Monday, May 16, 2011

Show Day and the Sun Shines for Harley

Thunderheads threatened to cancel the day, but the sun came out and so we headed to the barn to braid, pack the trailer, and leave for the schooling show.  I honestly thought I would be writing about being all dressed up with no where to go!

Although the judge said that we needed to show more lengthening in trot and canter, he definitely gave me effort!

Starting the diagonal with good balance
Feeling round after the canter marathon
That's right!  In this test you get to GO GO GO!
Harley!  You look amazing!
Wow, First Level has a lot of cantering.  I am not going to lie; I was working very hard at certain points in the test to keep him moving (hence my heel in the last photo).  This was a relief, however.  We usually have the opposite problem, so I was very willing to leg my horse on and tell him, "yes, we canter through this corner, too".  When we showed at Training Level, he always wanted to pick up the canter right away again because he loves his "canters", but in these tests he was happy when it was time to transition down to trot.  In fact, I now know that we need to work on stamina and strength.  We lost steam quite a few times during the test and could not hold it together for a transition or maintain gait.  Tests are good for learning these types of things.  The judge was so wonderful.  She was very encouraging and gave us some really nice remarks.  She gave us credit for taking the plunge to move up a level.  It was definitely a fun challenge!

Harley was a little nervous at the grounds.  He appeared to be perfectly relaxed chewing his hay, but I could tell that he was somewhat concerned.  We really do not leave the property very often, so this was good for him (and me).  While other riders schooled between classes, we conserved energy and stayed loose by walking through the trees and waiting area.  By the second class, he seemed to understand that when we enter the ring, it is show time.  He did this lovely big trot stride down the long side before we entered the ring and I thought, there's that nice lengthening, but just a bit early!

I think that I might be inspired to try the next schooling show. 

Harley:  You are such a good boy.  Thanks for a great day!

Thank you to my barn owners for trailering my horse, 
my husband for playing groom and photographer, 
and my family and friends for their support.
I am often a one-woman-show, but I could not have had this
positive experience without the help of all of you!


  1. You two look lovely! Just started reading your blog - first show for Harley?

    Just took my 4 yr old mare to her 2nd show - we are green on green so lots of new experiences for us.

  2. This was our first try at First Level. We are very casual show-goers and had not been in a dressage ring (literally) for over a year. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Val - You commented on Behind the Bit blog on her post about Red Horse Hoof Stuff. I left a comment that I wanted to know where to order from (since this product is out of the UK), because my mare has a deep central sulcus on her club foot + contracted heels.

    You commented that the crevice and heels could be fixed. Could you give me some ideas? We have been battling thrush & infection in the crevice for over a month. Farrier is not helping - we are taking her to the vet this Friday. I also want the vet to evaluate her club foot - xrays, etc.

  4. Hi Kelly,

    I love Behind the Bit!

    My comment was implying that barefoot hoof care can decontract heels and give the central sulcus a chance to open up, making it less likely to harbor fungus or bacteria. This would eliminate the need for topical treatments.

    I find this blog very informative:

    And these websites: (a wealth of articles)

    Best wishes for the vet visit.

  5. Thanks Val for the websites - husband & I were reading them last night. Will let everyone know what the vet says on my blog.


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