Journey to Our First Big Dressage Show (on a Rainy Saturday)

It was a warm and sunny day in 2012 at the NEDA (New England Dressage Association) Spring Show and I was spectating, admiring all the beautiful horses and riders. My Connemara/Thoroughbred mare Luna and I had never competed at such a busy show, but I wanted us to work towards a big goal for 2013. I decided that day we would aim to compete at the next NEDA Spring Dressage Show (held annually in Marshfield, MA).

Fast-forward one year, and the weather forecast was not looking quite as promising, but since we were already registered and ready, there was no turning back! Friday was actually a beautiful day, so I took advantage of the warm temperatures and gave Luna a bath. Despite the fact that she rolled almost immediately afterwards, SmartWorks Compete Clean Shampoo & Conditioner left her looking soft and shiny and ready for her big day. My barn owner and I also decided to take the horses over to school at the show grounds Friday, since her horse is only five years old and Luna is prone to being a little nervous at shows. They both behaved beautifully and we were feeling much more confident about the show afterwards.

Saturday morning was an early and cloudy start, as I was showing at 8:55 AM. Luna settled in quickly and went back to her favorite activity (eating from her SmartPak Small Hole Hay Net) while we unpacked and got dressed.

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Next, we got limbered up with some pre-ride carrot stretches. Luna loves these and will practically do them herself! Just like a human athlete, stretching and warm-up is so important to achieving maximum performance. Luna is turning 15 this year so anything I can do to help keep her feeling her best is an important part of my routine.

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Before I knew it, it was time to head up to the ring for my first test! Although the warm-up was hectic, Luna was a star and felt great. We were fortunate enough to have several SmartPakers join us for moral support, a cheering section, and to make sure we looked our best before entering the ring. Here are our friends Annie and Emily, giving Luna and I a pep talk just before our first test.

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Before I knew it, it was time to head up to the ring for my first test! Although the warm-up was hectic, Luna was a star and felt great. We were fortunate enough to have several SmartPakers join us for moral support, a cheering section, and to make sure we looked our best before entering the ring. Here are our friends Annie and Emily, giving Luna and I a pep talk just before our first test.

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Of course, the most important part of horse showing is keeping your sense of humor! Here I am laughing at her antics in the ring, and feeling proud of our accomplishments.

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And I couldn’t miss an opportunity for some shots of us all cleaned up! Luna’s new Nantucket Swarovski Crystal Browbands by SmartPak matched my ELT Dresage Coat perfectly.

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After a long day, it was time for some well-deserved relaxing. Luna and I spent the afternoon watching my barn manager and others ride. Luna really enjoyed spectating!

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Luna wrapped up her day with some last minute grazing before we headed home. This show was such a success we are planning to attend our next show soon! I know I’m very lucky to have such a wonderful partner and am glad we got to this point together.

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Jen and Tally
Apparently I've been obsessed with horses since I was born, and I used to beg for pony rides on a regular basis. I started showing in 4-H, progressed to equitation and jumpers in high school and rode on the IHSA team in college where I also discovered the joys...

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