What a weekend! Sooke Saddle Club Dressage Show and Tell

Wow, where do I begin?

First off, I was feeling a bit anxious and anticipating my show on Sunday. My ride on Oats on Saturday was …not so good.

He remembered some of our lesson on Thurs, but apparently only remembered the part where he slams on the brakes and tries to turn left!

He pulled that little maneuver twice/three times in the outdoor ring, being a little shit. I calmly said, no, I don’t think so! And kept on my right rein. And kept on it. He threw a few hissy fits- no, I don’t wanna!! Tried going backwards, forwards, everywhere EXCEPT right.

I held the right rein open. Fine, go backwards, forwards, whatever…But I will NOT LET GO OF THE RIGHT REIN. Trust me on this one, Oats.

He went backwards, and then finally turned around and we continued right- into a spook. Clearly, he was looking for an excuse, a reason…I didn’t give him a10446096_10100249079286136_8186726276083283146_ony. I did get pretty annoyed, but I kept my temper in check. We eventually cruised over a few fences and he was very good for those (tiny cross rails).

I wasn’t really expecting greatness at the horse show, with his little temper tantrum on Saturday.

And, I was happily surprised!

Let’s set the scene for you: We literally have NOT done a single good dressage show this year. Each show, he has a hissy fit in the right-lead canter circle and throws a huge buck. Sometimes it gets me off, sometimes it doesn’t. But every time he throws one in.

This time?



I’m not sure what the secret is… We had a rough first test, the right-lead canter circle was UGLY. He broke, picked up the wrong lead, went too fast, fell in, etc etc etc…Yeah, hideous.

We talked it over with the judge- the friendly and hilarious Melanie Houston- and worked on some tricks/tips to finesse our ride.

We went back in, and rode the test and it was better- but not great. Melanie saw us, and suggested that we must work on strengthening the canter- not letting him fly into it, and pull me through the transition. It’s too WILD! She said.

True enough! So, our next test we rode and it got marginally better. But not good enough yet, said Melanie. So she set up an exercise where we trotted-cantered-trotted-cantered with only 2-3 strides in-between the transitions. It was hard! It was hot! We WORKED!

She said we need to get collected (sort of) before we transition to canter. Our transitions are too big, too much and out of control. I have to learn to prepare, and then ask, and then collect. I can’t just ‘give away’ my hands just because I am asking for canter, and because Oats WANTS TO GRAB the contact away from me…'”AKA give me my head..I must run!”

So, the trot-canter-trot-canter-trot-canter multiple transitions in a quicker space really set Oats on his backside, and I learned to not throw away my hands in an effort to get the transition.

Funny enough, this is pretty much exactly what I have been working on with Karen in my Tuesday lessons?


I came away with a really positive outlook. Yeah! A great day for us and a special thanks to my husband for coming even though it was really hot and nice out, and taking these lovely photos of us.

Throwback Thursday: Sooke Saddle Club Dressage

Yes, this was us at our very first dressage show last May! 

I guess this is a sort of throwback too? Funny how we had just started dressage last year. We did W/T HCBC tests and then in the fall moved up to Training…And then hit a big speedbump (bucking) in the spring, and kind of gave up dressage after that. (Or gave up dressage shows, not sure exactly where I am with that right now).


Then again, I am sensing a common theme here…Going well, don’t push any buttons, and then BLAM! Buttons get pushed! It gets ugly! Back outta there!


The learning process continues…

Had a nice, very FORWARD ride yesterday on Oats, and then hacked in the field to cool out. I thought he was being a bit of a drama queen tossing his head with the flies, until I hopped off to get the gate, and his poor eyes were covered in flies! Oops sorry Oats!