Poplar Place Farm Schooling H.T. 2.11.17 – Part 1

Since the agility trial the previous weekend, I have been battling an unrelenting sinus infection. Trouble breathing, sore throats, and a nasty hack are not what you really want going into a horse show, especially not when you’re going to be camping. But it’s what I had.

Partially due to being sick and partially due to the fact that one day shows are just a mess, nothing quite seemed to line up perfectly this weekend. I felt like I was left constantly rushing from one second to the other and not making good use of my time. For example, I could have been giving Gus a bath and actually making him look presentable (i.e. NOT like a wooly mammoth) but instead I wasted time walking XC without a map.

But I’ll share that story later.

Suffice it to say, when I tacked Gus up for dressage, the only thing I was happy with was my shiny new bridle. And if it weren’t for Hillary helping me out, I highly doubt I would have made it into the ring at all.

But thankfully I did. And I even managed to remember my dressage test which I had only rememorized earlier that morning.


I was not in the best state of mind going into the warm up. I was running late, which always makes me cranky, and just not feeling the whole day. This will be a recurring theme for this show. New Trainer put me to work trying to control where Gus’ rib cage was at all times but in my head I was thinking “this is a lost cause today. Let me just ride my test and get this over with.”

Not the best attitude right?


I know, I’m miserable when I’m sick and horse show stress was not helpful.


However, thanks to having that warm up and these many months of consistent lessons with New Trainer, Gus and I marched down that center line and laid down the best test we’ve ever had. The connection was steadier than it has ever been, our canter transitions were lovely, and, even though I was unbalanced through the final turn and off the centerline, Gus still gave me a nice square halt.


We earned a lot of 6.5s for this test and even a handful of 7s. Not a single score below 6 which was extremely pleased about. The judge did want more steady connection and better accuracy ¬†through my corners but hey, I’m sick, cut me some slack. That’s what I’m going to chalk it up to anyway.

I’m even happy with my posture which is a lot more up and lot less hunter lean these days. I still have to figure out how to stop slipping my reins though since I don’t even realize I’m doing it until someone yells at me or I see pictures. Jesh, it’s amazing I have any connection sometimes.


Our final score was a 34.75 which I thought was pretty fair. It put us in fourth place, right in the middle of the pack and that was good enough for me. I was thrilled with how Gus kept it together and how I managed to ride a fairly competent test even with being sick. Biggest accomplishment for me, though? I managed to remember to smile for almost the entirety of the test and didn’t ruin all of my photos.


Next up: Stadium!