First time competing in the long arena prelim…

A scorchio test on Saturday! This was my first go at a long arena test… and I LOVED it! Saf was mega tense and looky in the warm up (probably not helped by starting the Land Rover’s engine when she was standing right in front of it – my fault!)

Anyway, I wasn’t feeling too hopeful as we headed to the long arena. Despite the climbing temperatures Saf was wired and as we walked round the outside waiting for the bell she started neighing – something she hasn’t done in years. I was cross with her and told her so, and that seemed to do the trick. She knuckled down to work immediately.

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I was more than happy that I knew the test, the arena felt huge, but in a good way. There was so much space and I felt like I had time to think in between movements. I was concentrating on using the corners and not throwing the contact away. The canter work felt lovely, even more so after having a few nightmares working at home on the rock hard ground. I finished the first canter and realised I was thoroughly enjoying myself and had time to give Saf a scratch on the neck which she appreciated (I think she was pleased that I had taken control and supporting her rather than just blindly steering round!)

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After the first canter I felt her slow down as we usually canter at home then have a walk, I had to quickly say ‘we’re not done yet’ and she popped into canter nicely on the other rein. We had a similar conversation about the walk, when she wanted to stretch straight away (right in front of the judge) and I had to insist we waited until the marker.Β Oh, and a gorgeous square halt at the end.

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You may have gathered that I’m was over the moon with the whole thing. We didn’t have any incorrect bend issues (just need to continue working on more bend but absolutely no looking out) I assume she just didn’t like the high fences around the short arena and loved the extra space in this one. Canter was good (for her) and no breaks in it. I just felt like I had miles of room. Anyone considering making the jump to long arena prelims – do it! I won’t go back now πŸ˜€Β We scored a rather conservative 59.8% – would have liked 60+ but my enjoyment and pride in Saf today outweighs any disappointment in the score.

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7 thoughts on “First time competing in the long arena prelim…

    1. Dragon Dressage Post author

      Thanks! I try not to worry about the numbers, especially when competing against warmbloods. We’ve improved on last time and the test felt brilliant, so I’m so pleased πŸ™‚

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      1. Back Home in Bromont. com

        When I was young I used to compete in hunter events. My horse and I would get so nervous we BOTH would throw-up before going into the ring. So I became a photographer instead. πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  1. ahuckleberryfriend

    Well done t’was a lovely test. I’ve just started following you. How do you practice for a long arena test? Do you have access to one at home? I’m hoping to affiliate later this year or early next year if I can, and wondering how I’d manage to practice for long arena.

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    1. Dragon Dressage Post author

      Thanks, I really enjoyed myself (which is something!) and it did feel lovely. Thanks for following my blog! We don’t have an arena at the yard, so we measured out a 20m x 40m area on a flat bit of grass in our field and put the markers out. We hastily extended it so it was a 20m x 60m arena and got more markers, and I’m pleased we did. I would have struggled with the placement of the circles etc. if I didn’t have the right size area to ride in, it was a big help. I’m a preparation kind of person, so would have been rattled if I hadn’t ridden the test until I actually went in to do the test.

      We also hire a long arena (very occasionally – only twice this year), but it’s bigger than 20m x 60m so doesn’t really help with practicing shapes. Good luck with affiliating – it’s not as scary as you might think πŸ™‚

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