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Cally has settled in to her new home so wonderfully well, and has been so relaxed and happy while I’ve been hacking her around this week. I’ve been taking it easy, because her feet grow ridiculously fast in summer and her shoes were in a rather precarious state as we awaited our farrier appointment on Wednesday. She got new kicks and her feet are looking much better, but the big chunk of hoof that was sort of chipping off with the nails from the old shoe left her a little sore on that foot. We gave her a little bute and let her chill, while I got to hack one of the other horses (how awesome is it that there are other horses I can pop on for a ride or a lesson occasionally?).

The pro photos from our Dressage, By Chance? show went up early in the week, and I was so delighted to see that they’d gotten a great shot of us, even though it does look somewhat like we put on the wrong tack and wandered into a hack class! But so shiny, so fancy! I happily clicked the “buy digital copy” button without a second thought.

Dressage, By Chance? by InFocus Photography

Then I went out this morning, and found that Cally was feeling much better. It was our first lesson together with Holly (I’d previously done the sidesaddle lesson and one other one with her, but not on Cally), so it was a great getting to figure out how we went thing, and I was so tickled with how much Holly seems to like Cally. We did a bit of warmup making big loops around the ring, then on a few circle over a fan of trot poles, to get her stepping well and using herself, then a little bit of lengthening and shortening her canter step. Cally, of course, was a big fan of the lengthening portion of that exercise.

The jumping portion started off with a very straightforward trot into an itty bitty 12″ vertical and cantering an easy 5 down to another small 2′ vertical, just to get a feel of things.  Plus, the horse hadn’t jumped in two weeks, so we wanted to start off super simple.  And Cally being Cally, was totally ho-hum about the whole thing, though I could feel her perk up a bit on the landing of the second fence, like she realized we were finally getting to have some fun again.  We trotted through it once more with a slightly more awake pace, then Holly put the second fence up to small oxer, and we cantered in and made the proper 4 without batting an eye.  Cally felt happy, and Holly was ready to make her even happier by giving us more to do.  After the 4 stride, we then went around the end of the ring to a plank on the diagonal, and rolled back to stone wall, bending back to the oxer from the 4 stride.  Cally totally rose to the occasion, and I could feel her happiness at getting to jump something fun.  After we nailed that, Holly put the fences up a bit, to maybe 2’9, and we did a short, challenging little series of bending lines and loops, with Cally handling all of it well, with the exception of a poorly executed turn to the stone wall which was totally my bad.  We even ended with a rollback to a trot fence, then halt, and like a pro, Cally nailed it!  I think she has a lot of fun with things that are a little bit of a challenge and keep her thinking.

Obviously, we wanted to keep things a little small and simple, since it was our first lesson, and she’d been a little sore prior, but I think this should put us in a good place for our show at MSA tomorrow.  I’m being brave and doing the Ariat Adult Medal, which will be our first 3′ eq trip, and hopefully get some practice and maybe even qualifiers for the MidAtlantic Equitation Festival in November.  As of right now, we’re the only ones signed up for the Adult Ammy hunters, but hopefully there will be a few day-of entries and the division will run, so I can get qualified for the Stirrup Cup Awards, too.  Hopefully I’ll have some (nonembarassing) video of my Eq ride!

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