Monday 7 August 2017

Canada Cup Dressage: Photos and Final Thoughts

As a short recap, I:

-Survived being potential bear food
-Lived like a homeless person successfully
-Competed at a 'real' dressage show and survived
-Met all sorts of lovely people
-Nearly collided with an Olympian and her horse on my pony.
-Nailed the braids by day 3
-Did not panic when things got weird
-Took pony swimming!
-Even won ribbons and prizes!

Yep, posting this pic again. I'm still so excited about them!
Show photos! I tried to pick photos that show how things "felt". There were better moments and many worse ones too, that these, but these felt the most representative of the weekend :)

Final Thoughts:

-Schooling show (and eventing dressage) marks. Is it just me, or are they wildly different than 'real' shows?  I get that they're trying to be encouraging and eventing dressage is I guess it's own thing,  but myself, I'd prefer consistency between it all. My tests this weekend felt fairly marked, and I was happy with them. But, I'd be happier if I had a benchmark from last year to compare them to. I don't, because honestly, I feel like the previous shows we've done to date were comparatively way generous in their scoring.
This looks how the canter work generally felt. Midge was a bit tight in her top line,  and I was working really (too) hard.

-While I can't afford (and don't actually wish to) embrace the entire dressage queen lifestyle - dressage is my happy place. I love eventing, and won't be giving up my jumping lessons any day soon,  but watching even the intermediate eventing levels I'm like "Wow, cool, but no thanks...I'm good". Upper levels? I can't even anymore, just in case someone dies. Upper level dressage? I'm like "PLEASE, this is so cool, TEACH ME NOW I WANT TO LEARN HOW TO TRAIN MY HORSE THOSE THINGS IMMEDIATELY thank you!"

-Midge was a superstar, but IDK, I don't think this is her happy place. Just because she could theoretically do this at higher levels, doesn't mean she wants to, or even should. Our scores got progressively lower as the weekend went on, and she was actually a bit sticky at the ring gate, which has never happened before. You should have seen her perk up when I took her out on the XC field after and the look of complete bliss when the kids at the swimming spot were loving on her. Not so in our tests, she just sort of went out and did the thing, businesslike and sort of 'meh'. This is going to be a long thought process, and an emotional one too. My heart wants to do this thing with Midge as far as we can take it...but perhaps that's selfish of me. Looking around this past weekend, the 'real' dressage horses out there weren't just talented, they LOVED their jobs, and many were excited to show off on the same level the event horses get out on XC.
"Where are the jumps?!"
"OK fine, we dressage now."

-Whatever the future holds, I'm proud of the pony for all she did this weekend. I feel very lucky to have a pony I can take to all these shows and events, allowing me to participate in those worlds. Most of all though, I appreciate that she's sensible and kind and such a good partner in crime. I think the horse or pony that can go out there and do a little bit of everything, maybe not always well, but well enough to have fun with, is a highly underrated thing. This one's worth her weight in gold, as far as I'm concerned.

Please Midge, would it kill you to stop bracing? And yet, she's so cute :)



  1. You guys look great and she's so SHINY!! As I mentioned in my previous post I'd give a lot for a pony that's as sensible as Midge and I'm hoping that some day Katai is quiet enough for me to just have fun and enjoy showing and taking her on adventures.

    1. Vetrolin products for the shine win! I love how she just goes and settles in. Katai will totally get there - my coach has the most neurotic horse I've ever met (like the first year she was dangerous to be around - compulsively kicking out every few seconds and flinging herself to the ground in new places) and she's been a star at shows this year after just getting out and doing the thing repeatedly.

  2. oooh i love these pictures!! she definitely looks worlds more forward and engaged!! congrats again on it being such a positive experience! and even if it isn't necessarily what B wants to do full time with her life, it must be nice knowing you can go in there and make such good work of it!

    1. Worlds more forward, but there was a bit of pony revolt over the whole thing and we had to sacrifice the contact intermittently so we could still go forward, lol. Luckily training level is mostly just happy with all the forwards.

  3. You guys look amazing! Pony looks super forward too!! I am oohing over them dapples. Well done both of you.

    1. So was so shiny! Forward, but we regressed a year to the argument about being both forward and in my hand, so as you can see she's actually a bit behind the leg and above the bit in most of those pics - my compromise to avoid ponypocalypse mid test lol

  4. Omg, you guys look fantastic! And look at those fancy ribbons!

    1. Thank you! I've never won multiple ribbons before, so that was definitely exciting

  5. Great photos! I absolutely think that a sensible equine who can do a bit of everything is an awesome thing and Bridget seems to be that to a T! I don't know if open breed shows are a thing around your area, but if they are maybe you should give those a try, in one weekend you can do some low hunter rounds, low level dressage, flat pleasure classes, and I'm sure Midge would also be great at things like handy horse/trail or gymkhana classes. I find those shows really reward the sane all-around kind of horses. Plus entry fees are usually cheap and there is lots of satin to be had lol!

    P.S. Love her dapples!!

    1. We used to have open shows here, but sadly they've kind of fallen by the wayside. Agreed, I think we'd have so much fun at them - I loved the trail and pattern classes.

  6. adorable. I am just squeeing over her photos. LOVE HER. Great job!!

  7. Sometimes its hard to see what our horses want until we do a bunch of things, and even then the decision is never easy. I'm sure she will let you know how she feels with more shows. Shes so cute.