On Saturday both Dustry and I worked our little socks off in our lesson, concentrating on really getting him to give in the neck, round, work over his back, and take more weight on his hind legs. On my front I really need to work on riding better in general (don’t we all!?) but in particular maintaining my body position, core and seat, keep my elbows bent and soft and not letting my hands go hay wire when he becomes fussy in the mouth.
My brilliant instructor Amanda Brewer really put us through our paces and by the end of the lesson D’s canter was unrecognisable compared to the beginning, and I had the feel and idea of what I needed to try and achieve at home/on my own (it’s hard work!)
So off we went bright and early Sunday morning for some British Dressage. We went to a new venue that D has never been to before with an indoor warm up and outdoor long arena. He was a total pro from the moment he stepped off the lorry, cool as a cucumber and unflappable (or possible just still pooped from yesterday’s lesson! hahaha)
He warmed up really well, and so into Prelim 15 we went. He did a really good obedient test, I was very pleased with his centre lines, and general outline through the test. We had a few moments that lost us marks, notably a trans from walk to trot in which he skipped trot and went straight to canter! (that will teach us to practise canter transitions the day before!). A trans to walk where he tripped into it, I put my leg on and her subsequently jogged in the walk – gah! and his final halt was that of a wiggly worm! (halts are still a work in progress)
Still despite these few errors he scored 65.65% and won! Gob smacked!
The final judge’s comment read:
‘some nice moments, but try not to confuse speed and impulsion. Sometimes the trot was hurried and he then fell onto his forehand. Needs time to carry himself’
Rider’s Position 7
Happily my mother came with me and videoed my first test (I had a minor memory crisis for my 2nd test so she read for me instead of videoing!) and so here you can see the test, and I’ve added the movements and the judges comments to the video so you can read them as the test goes on – Nifty huh? Enjoy!
Unaware of our placing I went back to warm up for our second test, and it wasn’t long before we could go and attempt Prelim 19. This was a much better test, with no notable errors just general short falls that we know we need to work on (self carriage, transitions, halts) as we came down the final centre line the heavens opened so when we came into the final halt Dustry swung his arse into the weather, helpful!
The final collectives were the same as before and the Judge’s Comment read:
‘Lots to like not quite so hurried this time, but needs more self carriage esp in transitions’
It’s always good to get back test sheets that reflect what you already know you need to and are working on improving, it reassures me we are on the right lines. When we went to look at the scores I was equally pleased to have gained 68.86% and 2nd place! Wowzer! Not a bad days competing!
I’m super chuffed with D’s performances which were massively helped by having a lesson the day before which perfectly tuned us up. We have enough qualifying scores now to go and do an Area Festival but tbh I don’t think I’ll bother, as I need to focus on his jumping more and the entry fees can be better spent on coloured pole related antics!