Monday, January 30, 2023

Rocking Horse Winter I - Dressage and Stadium

After matching out three separate scenarios (stabling, commuting from the GY's, commuting from JT's), I had decided stabling made the most sense. And in one regard, I was right, I rode at 8AM on Saturday, and 830AM on Sunday. But in several other senses, stabling was not ideal. 

The stalls are a bit dusty. RIP that cooler. 

See, ya learn something new about your horse daily. And mine loves wallowing. Literally dug into the somewhat questionable clay/sand stall base and then rolled. Repeatedly. Love ya Ben. On the less light humored side of things, Ben was a bit stressed by stabling. He was uber confused by what we were doing hacking on Friday. "Okay, we're at a show, k, we're going into that dressage ring. NO? We're just wandering? With a few other horses? What is our purpose here???" He was a bit stressed and tight until I put him to work. Then he went straight to work and softened really nicely. But still wouldn't hack on a loose rein after working. So we called it quits after 20 minutes since he had to be working the whole time in order to not turn his back into a board. 

Also, my phone told me Friday night was in the high 40s. The frost on the grass Saturday morning and the fact that my feet were cold all night long told me otherwise. So dressage was not our best effort by far. It got better as I rode the test more and let it happen to me less. Also being able to feel my toes by the end of it helped some too. I was kind of bummed coming out though. They had divided senior training rider so we were in a division of 10, seemed like a pretty good time to try to qualify for AECs. Turns out the judge liked Ben a lot and so the scores were fairly generous and definitely reflected the improvement in quality as the test went on. We actually ended up with a 28.3, sitting in first going into stadium. 

We had two hours between dressage and stadium and I actually parked him on the trailer in his box stall so he wouldn't roll with his braids and get himself super dusty again. He seemed pretty content there. 

Stadium was pretty much identical to the December horse trial. Ben warmed up like the pro he is and we went in and made decisions. And jumped our first clear round at training level!!! Not to take away from that, but we had a very lucky whack at 9B that somehow stayed up. But he put 2 strides in the 2 stride and 1 in the 1. And when I felt him jump in a little quiet to the diagonal line related distance, I closed my leg and he moved up to the second jump in the line. 

I took his braids out, brushed him off, and tossed him in his stall naked to wallow to his heart's content and eat some hay. My husband had come over to watch stadium and we hiked a bit of the Ocala NF down the road. That afternoon Ben and I went for a long mosey together. He is pretty adorable and kept checking in with me periodically by sniffing my face, but then grazing and sniffing things and wandering. Exactly what I wanted for his legs. At one point in the evening, someone's Great Dane was off leash and wandering around. Ben made a beeline towards him, he LOVES dogs, but the dog didn't reciprocate and moved away, so Ben kept pulling towards him, just trying to say HI! Fortunately Saturday was much warmer, so neither one of us froze overnight. 

Spoiler alert: Sunday did NOT go the way we wanted it to. But we're both fine. Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.


  1. Glad to hear at least Saturday went well! And both of mine love to wallow - blankets don't last very long around here :)

    1. I knew he loved rolling, but holy cow I did not anticipate the digging and circling! I have yet to try to de-shavings that cooler.

  2. Congrats on the clear round and solid dressage !!