So, second attempt at BD today. Thankfully the good people at Bluegate are extremely welcoming and friendly, and don’t look down on us for turning up in hi-viz with Claire on the bike What a beautiful morning for a hack as well! We were a bit more organised this time, so on arrival I hopped off, gave Saf 10 minutes or so munching the grass then jumped back on and headed to the warm-up. Despite discussing with Phil ( Upperlochton Fergus – The Hot Blooded Highland ) a warm-up strategy previously, I was unsure of what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Saf was soooo much calmer than last time in the warm-up, it was like she went into the indoor and thought, ah yep, I’ve been here before. She did start to feel tenser the longer we were in there, which concerned me, but thankfully Phil turned up at that point and gave me a much needed pep talk. After a bit of attention-focusing work, we headed to the short arena to do the test.
What I wanted this time, was to remember my breathing (I seem to hold my breath and go blue from terror and concentration), and to have Saf more attentive and less looky. On both these counts it was pretty successful Saf was still tense, but less gawping around and I was conscious that I took at least two or three breaths in those 4 1/2 minutes! Certainly the trot work felt reasonable, I was concentrating on my corners and getting on correct bend. I was also pleased with my first trot-walk-trot, which felt lovely and the trot circles felt as good as can be expected, similar to what they feel like at home. First canter trans was better than last time, but she got very strong and unbalanced, but until we can crack this at home, I’m not going to lose any sleep over a dodgy canter in a competition environment. Free walk, again I feel was better than last time in that there was more stretching and less gawping. The the second canter, in which I can’t work out what happened but Saf sneezed a few times, then tried tossing her head violently, so either she had a fly in her nose, or she had a strop at me, I’m not sure. It felt very bad at the time, but didn’t look half as horrendous on the vid. This put me off somewhat, so I messed up the final halt (again!)
All in all I was pretty pleased, it’s all experience miles under our belt, and we both had a good time. Saf thoroughly recommends the grass at Bluegate! I have learned this time to not dwell on a mistake, but to put it behind you and focus on the next movement. The amount of times I have heard this being said, but it wasn’t until it happened that I realise how easily it can put me off. Bizarrely, we ended up with 55.2% which is identical to the previous score (same judge).
I’m tempted to film an entry for a Dressage Anywhere prelim in June, as well as a repeat visit to Bluegate, purely to see how our marks compare when she’s chilled out working at home