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Fall League Round Up, with the Dirty Dancers team, by Kim Ashbach

"The art of the rider is to cajole his benign partner into harmoniously shared action. The visual consequences include immense beauty the likes of which one can never notice in a human unless he is enthroned on a horse." ~Charles de Kunffy, Journal of Equitation and Culture, Vol 12

To that end, we summoned our powers, Lucy and I to compete this fall in an online dressage league at the cajoling of my friend Ashlene Ross, who of course I met through the love of the horse.

Our team of mighty warriors across continents supported and cheered one another, rode steadfastly through job deadlines, makeshift arena changes, changing weather and video glitches to complete a fall league of six shows running every other week.

Ashlene completed her tour top of her individual division on a wonderful, majestic "borrowed" horse, as her steed was out of commission, all the while keeping scores up over 70. She commuted across the miles to get it done.

Casey wrapped it up in the bareback division, never in doubt as to her clench in that class and Nicola laid it down consistently week after week in her division, eking out papal dispensation to submit on extension with great scores.

Aptly named the "Dirty Dancers" working in glorious rhythm with our horses we finished the fall league as the second place team in very fine competition, besting the third place team by a mere 0.13 points. It was so much fun to be part of this competition.

So thank you Anna Beattie for including me and running this marvellous league. I could never have imagined during this sorrowful summer as I said goodbye to my mare La Scala that a "little engine that could" (aka DEM Lucia) would blossom from a field in NC to become this wonderful new partner, who always lights up her training sessions with "the offer," with her generous soul, curious mind and giant . She completed the Newcomer series in style, and top of our team leader board, with final average score over 70 after a few short months in training.

I am so amazed and with such gratitude to have another special one, at this advancing age of mine. The collective marks of different judging always focused on the "harmony of the partnership." Which to me is always the goal. Not to win through clenched teeth, worried eyes and forced submission but to flow as one as I was "enthroned on the horse." She makes me a Queen. Pictures of her "festooned in ribbons" to follow. #ilovelucy

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