Well if I thought it was hot during my lesson on Saturday, we were in for a shock doing Prelim 7 on Sunday at Codham! Having given ourselves a bench mark last time, I was aiming for more relaxation and less tension from Saf, and for me to keep my hands softer. After a boiling hack there, Saf was on her best behaviour and stood happily tied to a tree eating her haynet. It was amazing for all of us to be ‘hands free’, without one of us having to hold onto her. Simple things! After a half hour rest we headed down to the warm up, which seemed less busy compared to last time.
Saf started out tense and looky, but we had a happy canter on each rein which seemed to get it out of her system. She then worked really rather well. Wanted to keep the warm up to a minimum due to the heat, and we were soon called.
I was so pleased with her, I remembered to relax my hips and kept my hands light rather than the usual ninja grip I develop when I feel like she’s going to run off during the test. She was understandably happier and aside from a bit of nose poking at times and ducking in on a few corners in canter I was really pleased. Came out with a grin which is always good 🙂 61% which I was happy with and felt about right from where I was sitting and particularly pleased since it’s only our second time at this venue.
… and the results are in! 64.35% so nothing world beating but a nice start. Had a go doing it sitting as I feel like I affect her balance when rising, but need to get her going more forwards. At least there wasn’t any hint of our old foe ‘incorrect bend’!
If I can get the gang together again before the end of the month I’ll have a go at Prelim 17 🙂
After a 2 month competition break, we dragged the bog pony from her mud pit, brushed her off, gave her a haircut and hacked to Bluegate. I think Saf might have forgotten all about being a dressage pony, and we’d also hardly done any hacking, so she was a bit surprised when we arrived. A lot of tension from both horse and rider, but with Claire’s brilliant help in the warm up, we managed to calm down. Even though I felt calm myself, when we got to the long arena for the test, the tension came back in Saf.
She managed to keep it under wraps, it felt the best in ages, plus it was my beloved Prelim 17 test! I was enjoying the feeling of having time to think, and was confident about the next movement so could actually plan ahead – a first for me! We seem to have well and truly slain our ‘incorrect bend gremlin’. I was really pleased with both trot circles, and even enjoyed the canters, actually managing a single half halt during the canter to slow Saf (it worked – just need to work a few more in now!) Loved the final centre line and halt (got a lovely 7 for that).
I did have a bit of a ninja grip on the reins, before the bell rang and asked for a trot transition and Saf decided to sod off at high speed, so wasn’t too keen on giving too much rein after that. Things to work on: longer rein for next time and remember my elbows!
Finished with 61.53%, really pleased with that, so nice to claw our way into the 60’s. We’re going verrry slowly but it’s so nice to see a bit of progress. We’re now more consistently getting 6.5’s for our trot work and 6’s for our canter work, as opposed to 5’s and 5.5’s previously. Canter feels a million times more controllable now. Not entirely sure whether we’ll do any more this year, it really depends on how the weather goes, but if it is our last one this year, a really nice test to finish on.
Had a mixed day on Tuesday, popped into the gym to sort out my membership with Andrew. After my lesson with Rui I’m determined to get fitter, been meaning to for ages but never got around to it. All keyed up to go to the gym after doing horses.
Then on to the yard to get the horses down for their annual jabs. I managed to get caught between Saf and Rosie when they were having an argument over breakfast and got kicked in the knee, which was a bit of a shock to say the least! Got the jabs done including trotting up both Rosie and Saf for the vet (Rosie has historic stifle problems and I just wanted the vets opinion on Saf – verdict: keep working her, there’s no soreness and work is the best thing for those older joints 🙂 ) Vet rather amused but sympathetic about my own extreme lameness and suggested euthanasia as there wasn’t anything he could do for me! 😉
Felt I’d earned a pub lunch after this trauma, then got my results back from this month’s Dressage Anywhere Prelim 17 (video below) 64.23%! Really pleased with this, was thinking about the 62% mark as we had much better inside bend than we’ve had at live competitions. Lots of 6.5’s for most of the work and 6’s for the canter. Looking forward to September’s comp which is Prelim 19.
Apologies for the late update, I’ve been away on holiday but back now. Managed to fit in a lesson with Rui on Sunday 2nd August for a bit of a change.I’m still suffering from chronic long-rein-itis, which we worked on, plus getting and maintaining correct bend, including down the long sides – something I’ve known I need to do for ages, but been unable to!
Rui prescribed 2 hours a day running for Saf’s unfit rider – wildly optimistic but I know I’ve needed to sort out my cardio fitness as I am pretty hopeless.
We’ve concluded that Rui himself doesn’t require sleep in order to function, preferring to spend the whole time working, riding or running!
Time for Saf to have a mid-season competition break. August is going to be a busy month, but no time for any competing what with holidays and yours truly’s 30th at the end of the month *gulp*.
So far, I think the regular competitions have been a really good thing for both of us. Last year when we were out just once a month, it felt like years between comps. In August we’re going to try to get lots of hacking done with Saf and Misty Moo, maybe some lessons with Saf and general schooling. Saf’s out in the long (over knee high) grass with her friends overnight, but she’s not going to get the chance to get fat!
I’m off to Majorca for a bit, but will be bringing as much of my equine non-fiction collection as my luggage allows! There’s always an opportunity for more learning, my books go everywhere with me.
Then we’ll be back to Bluegate for the first comp in September, hopefully fully refreshed!
First go at Prelim 15 on Saturday, can’t say I was too keen as between that and the other prelim on offer (can’t remember which one) P15 was the best of the two. Compared to P17 (last time) this seemed horrid! I’m still at the stage where I need time to think in between movements, and P17 allows this with changes of rein etc. P15 seemed to be one thing immediately after another with no thinking time.
Anyway, we started in the indoor warm-up, but realised that Saf seemed to be getting more stressed and distracted with other horses working in there. The short outdoor arena (where I’ve done most of my tests) is now also a warm-up so we headed over there. Empty, and Saf worked much better.
Went over to the long arena for the test and as I suspected I had no time to think during the test, so I went into standby mode and just steered her round. No incorrect bend, but a bit of a battle and didn’t feel like Saf was on-side. I did have a LOL moment when I got my sheet, judge’s comment: “Seemed rather ‘on a mission’ in canter today”. Haha! Made me smile anyway! 58.2ish, a different (more generous) judge than usual, felt like it was faaar worse than last time and not a mere 1.5% difference. Chalk it down to experience and try to keep at it in the hope I might somehow work out how to think whilst I’m actually doing the test rather than just steering.