Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Drafts do Dressage!

So we've gone racing, we've gone eventing and most recently, on Sunday Meg and I ventured out to our first dressage competition in 6 or possibly 7 years. The first time we tried dressage Meg was just a baby horse at her very first competitions and we did the training tests but this time we pushed ourselves all the way up to the giddy heights of Level 1, haha! 

Meg was, as always, a star! She was SUPER tense and felt like she might explode in the warm up for the first test so we did a LOT of walking. By the time the rider before us was in doing their test, we had managed a couple of reasonable canters and settled down enough so as to feel vaguely under control so into the arena she trotted as I smiled and tried to remember to breathe! Meg tried her wee heart out but was super distracted by the horses and riders in the big arena or perhaps it was all the cross country jumps she could see? I don't know what it was but SOMETHING to the right as we headed up the centre line grabbed and held her attention for 75% of the test but the 25% that I felt like I had her, felt amazing! We still managed to get a pretty great score of 64.62% and points on the championship table, which is hugely promising as I know she has a MUCH better test in her - Makes me excited for the future.

Second test was a bit of a disaster. It was on grass and I felt her confidence slip along with her feet on the first corner and it was basically downhill from there. I wasn't sure how to ride her and so opted for conservative riding and just trying to get through the test in one piece. She was tense and hollow but she did try and even though it wasn't pretty, we still got both our canter leads, maintained the canters, didn't fall over, didn't leave the arena and get eliminated and did manage to score over 55% so not a complete disaster. I think we were 16th in the class of 23 so we also weren't the worst. I do think we will probably always struggle on grass. She is such a lot of horse to contain in a small space and she really does work better on good footing. Another good reason to get out of the lower grades and in to L2 and above where we are pretty much guaranteed an arena on the available all weather surface.

I'm just so proud of her! Next competition is in 2 weeks and it is the second day of the dressage series and then, a week later, we have a Hickstead Day (dressage followed by a combined cross country and show jumping course) - Exciting!