Good grief I love this filly. She is just SO. GOOD. so good! the best!
This was a pretty long weekend of running around and squeezing in some riding. Saturday morning I FINALLY made it to Laurel with Amy to learn the ropes/geography and get to know some of the trainers there. It’s a very different atmosphere than Charles Town is – it seems much quieter, with less frenetic activity (although I think they get most everything done much earlier as they race in the afternoons rather than in the evening). There’s a lot more green on the backside, and there are thick dirt paths for the horses to walk on to and from the track, rather than the concrete of Charles Town. There are round pens here and there, with wood chips and dirt footing, for horses to get a little outside time. The atmosphere is a little less gritty, yet at the same time, there’s something friendly and relaxed at Charles Town that hasn’t quite developed at Laurel yet – probably because we aren’t a “fixture” yet. All that said – WOW there are some beautiful horses at Laurel! Everywhere you look!
After Laurel I had to run back home and help with food, etc, at the Fix-A-Test. Thankfully the lunch break was long, so I got a chance to ride Cadence in the little dressage ring that had been set up and try to practice a few elements of our test. I chose an Intro Level test because, frankly, we’re newbies. She is just a widdle baby horse after all! At this level, most of what they are looking for is super-basic: that you go straight, and are accurate, and the horse is pleasant, forward, and accepts contact.
On Sunday, after setting up some breakfast and cookies (which I’d mixed up rather crazily the night before), it was time to actually try it in front of a real live judge. In watching the video I’m all super harsh about myself and my hands, and a few moments where I got a little inelastic and she got resistant, but all in all it went quite well. Our first test was OK, but I missed the left lead canter, and spent that whole circle trying to fix it which had the domino effect of wreaking havoc on the trot to walk to free walk transitions that followed. After talking to the judge about it and what to think about, our next one was much better (note: I watched this with no sound – so not sure how loud it is, but that sound is the insane downpour we were subjected to all day Sunday):
(direct link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JCLmsVlOw8)
I like how her tail sorta flops to each side with each step. heh.
Anyhow, when we were done and started talking to the judge again, I started getting quite goopy, as all the comments were overwhelmingly positive. “Horses like this DO NOT come around very often,” were the first words out of her mouth. I know. She is magic and special in every way! She went on to say that if she was still riding, this is exactly the kind of horse she would look for. She complimented her stride and way of going, her obvious good mind, her overall build, and general loveliness. Which of course made me all teary, because it’s nice to hear things like that from an actual professional.
Such a good girl. 🙂
And since we had the “non-pro” high score of the day, she won me a bottle of bubbly to boot. 🙂