Last weekend we all packed up and headed east to my favorite show facility for our first show of the year, March Magic Dressage Show. We were all desperately hoping for a lovely spring weekend especially after the rough winter we have all endured. Well mother nature had much different plans on this front that we did but regardless of the nasty weather we still had a fantastic show.

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It seems like it has been so long since BLM’s in November so we were all super excited to get back together and back in the ring. It ended up being a huge show, much bigger than it has been in years past which is very exciting but on some levels was a bit intimidating since we are coming off such an inconsistent winter. We were super excited to know that we could come off a winter like the one we had and play with the big kids so to speak and in horrific conditions no less. It wasn’t bad on Friday but it was a monsoon all day on Saturday (seriously, sideways down pours all.day.long) and was about 35 degrees with 30+ mph winds on Sunday. Can you say hello crazy horses? Needless to say I was not at all complaining that Popstarr was inside both days or that Michelle was smart enough to bring an extra pair of muck boots so that my feet weren’t soaking wet all weekend.

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(Somewhere beneath all of that is a trainer trying to stay warm while coaching students)

I started working with Stacey Hastings of Statesville, NC a few weeks ago on Popstarr and it has been just incredible. First of all Stacey is truly one of the most (if not the most) beautiful riders you will ever see on the back of a horse. Truly incredible. So, who better than to try to emulate? I have been wanting to get over to work with her for a while now but with the winter and the trailer issues I just couldn’t make it happen. Well, I finally got all the pieces in order and am getting a schedule set up to work with her. I am so excited to watch Pop develop with her assistance. She is a fantastic instructor and I am having a blast working with her. I was able to get one lesson with her before the show and then a school with her on Friday in Williamston. I think it was without a doubt helpful because Pop was able to score almost 6 points higher both days than he was in the fall at PSG and finished 6th both days in HUGE HUGE HUGE open divisions with world class horses and riders. I was really happy with his test both days. Of course I think there is always room for improvement in them but I am feeling great about where he is compared with last fall and I feel like I have a much stronger horse underneath me now. I expected there to be some “I haven’t shown in 5 months crazies” in the ring but he was fantastic both days. I had just enough pizzazz from him but didn’t feel like I lost the rideability! YAY! I just love this horse and riding and showing him makes me feel like the luckiest girl alive. He truly is such an amazing guy.

HRH Popstarr competing at PSG in 2014

HRH Popstarr and Briana 

I also decided to throw Brandon on the trailer and take him with us. I wasn’t sure when I made this decision if I was insane or not. I figured it would either go rather well or rather bad. I’ve only had him back in work for about 6 weeks now and he is still just a baby. This was a big show with an electric atmosphere and there were mares coming into heat all over the place. I knew it was going to be a lot for him to handle and was curious to see how he managed it all. I could not have been more proud of him if I had to be. He had SO MANY cards stacked against him over the weekend between the weather and the atmosphere, just coming back into work, and us building our partnership etc. He stepped up better than I could have ever expected him to all things considered and was fantastic all weekend long. When I got on and said go to work he said “OK”. He went in the ring for the very first time ever at one of the biggest shows on the east coast at 8 am in 35 degree weather and howling winds and was a total gentleman the entire time and won his very first test ever. What a super star. I walked away feeling so incredibly excited about him for the future as a dressage horse and a stallion. I really felt after this weekend that he has the brain to manage being a stallion and competing. I am so incredibly excited about him and the more I ride him the more I love him. He has the cutest personality and is really a giant goofball. I really adore this gooberhead.

Brandon RF winning at Training Level

Brandon RF winning at Training Level

Now- for my incredible students….these guys sure know how to make me proud! 🙂

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(Briana and Josiah sporting their matching tiaras)

 
Josiah and Pyper showed at 1st level this weekend. The goal was for him to get his scores at 1st level for his bronze medal which meant he needed to break 60% in 2 out of 3 of his tests this weekend. This was Josiah’s 2nd show ever, first recognized show, first time at 1st level, and first show with Pyper….basically it was a weekend full of first for him. What a super star he is. Not only was he paramount in helping me all weekend and being my right hand man with Brandon and Pop but he was such a calm cool competitor all weekend and still managed to keep us all laughing all weekend long. He didn’t ride until 5:00 on Saturday evening and by the time he went in the ring it was POURING down rain, the ring was under water and it was just over all disgusting out there. He went in the ring in these conditions and he and Pyper both just buckled down, went to work and got the job done. He scored right at a 62% and easily got the first score he needed towards his bronze and a 3rd place finish. On Sunday he went in the ring and scored a 69% (HELLO), was FIRST place in the JR/YR division and in the Custom Saddlery Stakes he was 3rd out of over 30 horses including all the top pro’s on their incredible young horses. Wanna talk about making me proud? Good way to do it right there. Obviously that easily secured him the 2nd score he needed at first level for his bronze. Then he went in the ring and rode the harder of the 2 test he entered and scored a 64, improved on the stuff we wanted to see improved on from the other tests and finished 2nd. I’d say he has made a pretty solid impression on the dressage world. I’m telling you, look out for this guy- he is going places.

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(Josiah and Pyper winning their first level class)

Ellen came out with her new boy, Monty and really stepped up for a great weekend. They too are very very early on in their partnership and there has without a doubt been a learning curve transitioning from Boomer to Monty for all of us, myself included. Boomer and Monty could not be more opposite from each other so without a doubt Ellen is having to learn an entirely different ride. On top of this Monty has only ever been to one other show before and it was at a much more laid back facility so he had a lot to take in with the atmosphere. This included getting thrown into the coliseum (with 2 rings crammed side by side) because they had to move a ring in there due to the weather. We of course did not even school him in the coliseum because we felt he had enough to take in at his first show and it wasn’t critical because he wasn’t showing in there. Oops. He was fantastic all weekend and took in all the atmosphere and surroundings like a pro. We were so incredibly proud of him. Each test she did got better and better and better and by the final test of the weekend she was throwing down beautiful test in the freezing cold, wind and I swear it was snowing by this point too….that was not rain coming out of the sky! This little horse is going to be incredible as he gets more miles on him. Michelle and I were joking around over which one of us was going to show him FEI first. I totally call dibs on that one 😛

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(Ellen and Monty in the cold, wind and snow—I swear it was snowing too!)

Lysa and Bogie have made the official jump up to first level and did it beautifully too. I was so impressed to see how far Bogie has come over the winter. Lysa’s hard work was, as always, ever apparent. I schooled him some on Friday and was blown away by how much stronger and lighter he is in the bridle now than he was in the fall. He was wonderfully behaved all weekend too, leaving Hogie at home this weekend (Appreciate that Bogie!!!) totally stepping up and dealing with the conditions like a seasoned competitor. I can’t remember exactly what her scores and placings were over the weekend but I know she scored right at 67% in one of her test, 62% in another and was 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in 3 of her test. I can’t remember the other 2 scores and last placing. Overall though it was a successful weekend for them and the great start to the year!

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(Lysa and Bogie)

Jen and her ASB (woohoo) mare Party came out for their first recognized show too. Dressage is a brand new adventure for both Jen and Party but they are off to a fantastic start. You would never really know she has only been doing this for a couple of months now. She showed intro both days and not only did she win her classes both days but she was high score ASB of the entire show and walked away with a beautiful neck sash. She too handled the atmosphere like a seasoned pro even when she got switched into the coliseum that we didn’t school her in either.

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(Jen and Party making their dressage show debut!)

Congratulations to everyone. I could not be more proud of all of you and excited for our year together. You know you have the most amazing group of students/owners/clients/friends and really truly love what you are doing when even with the disgusting weather and everyone and everything being totally drenched from the rain (I still a week later have some stuff that hasn’t dried out yet haha) everyone had a huge smile on their face the entire time, we were laughing, joking and genuinely having a blast together as a group and with our horses. We all walked away feeling like it was a hugely successful weekend and a total blast which was not the sentiments of everyone there (some were just not having any part of the weather). Leave it to the village to not let a little nasty weather rain on our parade! 😀 Love you all, can’t wait to do it again next month!!! <3Bri

Briana and HRH Popstarr showing PSG:

Josiah and Pyper riding 1st Level Test 2: