Wednesday, June 29, 2011


My seven year old son loves to play with my iPhone.  I am usually pretty hesitant to allow him to use it, but the other day he convinced me to let him video me riding Reva.

This is too cute not to share!  :-D

Horse Car Wash from Elizabeth Tewksbury on Vimeo.

*Note - My dad built the "noodle curtain" pictured here and both he and my son called it the "horse car wash".  LOL!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Downeast Horse Congress - June 17-18, 2011

I adore this show!  :-)  The Downeast Congress (DEC) at the Skowhegan Fairgrounds is one of the largest shows in the state of Maine, as it is a Class AA double judged show.  There are two judges in the ring, which means riders get TWO sets of ribbons and double year end points for each class!  Yay!  :-)  I have always had a blast at DEC, not to mention really good ribbons with my mare Dreamy.  She was the 2-Gait Double Champion in 2009 and the 3-Gait Double Champion in 2010.  

While Dreamy has always done well at DEC in both the Standardbred division and open classes, she has never been crazy about the Coliseum there, which is essentially a covered ring.  She has had her perfect pony moments, such as winning awesome ribbons in tough competition, but she has also had very naughty mare moments too.  I have since heard stories about other horses who dislike the ring, so there must be something "scary" about it that us mere humans cannot identify.  Who knows?  :-)  Plus, Dreamy is not fond of staying in her stall for three days straight and I can tell she is unhappy.  Yes, she is well behaved in her stall and all that, but when you know your horses as well as I do, you can just tell.

So with my young mare Reva in the wings, I have been toying with the idea of bringing her to DEC this year instead of Dreamy.  After two years and two double championships, Dreamy had no reason to have to attend DEC again.  :-)  Granted, if she was a happy stalled show horse, I could have done just the open classes or whatever, but why bother?  It seemed like a great way to still attend and have fun with my friends if I brought Reva instead.

After Reva's first two successful one day shows in May, I knew DEC would be a good next step.  I have been thinking of bringing her to New Jersey later this summer for the Standardbred National Show, so spending the night at DEC was a perfect test run.   I much rather find out she was not cut out to be a show horse here in MAINE rather than all the way in NEW JERSEY.  LOL!  It is much simpler to come home early from a show that is two hours from home rather than long eight hours (complete with the GW Bridge crossing, etc!)!!!

I have said over and over how much potential my Reva has, and sometimes I wonder if it is just a fluke.  But this weekend at DEC showed me just how awesome she really is.  I saw excellent growth over the two days and I am super pleased with how she did.  It really was a perfect horse show weekend in all ways.

There was a bit of wouldn't be DEC without it!  But at least this year we missed the drenching rain (such as in 2009....uggg!) and the massive thunderstorms (it blew through an hour or so after we left on Saturday night!).  I did forget to bring our awesome ribbon rack (a plastic piece of white lattice) but that was pretty minor.  LOL!

Reva's stall!
Her pretty sign.....
(left to right) Reva's stall, our tack stall, McKeever's stall, and the mini!
Reva walked into her stall on Friday morning like she had been a show horse all her life.  She was completely settled and happily eating her hay within just a few moments.  My longtime show buddy Shelly brought along her STB gelding McKeever and her mini horse Thunder.  So we set up our tack room, checked in at the show office, checked into our hotel room across the street from the fairgrounds, and said hello to all of our show friends.  Our first class that day was in the beginning of the afternoon session.  We had two classes fairly close together: Open 2-Gait Pleasure and STB 2-Gait Equitation.  Neither classes are MHA (Maine Horse Association) pointed, so it was a perfect way to get Reva into the ring without having to worry about how we placed.  I spent a lot of time riding Reva around the grounds at the walk before our class.  We went all the way around the outside of the Coliseum, around the barns, etc.  She seemed pretty comfortable with her surroundings and took much of her confidence from Shelly's older gelding McKeever. 

We ended up unanimous 2nd place winners in our first class!  Yay Reva!  There were four horses, so there was plenty of room in the ring.  I always worry about riding Reva in large classes yet because she really has no experience in large groups.  I was surprised and pleased to have started off the show so well!  Reva was very, very looky at everything, but she listened well.
Ring pics from Jeff Anderson of Eighth Generation Photography

A little looky, but very good!

We took a short break before we had STB 2-Gait Equitation.  There were five of us in that class and I ended up with a 1st and 2nd place...the other 1st and 2nd place was won by Shelly!  LOL!  I love when we end up splitting our classes like that.  We both get to win...and if I have to lose, I rather lose to her!  ;-D  Reva was very good but had a momentary bobble in the trot in the second direction.  She did not quite buck, but she shook her head down like she was thinking about it.  She was not quite as looky, but I started to realize she was looking for her new bestest friend McKeever.  And since Shelly was showing him western, there was no way to keep them together in the ring...Reva's working trot is MUCH bigger than McKeever's slow jog/pace.

Yay mare!  1st and 2nd in Eq!
Ears only a mother could love......ha ha ha!
We had a long break before our last class on Friday.  We took care of the horses, gave them their dinners, and we had dinner as well.  We rode in the middle of the evening session in our STB 2-Gait Pleasure class, and I want to say it was at about 7:30 PM. I really wanted to do well, as it was an MHA pointed class.  Reva was great going in the first direction (counter clockwise).  Then we walked and changed directions...still good.  Then when they asked us to trot, along the long side, she BUCKED!  What a poop!  LOL!  There were five of us in the class, and I immediately knew I had blown it.  I was pretty bummed.

Right before the buck...or right after.  Either way, you can see her expression.  LOL!
We lined up and the call judge, Chris Cassenti, came directly over to me.  She looked up and asked, "What happened???"  I just shook my head and replied, "Well, she's only five and it is her first time here."  The judge replied that we had been on the top of her card (meaning she had us in first).  I wanted to burst into tears.  I hate when judges have to tell you that!  LOL!

Somehow the second judge did not see the buck, so we ended up placing 2nd with her and then 5th with the call judge.  In the moment of the line up, I was bummed out.  But then as I was talking with Shelly, it dawned on me that Reva had just had a "baby moment".  So what if she bucked?  She was a super good mare otherwise!  The ring is sort of scary under the lights, with the sides draped in darkness, the crowd in the bleachers, and here was my baby girl being on her best behavior minus one little (OK, it was big...) buck!  And it came to me that the call judge really must have liked much so that without that buck she would have won!  So she has potential!  LOL!  Another friend of mine was the ringmaster for my class and told me the judge was "complaining" out loud that she had to redo her entire judging card after Reva bucked and was bummed out for us.  So instead of being upset or angry, I really had to laugh at my young mare.  I am sure we will have many more "baby moments" like that in the future.  :-D

The next morning was our in hand classes.  I HATE IN HAND.  But I know it is a good way to get Reva into the ring.  Besides, the STB In Hand class is pointed and she has done well in it so far this year.  We were the first class of the morning at 9AM with STB In Hand.  Overnight Reva apparently became attached at the hip to McKeever, so she spent the class calling to him and being generally worried about where he was.  She was not 100% paying attention to me, and she slobbered all over EVERYTHING, but oh well.  We ended up 2nd and 4th out of five Standardbreds, which I was happy with since her manners were not exactly stellar.  We stayed in the ring for Open Halter, but placed 7th out of 7.  She was MUCH better, but still not the good mannered mare I know.  We chilled at the in gate for a few classes before we had Open English Horse In Hand.  Again, she is not really cut out for this class of mostly Saddlebreds, but her behavior was MUCH MUCH better.  We placed unanimous 5th out of 5....ha ha ha.  I do have to say that pink is her color, so I rather like the 5th place ribbons!  ;-)
And we did the Downeast Open In Hand Championship class, and by then Reva was a totally calm mare.  We placed 5th out of 6.  More pink!  LOL!

Gotta love this pic...lots of green slime all over my coat!  She would not stand still either.

We went from this.... this.  It was nice that she calmed down.

Finally being good while we trotted in hand.  No leaping....  :-D
We had a long break until our last class, the Standardbred 2-Gait Pleasure Championship.  I was nervous!  I wanted to do well in the placings, and I wanted Reva to have a good trip.  But pushing aside my competitive drive for ribbons, I firmly decided I just wanted Reva to go well.  No bucking, just a nice easy ride.  I figured if I could get to the final line up feeling that she had behaved well, that was worth more than any ribbon.

Hi Mama! I like being a fancy show horse!  ;-)
I did not warm up near McKeever, which made her look to me for her confidence.  I knew she would do OK if she was with me rather than looking for him.  She definitely tensed up for a moment going to the right (the second trot), but I was expecting it.  I was right there with a steady seat and hands.  I stayed calm and just smiled the entire class.  It was fun and I wanted to portray that.  It is a pleasure class after all!  LOL!

When we came into the line up, I felt on top of the world.  Reva had been perfect.  At that point I did not care if we were unanimous last place because we had accomplished my goal.  When the announcer asked us to retire to the rail, I was just sitting there grinning like an idiot.  It took me a good 5 seconds to realize I was alone in the center of the ring!  LOL!!!  I joined Shelly and McKeever on the rail, and Shelly told me I had won.  I thought she was just being encouraging, but I looked at her and she said she had seen the call judge's card.  I started to tear up, because I was just so proud of my mare.  When they announced us as the champion, I did begin to cry.  Our win picture might not show it, but there were tears streaming down my face.  I am such a sap when it comes to my horses, and winning out of four riders is not that huge of a deal for most people, but to me it was.  My friend Shelly was reserve for the call judge, which was great.

Victory pass!  Yay mare!
I played around with the black and white...
I realized it was not unanimous, so I waited to see what the other judge gave us.  We got 2nd place from her and Shelly was champion!  WHOOOO!  So we split the championship class, exactly as we had split the eq class.  It was so awesome!!  For some people it can be hard to show against a good friend, but Shelly and I have always been very supportive of each other.  We always feel that we rather lose to each other than anyone else.  So while a small part of my competitive side wishes we had been unanimous first (LOL), I am very happy for Shelly.  Her gelding did a wonderful job going western and I am proud of them both too!

Our final placings for DEC 2011:
  • Standardbred 2-Gait Pleasure Championship - Champion (1st place) and Reserve (2nd place) out of 4
  • Standardbred 2-Gait Equitation - 1st and 2nd place out of 5
  • Open 2-Gait Pleasure - double 2nd place out of 4
  • Standardbred 2-Gait Pleasure - 2nd and 5th place out of 5
  • Standardbred In Hand - 2nd and 4th place out of 5
  • Open English Horse In Hand - double 5th place out of 5 
  • Downeast Open In Hand Championship - double 5th place out of 6
  • Open Halter - double 7th place out of 7

SO PROUD of my girl!

She loves hugs!  And she deserves them!!!
It doesn't get much better than this.....  :-)
Our ribbons!

Overall, Reva had the most points of all the Standardbreds in the division!  :-)  Yay mare!!!  I am super pleased with her attitude and behavior.  Yes, we had a few baby moments, but that is to be expected.  To actually win a championship at a AA rated show was amazing!!  I am proud of my little BIG mare!  :-D

Friday, June 24, 2011

SMDA Dressage Show #2 - June 12, 2011

Dreamy's second SMDA show of the year was on June 12.  Unfortunately, like the first one, it was raining and the ring was a complete mess.  :-(  We did the Prix Caprilli again, and this time we did First 1 and First 2.  I know that First level is hard for us, and First 2 is really pushing it, but I am happy to be pushed out of my comfort zone this year.  I figure we might as well try it out.  We can at least school all the movements, sometimes quite well and sometimes not so well.  ;-D 

Plus the way I look at it, Dreamy has proven over and over and over again that she is a good mare.  For a failed racehorse and retired broodmare who was started under saddle at age 15 by an average, insignificant adult amateur (that'd be me), she has talent that I am sure no one ever thought she would have.  She is not the best Standardbred out there by any means, but I am exceptionally proud of her.  We have nothing left to prove, in my opinion, so I want to have fun playing around with First level.  I just want to be able to say we DID it.  I don't care about ribbons, year end awards, or high scores.  (As long as we are above a 55%, I am happy, because lower than that tells me we are totally out of our league and might as well not show.)  This year for me and Dreamy is about having fun, pushing ourselves to try something hard, and just seeing what we can do.  I am fully aware that Dreamy will never be able to try a test beyond First level.  Who cares???  I have never ridden a First level test in competition before I did it with Dreamy this year and might never ride a test beyond that either!!!  LOL!  :-D  

Anyway, I was pleased with our show.  The footing was worse than it had been at the first soggy show in May and I knew she would struggle in the canter.  Let's face it, we always struggle at the canter, but the thick mud in the ring that day only made it worse. We sometimes luck out if the footing is just a little wet with puddles, as it makes her canter have a bit more "lift" as it does when we ride in the snow.  But wet mucky footing is just bad.  Oh well.

I felt iffy about jumping in the mud, but the spot where the jumps go for the Prix Caprilli was actually the driest spot in the entire ring.  I decided to try it out; I told the judge before I entered that if I felt she was slipping or the footing was just too bad, I would withdraw.  Despite forgetting part of the course ( caller and I completely blanked when we picked up the second canter lead) it was a pretty decent test.  This time there were three riders in the class, both juniors who are good little riders, so I knew I had some competition.  ;-D  But in the end we won again!!!  This time we scored a 66.6%, just .4% less than the first show!  Yay mare!  I wish more competitions offered the Prix Caprilli test, because I honestly think I would rather do this than regular dressage!  ;-D  Besides the cross country jumping in an event, Prix Caprilli is a close second!

First 1 was a so-so test.  We struggled with our trot work this time, which is usually what saves our score.  ;-)  Plus I have always found that learner judges are much harder scorers than rated judges.  Oh well!  We scored a 59.7% on First 1, which was 2.4% lower than the first show.  I admit, I really wanted to score above a 60% again, but it just wasn't our day.  We placed 3rd out of six riders.

First 2 was a hard test.  We had trouble with our 10m half circles, as I apparently made them too large.  We did not cross enough in the leg yields (should have carried my whip!  ARG!)  And the canter lengthenings were much harder this time, as Dreamy was really not willing to extend in the awful footing.  But that was OK; she has always been very self perserving about her footing so I was happy with what she tried to give me.  We did get some 6s on our canter transitions, which was lovely, as two years ago they were 4s.  LOL!  We ended up scoring a well earned 56% and placed 2nd out of three riders.

Overall I feel like this show was a good judgment of where we are.  Granted, had the footing been dry and normal, we might have had better trot and canter work, but oh well.  You cannot control the weather.  I feel good that we are scoring above 55%, because if we were scoring lower than that I think I would wait until next year to show at First level.  But we are having fun (well....showing in the rain is not really fun, but...) and working hard.  Plus, I really like to show, so as long as we are not completely making fools of ourselves, I figure why not??

I wish I had photos, but there was no professional photographer and no one came along with me.  :-(  Apparently, I will have no dressage pics this year and it will RAIN at every show!  HA HA HA!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Change of Scenery - the historic Cornish Trotting Park

There is a great little facility in my town called the Cornish Trotting Park (or Cornish Fairgrounds).  We have a larger fairgrounds in the next town (Hiram) called the Ossipee Valley Fairgrounds.  I have talked about the Trotting Park before here and here...complete with photos in case you want to see what it looks like.  Basically it is a pretty decent half mile track with a huge grass infield and a 120x210' sand riding ring.  There is a very cool restored grandstand and judges' stand.  There is even an underground tunnel, most likely one of the first of its kind, to bring people from the outside fence into the infield.

I love here is a little information I found:

In 1876 the first fair association was formed in Cornish (Maine) to promote and display goods in the area. One of the most influential founders was B. Franklin Pease, the great grandfather of Royden and Rebecca Pease and Helen Bradeen. He also founded the Cornish Grange the year before.  Little is recorded of the early years of the Ossipee Valley Union Agriculture Association, but by the turn of the century there was a complete rebuilding of the fairgrounds and racetrack to allow for growing expansion.

By the end of the Second World War, most of the active members of the association had passed away and due to lack of support, the end of the Cornish Fair was looming.  Dr. Anthony DiBiaso bought the fairgrounds in 1958 and gave the deed to his wife. Since 1952, the fairgrounds activity was limited to the training of race horses.

In 1994, the town of Cornish purchased the fairgrounds. Today the grounds are used for numerous public events and the training of harness horses, which is one of the oldest traditions and businesses in Cornish.

I have always loved riding there for the Cornish Horseman's Day to marshal the races, but I have never been there otherwise.  This year I decided to pay the membership fee to ride there anytime.  It is great, because I can work in the ring or use the track for trot/canter sets.  The only downside is that I have to trailer there, which is a bit more work than riding in my backyard, but it is seriously less than 3 miles from my house so I cannot complain that much.  LOL!

My friend Tania and I have been there a bunch of times already this year. I have brought Dreamy, who is completely unfazed about the entire experience, as she has been there numerous times.  Well, the other weekend I brought Reva and it was pretty funny.  I kept meaning to write about it.  

First, it was Memorial Day, May 30, so there was the big parade in town.  It started at 10AM and lasts, oh, about 6 minutes, so we decided to meet at the trotting park at 11AM. I completely forgot that after the tiny parade they did a ceremony in the cemetery......which happens to be across the street from the Trotting Park!  Whoops!  So by the time I arrived the ceremony was just over and there were people EVERYWHERE.  It was a bit hairy, but I was careful and slow; I managed not to hit any of the 39374645 traffic oblivious folks exiting the cemetery on foot.  Phew!  :-p

Reva was excited to be in a new place, but she was not nervous or wound up at all.  As we were getting ready to ride, I noticed that my saddle was missing its stirrups.  OH NO!  LOL!  I had taken them off the day before to use on my Lane Fox saddleseat saddle (that's a whole OTHER post!  ;-) and obviously forgotten to put them back on.  Thankfully Tania is a terrific friend and let me borrow her stirrups from her English saddle.  She had been planning to ride her horse English that day, but by giving me her stirrups she had to ride Western. 

Well......sounds OK.  But Tania was wearing riding breeches and tall boots, which are not exactly desgined for a use with a Western saddle.  LOL!  And to top it off, she ended up getting her Zock riding sock STUCK in her tall boot zipper!  LOL!!!  It was seriously stuck.  It was so comical.  We had to use my shedding blade like a saw to CUT the sock out of her zipper.  And then the poor girl had to wear a very holey sock for her ride.....complete with her riding breeches and short Western boots.  HA HA HA HA!   It was quite funny.

So after much giggling, we get the sock/stirrup situation all settled.  During that time another trailer pulled in, but they had parked on the other side of the grandstand so we could not see them.  Just as we are headed to the ring (in the infield of the track) to get on and ride, the other person comes around with her horse onto the track.  Without any hesitation or warning, she TOOK OFF in a gallop around the half mile track.  Reva's eyes bugged so far out of her head that I decided to wait to mount up.  The young rider went around the track at breakneck speed for a full half mile.  It seemed the horse was safe and easygoing, but at the moment Tania and I were pretty shocked and worried.  

Needless to say, Reva was a little "up" after that!  LOL!  But honestly, she was a good girl and we still had a decent warm up.  I was hoping to try a canter with her in the big ring there, since my "ring" at home (a mostly level area of one of the pastures) is pretty small.  

But of our local horsemen showed up to train one of his Standardbreds!  LOL!  Talk about an exciting day for the five year old!  ;-D  It was very good though, because while we did not work on the canter as I had planned, we did have a good session on paying attention despite distractions.  This is still a great thing, since at home it is quiet and Reva is completely and totally laid back.  I love how sometimes you have a training plan in your head and it completely changes; though this change was still a good plan.  We both had a great ride and that is what matters!  :-D

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Riding Lessons!

While Reva has been busy being a show horse and learning to be a trail horse, Dreamy has been gearing up for dressage shows this year.  We've only shown once so far, but I have taken two lessons with my really fabulous instructor Judy.  We have been working on her canter, of course.  The biggest thing this year is really slowing everything down.  She cannot collect her frame if I am allowing her to blast along in her powerhouse trot.  And when we are really thinking S L O W, I can get a pretty decent canter from her.  But I really need to think about riding every stride.  It was one thing to tool around at Training level, but since I am really aiming to do First Level this year, I have to refine what I am asking her to do.

So far, I have discovered that cantering Dreamy is really about half halts.  I am asking for the canter departs from a very small trot, so that her hind end is able to really get underneath and strike off in a balanced transition.  And then it seems that after a few strides of canter, she starts to get strung out.  So, by riding a (fairly big) half halt and asking her to canter AGAIN, I am able to get a few more strides of decent canter.  Overall, it seems like I can string these moments of canter together to complete a circle, etc. 

In my last lesson we worked on trying a few steps of leg yield at the canter, which was amazingly helpful.  In asking her to leg yield over, she was able to really step underneath herself in the canter, therefore improving the quality of the canter.   She was sort of confused at first, but tried very hard!  We got some very nice canter in the right rein...which used to be her worst direction!  Now she is struggling with her left lead this year!  LOL!  Funny how horses are....

So in the left lead, I have to really control her shoulders and not allow her to become overbent and "pop" the outside (right) shoulder.  She gets so crooked and then unbalanced.  It is hard for me to control her shoulders and think about counter flexing her neck but NOT counterbending her body.  Sometimes I have such a hard time getting my brain to coordinate my aids...LOL!  I wish my timing were better, but what can you do?  ;-D  But I have worked hard between lessons and Judy felt we had improved in the three weeks time.  (It is hard to take lessons when I am showing during the school year...once I am done teaching on June 21, it will be MUCH easier to lesson during the week and then show on the weekends.)  

We have to work on our leg yielding at the trot if I am going to try First 2.  She is super easy yielding to the left, but pretty sticky to the right.  I need to start carrying a whip to encourage her hindquarters to move!  I hate riding with a whip which is why I use spurs.  But I think I will be more effective with a gentle brush with the whip than trying to coordinate my leg aids.  

Though I have to say, all this slowing things down and asking her to move in a slightly more collected frame has made our trot lengthenings really awesome!  LOL!  Dreamy has always had a great range of motion in the trot, but now I have a hard time convincing her that every change of rein at the trot does NOT automatically mean we get to lengthen!  LOL!

We will get there.  From only having two lessons so far, I am very pleased with our progress.  First Level is it with 20 years old there is no reason to ask her for more.  She is doing everything I am asking her to do and she is happy and comfortable.  Heck, for a retired broodmare, what else does she need to prove?  LOL!  As long as we are having fun (we are!) and doing fun stuff like jumping and easy stuff like trail riding in between the serious dressage work (we are!), then I am happy! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Reva's First Trail Ride

This has been a huge year for Miss Reva!  I knew she would be a good mare, but I am very surprised at how well we have done so far at her first two horse shows.  She has been super well behaved and sensible, just as she is at home.  It is NOT about the ribbons, but how exciting to actually win them!  LOL!

I have been hoping to get her out and about on the trails, but seeing as I keep the horses at home, I am always alone.  I trust her MUCH more than most 5 year olds, but I am still not crazy enough to ride her off into the woods on my own.  So I was pretty excited when my friend Tania invited me along on a trail ride this past Sunday, June 5.  It would have been easy to just bring Dreamy, who rides along on the buckle and doesn't bat an eye, but I knew it would be a great opportunity to take Reva out into the great outdoors!

We left from Tania's father and stepmother's house, which was just a short 5 minute trailer ride from my farm.  Reva was pretty surprised to show up in yet ANOTHER strange place in the space of a month, but she was very good.  

Within the first few moments of the ride, we had to step over a small water crossing.  It was maybe a foot across, and the water was MAYBE 4 inches deep.  Nothing serious at all.  We were behind the other three horses, so I figured Reva would just follow them.  

NOPE.  She stood there with her feet planted.  She obviously wanted to be with her buddies just over the water, but she was not quite sure about the water.  Hmmmm....she wasn't being BAD she was just completely baffled and having a baby moment.  I blissfully assumed that she was so sensible she would just follow other horses when it came to water.  

I was just about to dismount to lead her over, but I was hesitant only because it is VERY difficult for all 5 feet of ME to get on all 16.3 hands of HER without a mounting block!  LOL!  Just as I was about to get down, Tania's stepmother Angie dismounted her (14 hand) horse to help me out.  That was super nice of her.  And of course, as soon as Angie was at Reva's head, she walked right over the water without an issue. 

There was another water crossing just up the trail, but this one was more like a small stream.  Hmmmm....Reva watched the other horses go over, and Tania's dad Craig kept his steady gelding halted right in the middle to give Reva confidence.  It worked well; she reached down to sniff the water, gave the gelding a look, and walked right through.  It was great. 

Further down the trail there was a HUGE puddle and I am proud that Reva marched right through it without blinking an eye.  Good trail horse!  LOL!

Yay good mare!  She totally needs a new ear net thingy....this one was a hand-me-down from Dreamy and it is really too small for Reva's big trotter ears!  LOL!
On the way back, she did all three water crossings without any hesitation or worry.  I love that you can show her something once and she will do it again without issue.  I think Reva is sensible because she is a thinker.  It is not like every time she saw water it was like the first time, as some horses do.  Instead it is as though she remembers and thinks..."Oh this is just water like last time.  No big deal."  

There were parts of the trail ride that were open and smooth, while there were other parts that were hilly and overgrown (sometimes both).  At one point we lost the trail and had to "bushwhack" through the undergrowth.  Plus, there were HUGE trees that had come down in last summer's wind storm that blocked the trail, so we often had to make our own path around them to get back to the trail. 

Reva was super!  She marched along quite happily for a while in the back of the group, then third to last, and then up in the front behind Tania's horse Otis.  She definitely felt safe be being with the other horses and took her cues from them....except when Otis was bucking and cantering in place in front of her!  LOL!  Thank goodness she just kept marching along at the walk, unfazed by Otis' tantrums.  

Happily following Otis...
There was only one moment when she had a big spook when we were bushwhacking a trail...we were sort of in the back and the three horses in front of us were going in separate directions.  I was deciding which area would be easiest for us and in that split second she got nervous.  I almost think she felt like everyone was leaving her, even though they were only feet away from us.  It was sort of tight quarters with the bushes around us and she jumped up.  It was sort of like a shy in place.  She was a good girl though.  I steadied her and kept her going forward.  As soon as she realized everything was OK, she was back to her sensible self.  I was pleased to see that even though she startled herself, she was able to come right back to a good place mentally.  Sometimes horses can get spooked or upset by something and they can't come back down.  But she was so good!  And there was one spot when something (we think a deer?) jumped out of a bog out to our right, but other than the normal quick "What-was-that?" shudder, she was fine.

I will say that Reva was a tired pony!  We were out for 2 hours, all at a walk, but you could tell she slept well that night.  She woke up with shavings all over her head, an indication that she really stretched out in her stall!  LOL!  

A big thank you to Tania, her dad Craig, and her stepmother Angie.  They were a lot of fun to ride with and helped give Reva a great first introduction to trail riding!  Hopefully we will get to do it again this summer!  :-D

Monday, June 6, 2011

Reva's Second Show! Hollis Benefit - May 22, 2011

Whew!  Funny how fast blogging time goes out the window when life is busy!  Sorry for the hiatus, dear readers!

Reva was a star at her second show of the year.  We went to a benefit show at the Hollis Equestrian Park, put on by the Maine Horse Association for the benefit of the park!  

We did four in-hand classes and three riding classes.  Reva was very good and I was pleased with her attitude.  She is super sensible and very easy!  She did come off the trailer a little more "up" than I wanted, but a quick walk around the grounds proved to be enough to settle her down.  Once we began showing in-hand, she was totally fine.  I think it works out well to do the in hand classes with her, just to get her in the ring before I actually ride.  I am not a huge fan of in hand, but whatever works!  :-)

1st Standardbred In Hand
1st Hunter Type Horse In Hand
1st Trail
1st Adult WT Equitation
2nd Adult WT Pleasure
3rd English Horse In Hand
3rd Adult Showmanship  

Katie, a fellow STB friend, came along in the morning to take photos of us.  She is a wonderful photographer.  I am lucky to have such talented friends!  :-)

And there was a show photographer as well.....we are number 214 on her site!