Chasing the NAYC Dream, Presented by Dressage Today

Thank you Dressage Today for allowing me to share my experiences and help other youth riders reach their NAYC goals! You can find this wonderful article published here.

So, you’re hoping to compete in the Adequan®/FEI North  American Youth Championships (NAYC) presented by Gotham North? Congratulations! The NAYC, formerly known as the North American Junior/Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC), is a goal that hundreds of young equestrians pursue every year. 

Continue reading “Chasing the NAYC Dream, Presented by Dressage Today”

Bear Spot Farm: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good: On August 1st, we trailered all the way down to Concord, Massachusetts, to compete at the Bear Spot Farm dressage show. Taking DeJure, we braided up and headed for their gorgeous indoor/warmup. We had a simple warmup, with a small scare of lameness that went away as we went along, then climbed the trail up to the outdoor’s plateau. In the said ring, DJ and I completed our very first Second Level test!!!! We were judged by ‘r’-level judge Merrilyn Griffin, and achieved a score of 67.727%, placing us 3rd.

The Bad: Unfortunately, DJ came out of her stall lame later that night, and we decided to scratch the second day. She seemed pleased with herself, however, that she got to show off at least a little bit of more fancy work; no more of this silly First Level!

The Ugly: On Monday, we trailered Atara down to ride in the Gary Rockwell clinic. We had been given the opportunity to ride for him in December of 2014 (see older post here), but had to cancel due to lameness. So we decided to bring the redhead instead.

I would like to say that it all went very well, that Atara was amazing, that I learned so much in my ride, and that everyone had a fantastic time. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Even though it could have been worse (much worse), I did not feel that t was terribly productive. It was 100 degrees with no wind, high humidity, after a long show and week, and I was on the red rocket (I say with love). We did not have enough time in our warm up, and I think that we focused on the opposite of what I think would have been a better idea. Instead of working on lateral work and canter transitions, I would have preferred to have gotten a warmed up and connected trot, and then went on to work. With Atara, I have found that if you try to work on more complicated exercises before getting an established regularity and relaxation in the walk and trot, it only becomes worse, and once she “leaves the building”, it is near impossible to fix it.

However, over these two short years, I have become very comfortable with the idea that not all experiences have to be good for you to learn a lot. I can take out just as much (and often more) of a “bad” experience than a “good” one. In good experience, everything  goes according to plan. It’s when things don’t go according to plan when you can learn to plan and (mentally and physically) prepare for hardships; this is what you carry with you for the long run.

Breaking Out of The Shell @ NEDA Spring

Last night, my dad and I drove all the way down to Marshfield, Mass.; the NEDA Spring show grounds, where I volunteered as ring steward for the day, and then attended the banquet that night.

When I volunteered as ring steward, I had done it before…. at a local schooling show. It didn’t click the duties that I would have until I received the email asking me to be one. Enclosed were two documents, one seven pages, the other 24. They contained the rules and regulations of USDF, what I would have to do, and what was expected of me and the competitors. let’s just say it was a bit stressful. However, once I got down to the grounds, I was handed by (very stylish) vest, radio, list of competitors, rubber gloves, tissues, etc., I realized that I had done this many times before, just from a different perspective. Except in this perspective, I got to meet a ton of interesting people, along with beautiful, sometimes seeming slightly psychotic, horses. All in all, I am very glad that I stuck it out (even with my red face and arms!).

I am known amongst my family, friends, and fellow barn rats as very shy and a bit awkward around new people. An analogy that I made for my dad was this: chicks, in the shell, are born with a hard “nib”? on the tips of their beaks, which helps them break out of the shell. Once they come out of their shell, it falls off, leaving their slightly soft beak. We decided that I was born without my nib. But, today, I broke out of my shell! At least, a little bit; I cracked the shell. Not only did I track people down from the  (abnormally large) warm up ring, but I dealt with frustrated trainers and coaches, I walked right up to Jane Carol (my favorite clinician ever!) and had a lovely chat, and I ACTUALLY DANCED at the banquet!

Yes, you read that right. I danced.

Granted, I was just copying the people around me, but that’s all that dancing is, isn’t it? Copying the better people. I met a ton more (really cool) people doing so, including the president of NEDA. We (me, my dad, and Krisy (also from Vienna)) talked for a pretty long while, about all sorts of things.

In conclusion, I am very, very glad that we went down to Marshfield. I finally got to see the grounds, I met a ton of interesting people, saw some beautiful (and not-so beautiful) horses, and had fun!

(Pictures will be coming up of this event, including pictures of my new ribbon!)

Out with the Old, In with the New

We headed in with no expectations. We crossed our fingers for a fun weekend, trying something new. Hopefully our favorite show grounds will continue to bring us good fortune…..

GMHA Fall, of course!

The Green Mountain Horse Association showgrounds never cease to amaze me, just in the drive down I feel we’re too near the end. The amazing mountains, winding rivers, and waving trees always welcome, but October brought an all new experience, with golden yellows, oranges, and reds everywhere! The sound of hoofs through leaves is simply magical, and it was a privilege just to be there.

On with the riding. We signed up for our first level tests (which we had been aiming for since the end of July), 1st 1 and 1st 3.

Even though I had a test error in BOTH tests (????), we managed a 72.931%!!!! I was so incredibly proud of the princess for our highest score yet!

On Sunday, we had quite the ride (a video available on the ‘Video” page), where I lost not one, but BOTH stirrups during the canter work. This continued for about 5 or 6 movements until I went off course; I didn’t want to mess up my ride attempting to regain my stirrups! Even though I had the error and preformed stirrup-less, we managed a 67.258%, winning the class (which they did not split between AA, Open and Jr/YR’s!)

One final moment of boasting… We also received High Point of both days, and High Point of the show!!! I suppose First Level is our level!

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NEDA Fall/ Region 8 Championships


I had such a great time at this show, even though it was definitely the most emotionally and physically challenging one yet. Despite all of this, I learned so very much! It was also a relief to FINALLY say “goodbye” to the dreaded Training Level!

To sum up the weekend, we had some lameness issues again, but we figured out the problem, which was also most likely causing the lameness throughout the month. Poor girl!

We scratched our First Level ride on Friday…
We leaped out of the ring on Saturday…
And we got seventh for the championships on Sunday, with a test error.

After multiple big sighs from everyone involved, DJ and I got the chance to bond and deal with difficult, stressful situations, which will definitely help us in the long run.

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On Our Way! (to NEDA Fall!)

Hello again! Today we are leaving for the NEDA Fall Festival and the Region 8 Championships, held at HITS on the Hudson in New York. Here is a peek at DJ and my schedule for the weekend:

Wednesday: Arrive 1-2:00,  Set up stalls & unpack trailer,  Schooling ride

Thursday:   Schooling Ride

Friday:        Warm-up,  Ride 1,1: our first First Level test!!

Saturday:    Warm-up,  “Practice test” Tr.3

Sunday:      Warm-up,  Tr.3 Championships!!,  Pack up trailer and head home!!

Despite my oncoming cold, I have high hopes for this weekend! I will be posting our scores, pictures, and hopefully a couple videos on Monday night!

Wish us luck, and I hope to see you there!

Centerline @ HITS

Last night we got home from New York. Unfortunately, DJ came up lame on Thursday afternoon, so we had to scratch all of our classes, including our first First Level test 😦 . But, despite the unfortunates, it was a very cool weekend. We got to watch several tests from my class, the other people from our barn, and a whole lot of upper-level and FEI tests! The Grand Prix Freestyles during dinner at ringside on Saturday night was definitely the highlight for me!!

We are hoping that the lameness is caused by an abscess or a bruise on her hoof, so we should be able to still go to NEDA Fall!! Watch out competitors!!!

Centerline Pic 3 

All credits of this photo belongs to