Review: Better Dressage Scores

A few friends and followers have asked about my experience with Better Dressage Scores and I’m happy to oblige! I found BDS through Riding Warehouse, I believe. A way to get feedback on a dressage test without having to find and go to a show!? Uh yes please.

As an eventer, it’s hard to find dressage shows that offer eventing dressage tests. And, as an eventer, the dressage is something I need the most judge’s feedback on! Cue BDS! I read through their website and figured out what I needed to do. With the help of my amazing friend Katie, we turned our barn’s 20×60 dressage court into a 20×40 short court – it was a little ghetto … but it worked. She helped me run through both Novice tests a couple times prior to filming for me. I put them on YouTube for an easy repository and simple sharing.

I then went back to the BDS site to pay my “show fees” for April’s show. As I went through the process, I saw a few great options – on top of only having a fee of $19/test, you could pay for them to send your ribbons (uh, obviously) and you can opt for additional feedback/coaching for $9. I went for both extra options and submitted my tests a couple days prior to April show’s closing date. Then, I only had to wait for a week and a half for my scores and comments to come back. I woke up today to my scores and comments in my inbox! The scores were more than fair and comments useful – this month’s tests were good enough for 3rd place each and 8 points toward year end awards! Placing is based on scores, not others in your same class. And there are Year End awards! But what I really valued was that extra $9 I paid for additional feedback/coaching from the judge. Aviva, this month’s judge, was extraordinarily helpful and kind enough to give me lots of really great ideas (in addition to some really nice compliments). I was able to immediately take this into my ride and felt an instant change – Firefly’s response made this all worth it. I will definitely be doing more tests with BDS in the future!

Here’s to #dressagenotstressage!

If you want to give it a try, here’s my link!

“Equestrian Thighs” and other body image ramblings

It’s time we talked about the elephant in the show ring.

It’s no secret we wear tight pants that can be rather, eh, unforgiving. (White pants!? Seriously!? Whose $@&%ing idea was this!?) t’s taken me a few years but I’ve come to terms with it – we, as equestrians, are athletes and have athletic bodies.  Any average adult woman who rides dressage, reining, eventing, or what-have-you even semi-competitively will not have skinny thighs (… I refuse to say “th!gh gap” … ).  We have horses – horses are a lot of WORK, both in and out of the saddle.  And I’m gonna guess that most of us don’t have hired help to these things for us … Plus, farm chores are a great workout. 😉  Those hay bales ain’t gonna lift themselves.  We call it “farm strong” – these arms move mats, lift feed bags, carry hay bales, shovel dirt & rock.

Where does this start?  For a lot of little girls, this starts a young age – with an insensitive remark from a trainer or an overheard comment.  This has to change from the start!  And this body shaming happens at both ends (thinner ladies and the curvy girls) – we all slay, stop hating on each other! We’re on the same team – let’s start acting like it.

Now, that being said, we should not be getting all of our “exercise” in the saddle.  A good rider is a strong rider – challenge your core with some planks and hike those hills for a cardio workout. We are only as good as we are fit!

So, fellow Adult Ammies – I challenge you.  Love yourself, appreciate your strength, and know that a strong, healthy body is a beautiful body.

“Do these girls make our butts look big?”

So next time you’re in a dressing room and the jeans don’t fit over your thighs, don’t get down on yourself – those thighs are fine-tuned machines made for riding!

2019 – Hopes and Dreams

So I wrote this like 3 weeks ago with the intent to add media … in an effort for this to get published while it’s still January, you don’t get any pictures … just words. #oops

After the sh!tshow that was my 2017 (Firefly’s bone chips and my broken 5th metatarsal), I’m pretty hesitant to set any kind of lofty goals.

2018 went pretty well. We ended the year solidly comfortable at Novice, which had been my only goal for the year – thanks in part to a cross country clinic that closed out the year.

But I’ve said it out loud a few times so far so I may as well put it here too.

My 2019 Goals:

  • Do a real 3 day – you know, the sort that actually lasts 3 days and you do each phase on a different day. We are fortunate to be near Woodside Horse Park so it’s basically home field. We can get there fairly often so it will feel familiar and maybe slightly less daunting (?). Novice feels pretty comfortable and should be quite normal by the time the May event rolls around. This one is in my sights and feels very achievable (knock on wood because I know what happened in 2017)
  • Run at least part of the Training course at the final Hunter Pace of the year (October). Again, this feels achievable since we’ve been playing with some training jumps. We’ll see how schooling goes and maybe give the whole course a go – anything can happen.

These two concrete goals are what are carrying me forward into this year. I know this comes with a lot of work on my end. I could definitely stand to be fitter so that will come with the territory. I can’t put any kind of label, number, size, etc on this or I just feel defeated and give up. So the goal is to just a nebulous “get fitter”. I know what it will take to get a jump start and am committed. Luckily, the Hubs is in the same mindset so we are going at it together. #accountabilitypartner

Any lofty aspirations for 2019? Tell me!

Want an accountability partner? Let’s do it!

BlogHop: Favorites of 2018

2018 has been a fun and busy year for us – filled with so many memorable moments. When I saw this post from Amanda over at The $900 Facebook Pony, I knew I had to do something similar.

Here are some of our favorites from 2018

Favorite Show Picture

I had to think pretty hard about what shows we did but this one is definitely the winner. Warm up for a schooling show with jump rounds and dressage tests. He was totally a rockstar. I love how balanced we are together.

Favorite Non-Show Picture

I love the composition of this one – the splash, reflection, the smiles. My non-horsey hubby took this one. He’s an excellent horse photographer. Thanks, love.

Favorite Thing You Bought

Easy one. I bought myself a new-to-me Custom Wolfgang Solo. LOVE. I don’t seem to have a picture of just my saddle so here’s a picture of my butt in it.

Favorite Moment in Horseback

The moment we finished our 2nd Novice course (with a few challenging jumps!) successfully. I freaking love this horse. I was so thrilled I could have cried.

Favorite Moment Out of the Saddle

We did a fair bit of horse camping this year. There were many hand walks between rides – Here is Firefly and his friend Atticus grazing on a walk at camp in the summer.

Favorite Between the Ears Shot

Sunset at said camp from atop my pony. Definitely the favorite.

Favorite Horse Ridden (etc) Aside from Yours

This little pocket rocket. #noscopenohope

Funniest Picture

His nose looks like a camel.

Favorite Fence (moment, etc) Conquered

Many fences could get this award this year. I’m going with the trakehener. I looked, he looked, we stopped. It took another couple of tries and over we went – with a little extra extraness, of course

Favorite Meme

No explanation required

Join in the fun – the only rule is that every category must have an accompanying picture!

Thanks to Nicole & Bow for getting me to do this.

Here are a few more if you care to peruse!

Centered in the Saddle

Equestrian at Hart