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!