Monday, 24 May 2021

First Dressage Test (Just At Home)

First of all, as you may have noticed, this is actually my 4th post in the last week or so, almost like a roll! I really want to thank Jen at CobJockey because this post of hers really came at a great time. I have lots of stories and media of Naia and I have wanted to share them and wanted to get back into the blog game, but there is still so much to catch up on that I was struggling on where to start and the mental energy to catalogue it all. Jen's post let me give myself permission to start with just short posts with fun media. I still plan to take the time to write out more detailed training summaries of what we did to get from our starting point (4 year old mare that had lots of handling and good experiences with humans, but not a lot of formal training, and unstarted under saddle), to now. But those posts do take time and energy and if I wait to get those completed before posting again I probably wouldn't post again because time keeps going forward so there would just keep being more to add, and I would never catch up. Instead I am going to try and blog each week about what we are doing these days, and I will do throw back posts when I have time to fill in all the missing time in this blog. 

This was less than half the total snow we got at the end of last week, it just kept falling

So, without further ado, back to this weekend. The weather was absolutely crap this May Long Weekend (snow plus rain), but I logged a lot of hours at the barn and had a really good ride each day. 

Muddy paddock after the snow melted and before the rain

Since I was supposed to hold a dressage show this weekend but had to cancel due to COVID, my barn decided that we would set up the dressage court in the indoor arena instead so people could practice test riding on their own. On Saturday (Ride #20) I ran through my first ever dressage test with Naia! We ran through Intro A, which is a very very basic test, but it still counts! For a baby horse I was pretty impressed that I was able to do all the figures and correct gaits with Naia and it felt pretty cool to ride down centerline and salute, even with no judge in sight! 

Parking in the dressage court before our ride

On Saturday she also got some practice at parking at the side of the ring while other riders took their turn to practice their tests. This is such a good skill for actual showing so it was cool to practice it at our home arena. We practice "park" quite a bit in our ground work, since she needs it sometimes to chill out her busy brain, but we haven't done enough of it under saddle so I was pleasantly surprised at how willing she was to stand with a draped rein while other horses worked. 

Sunday. This also is the most social life I have had in months! 

On Sunday we again ran through Intro A but first, before taking turns riding tests, we had to contend with a busy warmup-esque ring. I generally ride late at night to avoid people due to COVID times, but a bunch of us ended up coming out to ride at the same time on Sunday afternoon. There were 5 or 6 horses in the arena at one point which is more people than I have ever ridden Naia with at the same time. Our barn doesn't have a lot of boarders these days so this is the busiest it will likely ever be. In addition to the busy arena, there was a downpour of rain pounding on the arena roof, and some kids running around the upstairs short-term rental apartment beside the arena, so all in all it was a fair bit of commotion. Naia was surprisingly chill and we were able to steer, change speed, and park as needed. In hindsight she was maybe a little too unreactive, as at one point she decided she was just done trotting and stopped dead, requiring me pony kicking her to get in motion again, but I was still super impressed with her. 

This is what counts as a very busy arena around here!


  1. What a great experience for her! I'd love to be able to do that at my own barn. And I'm so glad my post helped, it's nice to see you blogging again!

    1. Thanks! I'm pleasantly surprised that more and more people at my barn are getting into dressage! For years and years I was the only dressage rider at a reining barn, or a barrel racing barn, or a hunter-jumper barn

  2. What a beautiful ring. I think it's great that you were able to set up a dressage ring.

    1. The local dressage club I am a part of owns two dressage fences, they have trusted me to be the caretaker of one of them (so we don't need to trailer it across the province every time I organize a show), but it has the nice perk of being able to use it at other times! This was just a short court, but my barn owner agreed to mow a section of grass so we can set up the full 20x60m fence and make a grass ring for the summer (none of the arenas are long enough)

  3. Good job, Naia! Sweet youngsters are just the best <3