 3'6". Nothing like easing you into it or anything! Ben again jumped fantastically through without even the slightest issue. 

Next we put together a little course, starting with the grid, coming around down the diagonal and jumping a three stride line, and then turning back to a gate jump. I let Ben get a little strong into the line so he had a rail on the second fence. We then did a slightly tougher course where we started with a skinny on the centerline, turned to the gate vertical, a bending line of five strides to the three stride line. The first time around we got a little too close to the gate so we had a hard time getting the striding, so we ended up getting a six and a four. No worries though, he just had us immediately come again and we nailed it the second time around!

We then jumped the skinny the opposite direction, turned to a one stride on the diagonal, and then turned back to a liverpool oxer. Ben kept jumping over his shoulder on the in to the one stride, mostly because I am always concerned that he won't make the distance because of his size so I have a tendency to rush him off of his feet a bit. Most of the time I get lucky doing this, but if he ends up getting a close spot he really dives over the fence instead of jumping up. I need to learn how to get the same amount of power and package it up into a shorter stride that is more centered on his hind end. This is a constant battle we are always working on, as Ben struggles greatly with adjustability in his canter, particularly on the flat, but over fences as well. Eventually, we had a great jump through the one stride, and he handled the liverpool like a seasoned pro.

We ended the day with a couple more courses that jumped quite well. Quite a few of the fences were set at about 3'6" but Ben was pinging over them like they were crossrails. We even earned the compliment from Boyd that we were "making it look easy!" If thats not encouraging, I don't know what is!

The rain had really taken its toll on the footing of the cross country course so instead of doing the whole second day outside we did about an hour in the ring, and 30 minutes of cross country in the one field where the footing was decent. As disappointing as this was, the whole Fitch's Corner team did a great job of accomodating us where they could and keeping everyone safe. And it ended up being a ton of fun anyway, as we spent the majority of time in the ring jumping cross country type obstacles, such as a corner, a liverpooil-turned-ditch, and a skinny arrowhead. 

We started the session warming up on the flat a bit at will, before starting the jumping off with another grid. Four fences, with one stride between the first three, and two strides to the last. We jumped through this grid quite a few times until it ultimately ended with the last oxer at 3'9"! Again, Ben handled it like a pro, earning a "What a horse!" from Boyd. 

We played around with some more courses, incoporating a bounce, the corner, and quite a tough bending line from an oxer to the gate vertical that Ben and I just completely missed the first time! We got it the second time through though! After playing around with some of the courses we popped over the ditch, one stride to the vertical, then jumped the vertical, one stride to the ditch, four strides to the corner, and then started jumping the ditch at an angle, one stride to the skinny arrowhead. That was a lot of fun and Ben was super honest and confident even though he had never seen anything like that before. We jumped it the first time through with guide poles on the arrowhead, and the second time through they were removed. Boyd told us we had "the best ride to the liverpool out of anyone." I can get used to this!

We then moved on to cross country. We warmed up over a "course" of sorts of some portable xc fences. We jumped a small fence off both reins, than a five stride line, and then jumped an angled, offset two stride before heading off to the water complex. We started by trotting through the water and out the bank, which Ben handled beautifully considering it was the first time he had ever done anything like that. We then put a little course together, starting with a small three stride line to the water, out the bank up, another log towards the water, then out over quite a massive table! Ben had a great time galloping through the water and he was super brave. 

Overall, it was a fantastic experience and I cannot wait to do it again next year. Ben was great the whole weekend which is what I definitely needed after experiencing Kent the weekend prior. Boyd is a fabulous clinician, he puts things into words you can understand, he would stop and talk to you one on one if you were having difficulties with a specific exercise, and he increased difficulty (and height, and width) of the fences/courses very gradually. Before you knew it, you were cantering down to some large fences without a care in the world, and the horses jumped great over the exercises as well.

Here is the video from both days, it gives a good glimpse into how miserable the weather was the first day, huge kudos to Fitch's Corner and Boyd for sticking through and standing out there all day:

As always, thank you guys so much for reading!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Kent School May Horse Trials Results

Well, I guess I have put off writing this post for long enough. 

There's a reason I was waiting so long to write about our experience at Kent this past May. It went pretty horribly. It all started not so bright and early when it began pouring on the way there despite the Weather Channel app assuring us that there was a 0% chance of rain. Uh-huh.

It continued to pour for the duration of dressage and quite a while after that. Our test really wasn't all that bad. In fact the trot work in the beginning of his test was pretty decent and scored mostly 7s. Ben wasn't too sure about the slippery grass footing so the canter wasn't all that great. We didn't score anything below a 6 though which is a big improvement for him. We ended up with a 37 point something which is actually our first recognized score under 40. So I guess maybe 1/3 of the day went okay.

Here's the test:

It had continued to rain right up until stadium warmup and even then it was still sprinkling. Ben warmed up well but was quite spooky in the ring and we had a round I'd like to forget sometime in the near future. It felt a lot worse than it looks in the video but we never really got a rhythm and the slick grass didn't help. We had a stupid stop at fence 4 because Ben was too busy looking beyond the fence at the spectators and we had quite a few missed distances but we exited the ring with only 4 faults added to our score.

Here's our round:

Cross country was just an all around disaster really. I wasn't really watching the clock all that well and they were running a tad early so by the time I got to xc warmup the rider ahead of me was already leaving the start box. This left me barely enough time to pop over two jumps that went pretty terribly which didn't help anything. He was excited around the start box but I left at a brisk trot because I had anticipated trouble heading to the first fence as you had to cross a small little land bridge type pathway to get into the first field. I figured trotting would help me keep his attention better but no such luck. We didn't even get over the bridge before he spooked at the jump judges and quickly backed himself back into the start box field. We didn't even get close to the first fence.

I reapproched and he was still pretty upset about the jump judges so while I got him up to the fence this time, he stopped yet again. One more try and we were up and over. He was good through the little wooded section and I thought we were good to go until he stopped again at fence 2. Why? Jump judges again. So he got reprimanded, and popped over fine the second time. We made it over 3 on the first attempt although it was sticky and then he stopped yet again at 4. At this point I was really wondering if something was bothering him physically, if he was worried about the footing, etc. but I could feel that he just was not focusing on his fences. He was looking everywhere except where he should have been. So we made it over number 4 on the second attempt and carried on. He actually jumped fence 5 pretty well although it was shared with BN so it was pretty small:

And then about 7 strides later this happened at fence 6:

I still have zero idea what exactly happened. I know we got a touch deep but he was going forward and it shouldn't have been an issue. Although you can see in the last picture even with his haunches on the ground he is still looking at something off in the distance so who knows if he was even paying attention to the jump. 

He was fine just a few scrapes here and there. I was pretty upset about the whole situation because I just could not figure out why in the world he was doing things like this. At the end of the day I chalked it up to a learning experience. And I knew I needed to find some solutions to his equine ADHD problem.

We had the Boyd Martin clinic the following weekend which I had mixed feelings about. On the one hand I was looking forward to asking Boyd about the issues we were having but on the other hand I had signed up for the Training group and I was worried that we might hold the group back if this was how he was going to act. But we went and had an awesome time which I will write all about in my next post. 

 I promise that post will not be as long of a wait as this one was because I actually am looking forward to writing that post!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

King Oak Horse Trials Results May 2013

So King Oak was the first full event of the season way back on May 12th which also happened to be my 18th birthday. Considering Ben and my issues from the fall I had one goal: to complete. I went into cross country riding for a double clear but being perfectly okay with the fact that we may have a stop or two as long as we ended up finishing. And that's about how it went.

Dressage was decent. His canter was a bit weak, his centerlines a little wiggly, and he broke to canter in the left trot circle for a stride or two but considering how he used to be and considering he is notoriously awful for dressage at King Oak those were just minor bobbles in an otherwise pretty steady test. I believe we scored a 41 point something and if I remember correctly we were in 12th out of 18 or so after dressage. 

I have a video but its not a good quality video so I never ended up uploading that to YouTube so I can't embed it here. Sorry about that!

Stadium was done in typical Ben fashion: slightly out of control and overjumping everything by two feet to easily jump double clear. So that felt really good and I was pretty confident going into cross country.

Here's the video from stadium: 

Cross country was good after fence 5. Prior to that we had three quite ridiculous stops at 1, 3, and 5. And he balked at going into the woods after 3 for whatever reason. I would love to know what is going through that horse's head sometimes!

After the second stop, I turned my watch off and settled on the fact that this was going to be the schooling round of his life. So every time he stopped he got a whack and a very driving re-approach and he went over perfectly on the second attempt each time. Once he jumped five he was awesome! There was a bench, ramp up, bank down combination that he jumped like a pro, he went through the water combination just fine, and was great for all of the fences in between too.

The original plan for the ditch was to coffin canter it. I changed the game plan after we had the three stops because the last thing I wanted to do was canter up to it, have him slam on the brakes, and have us be eliminated without getting to correct that considering his history with being ditchy. So I decided to walk the ditch and after a little sidestepping he popped right over and finished the rest of the course like a champion. Turns out they counted the sidestepping as a stop anyway so we technically were eliminated on the scoreboard but its not like it mattered, we would have finished last anyway so it wasn't a big deal, I was just happy we got to finish the course!

He most definitely finished the course a lot more confident than he started and I really felt like he took a big step forward in his cross country performance. This video is of fences 9 a/b, and 10 and you can certainly see he has his game face on. It just takes him some time to get focused for the first few fences. Most of the time I can stuff him over but sometimes he just gets away from me and we get the stops. He is a little bit too easily distracted!

Here's the video:

So I may be the only person on Earth who can technically be eliminated and still be ecstatic on how the day went but I'm just optimistic by nature I suppose!

Next up is the Kent Horse Trials report which.... eh, I wasn't so optimistic after that one!
I do still have some video uploading to do before I write that post so it'll probably be about two days or so before you guys see that one.

As always, thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Coming Soon...

As I'm sure most of my loyal blog followers know, I haven't been writing a lot lately despite being quite busy with the competitive season. Frankly, I'm a little bit confused with my horse at the moment and I wanted to wait to write until I figured out quite what my plan of action is and what my schedule was going to be like. So  I think I've made some progress in my plan for him, and I'm ready to start writing again and get you all caught up on where we are right now. 

So coming soon will be posts from:

-King Oak Horse Trials. I was actually pleased with how that event went despite what the scoreboard says. I felt like we took ten steps forward at that event and I was really happy with the "trainable moments" that were presented to me there.

-Kent Horse Trials. This is where I felt we took about 15 steps back. Dressage was good and the rest just wasn't and this is the main reason for my genuine confusion over what goes through my horse's head. He just seems to flip a switch sometimes where he's distracted and unrideable and forgets everything he's ever learned about eventing. 

-Boyd Martin Clinic. And then we went to this clinic at Fitch's Corner and he was incredible. I still feel like we're on top of the world from this clinic. But as happy as I was with how it went, it just added to my extreme confusion over why my horse is amazing at home, at lessons, at off farm clinics, at dressage shows, jumper shows, combined tests, and cross country schoolings but seems to just lose it the second we go to a full event.

So now that I've had some time to evaluate things, and watch videos, and talk with some people, and sit down and form a game plan I'm ready to write about all of this and maybe that will help me out even more. So expect during this next week or so to be bombarded with posts. 

Thanks for sticking with me guys!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Frazier Farm Combined Test Results

Ah, I'm being a slacker again!

A quick catch-up: we unfortunately did not get a chance to go schooling again because the ground was still too wet, I'm going to write about the combined test from May 5th in this post, and we went to King Oak yesterday and there will be a post about that as soon as my videos are on YouTube.

So Frazier was the last combined test we attended before the first full event of the season and we competed in the Training division again. Dressage was pretty good, his trot work is really coming along, and he scored a 36 which I was pretty pleased with. The canter work in the Training A test is a bit of a struggle for him but I think with some effort he should be a lot better about it by the time we move back up to Training level events at the end of June. 

Here's the test: 

Stadium was in one of the xc fields which was nice because it gave us a wide, open space feel. There was even a couple of xc fences on our course which was a nice thing in preparation for the first full event the following weekend. He was quite strong but still jumped around clean and we finished in second place. Not only that, he was the only horse in the division to jump clean so go Ben!

Here's our round:

I will have a much more detailed report about King Oak within a few days. I just got a new computer so I'm juggling video editing software and picture/video files between the new and the old so I'm trying to work everything out! As always, thanks for reading, I should be back on track shortly!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mystic Valley Combined Test Results

Ben and I went to another combined test this past Saturday and competed in the Training division again which went extremely well!

He was fantastic in dressage and ended up scoring a 35.9, his best score at Training level. He got an 8 on both his first centerline and his final halt. He got 7s on one of his trot lengthenings and his stretchy circle which is a big step for us. We actually only had one 5 on the stupid canter diagonal yet again! I hate that movement! Last show at Apple Knoll he broke gait and this show I kept my leg on to prevent that and he sped forward and thought about throwing in a flying change for good measure. So that is one movement in Training A that we just haven't gotten down yet. We've got one more Training level combined test to get that movement right. Third time's a charm?

The canter work got a bit disorganized after the diaganol debacle and pretty much scored 6s until the last turn down centerline but overall the test felt good and I think we are on the right track! I was very pleased with the boy!

Here's our test:

Stadium went pretty well aside from one major miscommunication at fence #6! By some miracle, he still managed to clear the fence so we did have a clean round, but it was definitely my fault. He had been leaving a touch long at all of the previous fences so when we got to #6 on a half stride I put my leg on for the long one but he decided at the last second he needed another stride. It was then supposed to be 5 strides to a one stride but we got all messed up so we put in six and two... Oops! Luckily he's little and handy so he handled it just fine!

Here it is:

There were only two of us in my division but we still won by two points! So the blue ribbon was just a plus on a very successful day! I have good feelings about this season, he's been absolutely awesome with what we've done so far and I can't wait to get to our first full event of the season!

So the plan for the rest of the spring is xc schooling again on Thursday, a combined test at Training on May 5th, King Oak HT at Novice on May 12th (also my 18th birthday!), Kent HT most likely at Novice just to be on the safe side, and the Boyd Martin clinic Memorial Day weekend. A very busy month of May! The move back up to Training will most likely be at Apple Knoll the end of June, and then his first recognized Training will be at Riga Meadow in July. That's about as far as I've gotten so far!

As always thank you so much for reading, I will hopefully have a full report sometime this week about our Thursday xc schooling adventures!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Apple Knoll Farm Combined Test Results

Well, I think its about time I gave you all an update!

Today Ben and I ventured off to the very first outing of the season: a combined test at Apple Knoll Farm in Millis, Massachusetts. We competed in the Training division, and then we went cross country schooling afterwards. Ben was an absolute star and I could not be more proud of him!

We took Ben's girlfriend Lilly with us today, as she was competing in the Novice division. Ben was perfectly calm and wonderful until he got into the warm-up, remembered that his girlfriend had come with him today, and then began frantically searching for her. Our warm-up was a crazy mix of calling and leaping in the air. Not the best way to start off! To give Ben the benefit of the doubt (hehe....) we had the very first ride time at 8am and it was about 33 degrees. So I kind of just accepted the fact that this wasn't going to be the day we won the dressage. 

He actually pleasantly surprised me by going in the ring and performing quite a decent test for the first of the year. No calling, no leaping, no bucking. Our trot lengthenings were more or less non-existent because I wasn't about to push for anything, I was just happy he was being quiet! Our trot circles were pretty good and we got 7s on both of them. Our stretch down circle was not the best he can do, he pretty much puts his nose on the ground at home, but he did okay considering how wound up he was prior to the test. Both of his trot-canter transitions were excellent and both garnered 7s. We got knocked for our canter circles because I made them a bit too big, so we got 6s on those. Our canter lengthening was actually probably the best he's ever done at home or in a test and he actually came back to me which is always a miracle with Ben! He was a bit on the forehand so we only got a 6 but I was happy with the progress he seems to be making. We royally screwed up the canter the diagonal, trot at X movement because he broke gait but that was pretty much the only blatant error in the test. We ended with an even 40.0 which I was actually pretty pleased with considering the way he had been acting in warm-up. This put us in fifth place (out of 5 ;-) ) but the other scores were all within a few points of each other. 

Here's our test:

Stadium was a lot of fun and he was jumping fantastically. We only jumped 4 jumps in warm-up and nailed all of our distances. He had an excellent round except for one silly rail at fence number 3 which a lot of people were taking down all day long. We got a little too close and he just couldn't get his legs out of the way in time. He also got a little too close to the in on the one stride at 4A to do it in one, so we just added a little extra stride and it all worked out just fine. I was very proud of him although the rail ensured that we stayed in 5th instead of moving up to 4th like we would have with a clean round. I was not terribly concerned about the placings however because I was incredibly thrilled with his performances and we got a pretty pink ribbon to boot!

Here's our stadium round:

Then we moved on to the really fun part: cross country schooling! The course was more or less set the same way as it was at our failed attempt to move up to Training last fall which was great because I got to jump most of the stuff that A.) had scared me back then and B.) which had looked like a lot of fun. The ditches were completely anti-climactic because he jumped them all without batting an eyelid. He did both the Novice and Training half-coffins, the Training skinny, the huge, terrifying maxed out Training table, the fun angled line,  the Training level open oxer, and a bunch of other stuff. He was so fantastic, bold, confident, and forward. It was a great feeling to have my horse back! 

Here's the xc schooling video:

We're off to another combined test at Mystic Valley Hunt Club this Saturday, also in the Training division. Then later this month we're going to try to school a bit more xc before heading into May where there are all sorts of exciting things: the first two events of the season and the Boyd Martin clinic at Fitch's Corner! 

I promise now that things are in full swing I will be updating a lot more frequently!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Involuntary Riding Hiatus

...its not recommended.

As I'm sure most of you have heard, Mother Nature decided to dump three feet of snow on the Northeast two weeks ago. My ring is still under all of that snow which has since turned to rock solid ice that no plow anywhere would be able to push through.We also have managed to shovel out the trailer in case of emergency but getting it back in would prove to be troublesome so trailering out to my trainer's indoor is not an option either.

Ben seems to be handling his vacation much better than I am. He was going so amazingly well right before the storm hit and its driving me crazy that I don't get to continue working on that. On the bright side, he's been getting a thirty minute groom every day and he looks super shiny and fantastic.

I've also been watching a lot of videos and reading a lot of books, mostly on dressage, but also on a variety of other horsey topics. Might as well make the most of all of this extra time I wish I didn't have!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The "AHA!" Moment

Don't ya just love those awesome moments when something just clicks and you're like... "Why couldn't I do this six months ago?" That has been this whole week for me and I'm loving it!

I have a horse that is forward, engaged, in front of my leg while also reaching softly for the bit in the most lovely frame at all three gaits. And I'm not even sure what I'm doing differently but I like it!

Ben is getting a well deserved "play day" tomorrow because he's been doing lots of dressage work because I love doing dressage when its good. We'll probably goof off over ground poles and gallop around a bit. 

I also found a lovely place to go schooling in April with an epic water complex. No trainer necessary, and the schooling fee is super reasonable. Bring it on 2013!

Of course this is when I start getting cabin fever and begin obsessing over cleaning tack, and making packing lists for horse trials, and color coding my calendars and training schedules... Its a bad time for a Type A person like me who has too much time in the off season.

And also, here starts my constant countdowns: 72 days until the first show of the season! (Yeah...its that bad.)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Game Plan

My excuses for the lack of posting this time: applying to college, the ridiculously cold weather preventing me from riding much, and filling in for my mom's coworker for the past two weeks.
But here I am, back and ready with a sort-of outline/goals post for the 2013 season along with a general catching up of sorts.
I never really wrote a post abut our Training moveup and thats because I was kind of bummed about it. 2/3 of it went really, really well. And the xc was not so good. Dressage was decent with a 38.6:

Stadium was also great with just a couple of wonky fences and my mom also forgot that there was another fence so the last fence which was probably the best one of the whole course is missing (always the way, right?). I later found out that Ben was the only horse in our division to jump stadium clear!:

XC was all my fault. I walked it, it was a lot harder than I expected (completey doable, Ben could've done it with his eyes closed), and I freaked out a little bit. There were two half coffins, a skinny-corner combination, one absolutely huge table, a fence-two strides-bank down combo, and a wicked offset combo labeled A/B. Again, Ben didn't have the problem, I did. I was super nervous and just came out of the box like a snail, riding backwards and picking at him every stride. Of course he stopped at the first fence because of that. So I circled around and got moving on and he jumped the first two fences perfectly. Next was the first half coffin, a rolltop, two offset strides to a ditch, and I again started riding backwards and picking because I was concerned about the ditch. So he stopped again. At that point I knew it was not my day so I retired before either of us got hurt or lost confidence. I was mad at myself because we could've rocked that course but it was just so unexpectedly hard. If I had known ahead of time that it was a hard course and to expect tricky combinations and such I think I would have been fine but it was such a shock that I just freaked a little.

So I think we'll be working on the Training moveup for the spring and I am going to be back with a vengeance to jump the black numbers.

We've also been doing the jumpers again this year but we've been doing the 3'3"s and as long as I can remember my courses Ben has been doing that fabulously too. His dressage is really coming along because I have stopped being complacent when he sucks back and I'm really demanding that he stay marching forward. We have recently had some of those beautiful moments of self-carraige where I can push my hands forward and he stays exactly where he is. He's had pretty much this whole week off because its been upper teens and windy and I worry about lung inflammation working them in temps that cold. It should warm up again by next week, however, and we will be back to it.

I have been super into reading all of my horse books while I have been on my involuntary riding hiatus. Lots of dressage books and of course Wofford's 'Training the Three Day Event Horse and Rider.' I'm also participating in an online Equine Nutrition course through the University of Edinburgh which starts this Monday. So, yes, that does make me one busy person especially considering I've been filling in for my mom's coworker who injured herself. I don't know if I've ever mentioned that I don't attend traditional high school, but I attend high school online through an independent study program which gives me awesome flexibility. That being said, attending work, doing my normal high school work, going to the barn and riding, along with the equine nutrition course is going to stretch me pretty thin but I'm learning a lot while also making some money! All good things!

I recently talked about maybe taking a gap year and being a working student for awhile which is still on my mind but more on the back burner. I applied to colleges around here so I can commute and still have Ben but I'm thinking of getting my bachelor's degree in Business Administration and then going on to receive my MBA. If I do not have a serious job that I love at the end of my four year degree I may still go for a working student position before going for my MBA. I think it would be a valuable experience but I also think right now I need to go and get college over with! I also think I can get more out of a working student position if I am already going Prelim instead of just moving up to Training.

The plan for this season is to go and get some schooling done in the early spring, head out and do one Novice, and then get out butts back out at Training level and show the cross country course whose boss! Definitely more my problem than Ben's! I am going to head on over to my Eventing Season list at the top of this blog and write out my tentative schedule right after I hit 'Publish' on this post.

So some goals for this season:
-Keep up the scoring in the 30s in dressage
-Show First 2 and 3 by this fall
-Jump 3'6"-3'9" courses by the fall (he's been jumping single fences at this height. The course thing is, again, more my problem than his!)
-Master leg yield and really start up the shoulder-in, renvers, travers schooling again
-Clean xc rounds at Training level!

Hopefully this season will be a successful one just like the majority of last season! Bring it on!