Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Amazing start to summer!

Ok so wow. What an incredible weekend.

Saturday was our photoshoot and BBQ. SO much fun. Despite the threat of thunderstorms and various other calamities, the day went brilliantly. Vic came out to video and photograph lessons and other activities - starting the day with Amy's dressage lesson (with the rather ominous rumble of thunder in the background) and ending with a large group gymnastic and xc school.

We got super lucky in that the only rain that hit (admittedly a rather torrential downpour) was during the one lunge-lesson of the day. So being indoors for that was really no problem :)

For the mounted entertainment we had:

Hailey on Lissy - who she rarely rides but was planning to take to Foxcroft CT the next day :)

Holly on Roxy - this pair is getting ready for Caledon HT

Kennedy on Apollo - Kennedy and Amy together are teaching this horse to LOVE jumping :)

Paula on Sienna - best ride they've had together yet!

Rebecca on Callie - a good friend who brought her horse to play :)

Rowan on Jack - also getting ready for their first show.

Shauna on Bella - it was Shauna's first time doing xc and she did an awesome job!

In stadium, the ring had just been redone (YEAH new footing!) so we didn't have a full course to work with so we played "really big jump day" instead. Doing two sets of gymnastics - one at pony stride and one at horse stride, the girls got to jump as the fences got gradually bigger until I felt it was time for either horse or rider to stop (always wanting to end on a *good* note). Well miss Bella wowed the audience as she jumped over her own height! Go superpony!

Sienna also took Paula to a new height record, easily loping over 3'8" :)

Then we went out on xc where everybody was amazing. ALL of the riders took the horses over fences they've never seen before successfully. Hailey and Shauna had decorated some of them earlier in the day, making for a much prettier course :) And of course playing in the river is *always* fun.

Jack in particular was overly enjoying it :) There's a great video of that - stay tuned :)

All this riding works up an appetite! So we followed it with an *amazing* bbq! Wow - so much yummy yummy food. N thanks tons to my wonderful parents who basically managed the whole thing for me :) Was a great social evening -- riders who aren't here as often got to meet some of the others and everybody seemed to have a really good time.

And as the food wound down, the Hailey and Rowan started braiding for the show on Sunday...

Which had us back at the barn in time for a 7:30am load. Reasonably civilized really :)

The girls were there and all ready on time and the horses loaded like the prostars they are and we were off :) Drive there was thankfully uneventful. I was hit with a huge wave of nostalgia pulling in since this was the barn I grew up at. Something right about the first show my schoolies went to being there.

Lissy and Jack unloaded and settled really well. We took our time getting tacked up and headed for the indoor ring to warmup. Lis had lots of time but I wanted them to keep each other company so she came and hung out :) Jack was a pro-star in the warmup. A little lazy perhaps (understandable cause of the ride on Sat :) but for a 5yo at his first ever show absolutely unbelievably calm. I was both amazed and thrilled.

So we went out for her to ride her test -- and do think he even pretended to be a green horse? Couldn't be bothered to shy at any of the letters or the judges truck. Didn't seem to mind the white fence of doom. No gremlins at X. Nothing. And Rowan, who's never ridden a dressage test in her life, did an amazing job. Corners were square, circles were round, transitions mostly happened where they were supposed to. All the things that seem *so* easy in theory that take most people a lifetime to master :) I was so incredibly proud of them both :)

So then Jack got a break while he came to keep Lissy company for her turn. Lissy was also being a superstar in warmup, but Hailey was just a little ummmm stressed about the whole dressage idea. As a result their test was of the interpretive variety -- including both a counter-canter and a 20m circle that were not technically required. And, as with most of this who go into dressage going "I wish this was over NOW", it was just a little bit on speed *g* BUT, Lissy did everything she was asked to do :) It was just that she was not asked to do exactly what the (very patient) judge was expecting. hahaha after exiting the ring, Hailey started breathing again and we did a quick tack change before heading over to stadium.

Now this being a schooling show, we had the unheard-of option to school the jump course before riding it. Sweet. Given that one of each pair was on their first time in the show ring, I felt this was probably a good thing to take advantage of. But both managed it brilliantly and we were in and out of the ring in no time. When the time came to go, both girls rode like pros. Jack unfortunately had a lazy rail, but other than that he jumped around calmly and confidently. You would've thought he'd been carting kids around for 15years, not his first time ever out! And Lissy and Hailey did the course like superstars. Clean, clear, and under control. Was really lovely to watch.

I was so proud of both girls. Really made my weekend :) Oh, and then the standings... Rowan and Jack WON the division! Woohoo!!! And by a large margin too. And Hailey and Lissy, even with their interpretive dressage, brought home 7th. Sweet!

So yeah, overall was basically an absolutely amazing weekend.


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