Monday, 21 May 2012

Dressage Divas

Meg and I have been in dressage training in preparation for a competition that was held locally yesterday. She has been progressing quite nicely although, as is fairly typical for young horses, we have our good days and our bad days. Recently she has been particularly distracted and inattentive. I took her down to my trainer's arena on Friday and there was a lot of 'Oh LOOK, it is another horse! Oh LOOK, it is a dog! Oh LOOK, a car on the driveway! Oh LOOK, a blade of grass!' and so on, bless her. The day before I had taken her to Solway showgrounds for an outing and she had been much the same. She is capable of the loveliest work when she is soft and focused so it can be very frustrating when she is distracted! Nick was nice enough to come and take some photos when I took Meg down to the arena for a ride last week and here are a selection:

Yesterday was D day and I headed down to the showgrounds nice and early, giving myself plenty of time to settle Meg in. I am a nervous competitor and have minimal competition experience so yesterday was quite a big deal for me and Meg is also quite a nervous 'wee' horse so, together we make quite a pair! I had set a handful of goals for the day, these being:

1. Avoid elimination
2. Score over 50%
3. Remember the tests!

The weather in the lead up had been awful and very wet so the ground conditions were pretty challenging for an unshod and unbalanced large horse and we did struggle somewhat. Meg was incredibly tense to warm up and the first test was really ugly but she did everything I asked her, including getting both her canters. I was very happy with her. I was even happier when the scores went up and both judges had given her over 50%. I think she polarised the judges somewhat as one judge had her middle of the field and the other had her dead last but the mean score of 55.4% was one I was more than happy with.

The second test was SO much better. She was still a complete tit in the warm up but due to a delay in the start of the second class (we were first to go), we got an extra 10 minutes walking and trotting around the outside of the arena and I think that was enough to really settle her. She must be getting fitter as she was ridden for 30 minutes before the first test and 45 minutes before the second and there was still plenty of fuel in the tank when we were finished. I said to a friend after we came out of the arena that the test felt a good 10% better than the earlier test and sure enough, when the results were posted, she had scored 66% and ended up in 5th place! To say I am over the moon to have achieved this with her would be an understatement. We have a long way to go before we can be truly competitive BUT the potential is there. Onwards and upwards!!

There are no photos or video of my tests as I didn't have anyone handy to help out but I did grab a photo of the test sheet for 1.4 and of Meg at the float:

Next competition is in June and I think we will be there, with bells on!