Posted by: shannonc | July 7, 2009

Baby pony steps

 Event report:  GMHA Starter Trials – Elementary (2’3″) – July 5, 2009
Saturday thunderstorms made for a pile o wet pinnies

Saturday thunderstorms made for a pile o wet pinnies

I absolutely love going away to an event with friends and family!  It has such a fun, big production feel to it – even if it’s only Elementary :)  Saturday I packed up the (clean and braided!) pony, the cooler, cameras, fishook-damaged husband, clothes, tack and so on…kissed Blue goodbye, told him to be good…and headed up to VT.  Settled the pony into his stall, fed, walked courses, and was off to dinner at Bentley’s with Sarah, her husband, and their daughter.  Whee!

On our way out Stephen snapped some pix with his phone of Kisses and Buck begging for more treats…

treats 1

treats 2

Dinner conversation, of course, revolved around ponies and competition.  The boys requested a Rosetta stone for translation purposes.  Sarah and I were utterly bummed that we wouldn’t get to ride through GMHA’s fields and woods – they’d had so much rain they moved xc to the Upwey field with its all weather footing, so our xc became stadium over solid obstacles.  No galloping for us this weekend.  We were grateful they didn’t cancel the event, but felt it was likely to become a dressage competition.  Stadium looked flowy and inviting with a hunter course design and not too much in the way of decor, and xc was 8 fences of logs and coops with two killer turns.  We didn’t imagine the jumping phases were going to mix things up much – as we simultaneously worried that our *own* ponies wouldn’t jump.  Hee hee.

By the time we night-checked at the barn and opened the door to our room at the Shire, we were too tired to make use of our in-room Jacuzzi and went straight to sleep.  Actually, I went straight to sleep while Stephen battled the hiccups.

almost ready for D

The pinney just ruins the whole D look, doesn't it?

Morning dawned nice and clear.  At the hotel I realized I failed to pack myself a hairbrush (the pony had two…).  We got ready without further incident, mounted up at the barn and headed through the stream to D warmup.

Are there jumps over there?

Are there jumps over there?

Yay for water schooling!  And muddy white feet for D...

Yay for water schooling! And muddy white feet for D...

The pony didn’t surprise me in dressage.  He felt stuck in his back and was on his forehand.  As soon as I picked up the reins, he dove.  Adding back my leg resulted in scooting, tanking pony.  Sigh.  I couldn’t fix it, so my choices were either zoom flat, hold onto his face, or go along with his nose on his front feet.  I’ve been thinking this is a strength issue, but little by little it seems to be getting worse instead of better.  I had saddle fit checked and while the tree is right, it does rock some.  The fitter said she didn’t hate it, but it could cause soreness over time.  No time like the present.  He felt like he was going to swap behind twice in the right canter circle, but when he came down again the canter was still clean.  Good pony knows what a little extra inside leg means maybe!  In any case, we got around the test politely but out of balance.  It had some nice moments, but also some behind the vertical moments.  He was resistant into both canter transitions but the canter improved over the course of each circle and the down transitions were nice.  He was reasonably straight and listening, so we were pretty accurate.  We ended up with a 41.6 which put us in 7th of 17. 

Once again I followed the best test of the division, a 22.  There were then 5 scores in the 30s and the rest of us got whacked.  Looking more closely I realized I was following the same pair I admired at Hitching Post.  They are consistent!

Enough about dressage.  Lots of work to do there.  I think when we get it he’s going to be really nice.  I just don’t know how long that will take!

Best part of our D test was the dismount after.  I love this photo!

Best part of our D test was the dismount after. I love this photo!

The pony warmed up well to jump.  He was still determined to be heavy and I resolved to trot as much as I needed to rather than let him run and heave himself over.

Watching show jumping

Watching show jumping

And trot we did.  Cantered the first, trotted the second, nearly stopped at the third (a small yellow and white panel with cutouts).  I whomped him with my leg and he four-footed it over, popping me out of the tack.  I accidentally cracked him in the teeth and lost a stirrup, but he landed in a quite happy canter – as if to say, “just checking!”  We had an oxer coming up off the diagonal so I slowed him to a walk for a step or two, got my stirrup back, gave him a little rub on the neck and kept going.  He didn’t seem to hold it against me.  We had one other ugly fence – again the second on a line – I took way back and softened, he sped way up and we got there funny, but he seemed satisfied to pat the ground and land looking for the next.  In the end, it was clean but not smooth.  At least I stuck to my guns on not letting him run off. 

We watched Sarah’s round which was wonderful, and then headed straight down to xc.

The walk to phase 3

The walk to phase 3

The pony trotted right out of the box like a good boy.  He was not looky on our little course, but I wasn’t riding him like I trusted him, either.  The space didn’t really allow for us to get rolling, but it did have some nice mini versions of real event fences :)

Fences 1 and 2 going up, then 7 and 8 coming back

Fences 1 and 2 going up, then 7 and 8 coming back

Again we mostly trotted, but I was really pleased with his steerability, his confidence, and the look on his cute little face.  Also, it’s nice to know I have a pony who can jump and poop at the same time.

Kisses on xc

We moved up a couple (in the end, it was *mostly* a D competition, but not entirely) and finished 5th.  So, back to balance work.  He wants me to let go of his face, I want him to sit down.  When we both get what we want, this could be a whole lot of fun!



  1. He looks so eager and happy — what a beautiful job you’re doing with him! And what beautiful pictures. Thanks for taking us along on your weekend.

    Also — LOVE the new name! :D (I win yay! ;) )

  2. :)

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