Monarch’s First Dressage Show

Monarch and his buddy Bubba, and me with Monarch's ribbon

Monarch and his buddy Bubba, and me with Monarch’s ribbon

I am writing for Monarch today, because he’s too tired (so he says) to write anything. He went to his very first schooling show today, and if he wasn’t enough of a DIVA before this, he has certainly become one now!

Although I don’t have any interest in getting competitive with either of my horses, I do want them to keep learning new things, and I want to keep learning, too! So when I heard there was going to be a schooling show over at Revelry Farm in Milton, I just knew I was going to have to take Monarch. He and I have started working on our dressage training, and I wanted to get some feedback so I’d know where we needed to focus our work.

I admit I was pretty nervous . . . last fall I took Fofo Andy to a show at Fox Hall, and unfortunately he pretty much had a meltdown. It was just too much stimulation, too soon, for him. But Monarch acted like he was at his hundredth show, rather than his first. Of course, it helped a lot that this show was much, much smaller than the one I took Andy to, but still I was impressed at how well Monarch behaved and how well he did in the dressage arena.

I showed him in Intro A and B, which are the very lowest levels you can test at. Both are just simple walk-trot tests, but they do require the horse to do 20-meter circles and to go down the centre line nice and straight. We don’t have our own dressage arena set up at the barn, so I was a little behind the curve — pardon the pun — in terms of the particulars of where to start and end circles. Still, we did really well, and Monarch even managed to take third place in Intro A! I was very, very proud of him, as much because of the way he handled himself as because he actually did well enough to win a ribbon.

We got tons of great feedback from our judge, Martha Hense, too. Most of it was aimed at me, not at Monarch, though! I have a lot to work on, primarily my balance and my core. Apparently, I’m off balance, and I am throwing my horse off balance, too. I also learned how important it is to actually be able to practice the test, to get the geometry of the circles correct, and to get those trots down the centre line nice and straight.

So Monarch and I are going to make a training plan together, and start working on it. My goal is to get him to Training Level, but I’m not going to hurry him. Slow and steady wins the ribbons, I say!


After the (Virtual) Fox!

Monarch writes . . .

I haz never met a fox. I haz heard of fox hunting, from talkin’ to da oddah hosses in da barn dat haz been fox hunting, and it sure sounded like fun — at least, da runnin’ and jumpin’ part did — but I wasn’t sure about da gettin’ up early in da mornin’ and da pack of houndz barkin’ partz. But Brewster, who fox hunted a lot, tol’ me dat the hosses haz it better den da humanz, cuz dey getz ta sleep in da trailer on da way home, and da humanz haz ta drive.

So I wuz pretty excited to hear dat mah Mom wuz gonna take me to a “Hunter Pace” cuz dat iz like goin’ on a fox hunt, only better cuz dere iz no noizy doggies and no fox and no humanz in red coatz tellin’ you where ya haz to go and how fast or slow ya haz to go to get where you’z goin’.

My Mom went on dis Hunter Pace last fall wid mah broddah Fofo Andy, and he wuz of course braggin’ ta me about it, so that’s another reason why I wuz glad to be the one to go dis time. Now I haz braggin’ rights! And just like him, I gotz me a ribbon — 5th place! — fer how good I did da course.

It wuz fun, but I haz ta say it would not have been as much fun widdout all da oddah hosses and peoplez from Bits n’ Bytes Farm, where me and mah broddah livez. I think dere wuz 10 hosses in all from B & B — some dat still livez dere, and oddahz dat Elizabeth and Barry haz sold to nice folkz like Dr. Laura (who can’t seem ta stop buyin’ dem OTTB’s!)

So, let’z see, dere was me, and Classic Casey (Barry rode him), With Wings (Elizabeth’s mount fer part of da day, but she ended up riding me at da end), and Deny and his mom Liz from B & B. Den we met up wid lotz of friendz, like Dr. Laura and Mary Catherine — who wuz riding her new OTTB, my gray buddy Young Joe, who is a really nice hoss and a good friend of mine from when he was at B & B. And of course Adrienne and Bo wuz dere, too. I might have forgot some, but anyway it wuz a fun day, even though I got a little over-excited at one point and mah Mom had to hand me over to Elizabeth for some straightenin’ out. I think it wuz dem gaited hosses dat really did it — dey freaky! All that weirdness wid dere hoofies, it ain’t natural, I tell ya. At one point, some of dem went past, and I wuz just shakin’ in mah hoss-shoes, I tell ya. I don’t know why, cuz our friend Bob brings his Tennessee walkin’ hosses over to da barn sometimes, and I’m okay wid dem, but somehow on dis hunter pace dey was jus’ freakin’ me out!

But I wuz able to complete da course, wid Elizabeth on board for the very last part, and like I said I even haz a ribbon now ta show fer my efforts. I’m already lookin’ forward to mah next hunter pace, in October, but fer now I’ll jus’ have to content mahself wid playin’ at fox huntin’ when me and mah Mom goez fer trail ridez in da woods.