La Malinche (Ruby)

La Malinche, affectionately known as Ruby, is a bay 2011 Azteca (3/4 Andalusian, 1/4 Quarter Horse) mare. She was bred in California and came to live with me as a yearling. I’d always had mature adult horses (well, Topaz was 3 when I got her but she looked fully mature), and when she stepped off the trailer looking like a very hairy yak with her rear end a good four inches above her withers, DH looked at me and said “what on earth have you done?” Lucky for me, her transformation into a beautiful swan was quick, and she soon became one of his favorite horses.
Baby Ruby - 13 months old.
Grown-up Ruby - a beautiful swan!
I really enjoy that particular Andalusian/QH cross, and Ruby is no exception. She is incredibly athletic and intelligent, and her looks are just icing on the cake. She had extensive experience in hand before I started her under saddle training, attending many local fun shows for halter classes and then spending hours tied to my trailer. 
Midway through her three year old year, she was lightly backed and had a few rides over the summer. A few months later, my primary show horse came up lame, and so Ruby got my undivided attention. With only a few weeks of consistent work under saddle, she totally blew me away by putting in an absolutely stellar first dressage show -- netting scores of 63%, 67% and 69%, and the first of many blue ribbons.
Rocking centerline.
At her first clinic.
As a four year old, she continued to impress -- we went to almost every schooling show within a 120 mile radius of my house, showing heavily from March through November. Ruby took every new venue and experience in stride, eventually bringing home several year-end awards. She was Intro Level Champion for both our local GMO and the state show organization (MHSA), reserve state champion Intro percentage score, and her scores also helped me attain the distinction of being the 4th place adult amateur for the dressage section in the entire state.
Horse show swag.
I took a few years off from showing and mostly just played around with trail riding, but in late 2021 I resumed regular lessons and now we're focusing on dressage again. Ruby and I will be making our rated debut at 1st level in 2022, and I'm looking forward to getting outside of our comfort zone a little this year! She's also my go to trail horse, pops over the occasional jump, and enjoys all kind of shenanigans outside of the dressage sandbox.
The show where I was dubbed Dressage Barbie (previous name of the blog).
I think my favorite part about Ruby is that she is the first horse I have trained completely by myself. On one hand, any holes in her training are obviously my fault, but on the flip side -- all those great tests, nice scores, and lovely moments? Those are mine too. I am so appreciate of Ruby's tolerant attitude and willingness to put up with my shortcomings while still making progress. She is worth her weight in gold!

All of the photos in this post are old (probably circa 2016 and older lol) but feel free to browse recent posts to see her progress!