I'd really like the rain to stop now. This time last year, Bandi jarred up after our run at moreton Morrell on the hard
ground... this year the yard is flooded and his stable his a soggy mess because the rain is even coming through the brick work, ridiculous!
The rain didn't make our latest run at Solihull easy. The dressage warm up was so muddy that we had to wash Fifi's boots off afterwards and you can even hear on the video as she squelched round the dressage arena. She was much more rideable than at Sapey but I think I just didnt have my reins short enough so lacked enough roundness and needed a bit more connection. She scored a 38 which I was pleased with as I do realise what I needed to change to make it better.
We were using the surfaces for the showjumping and she warmed up well, popping over some decent uprights and spreads. I seem to get brain freeze when it comes to the showjumping at events, at home I've managed to sit and wait and actually think about what I'm doing, one fence at a time. However at competitions I'm pretty sure there's a setting in my brain that screams "ride like an idiot and forget all the lines you've planned and get round as fast as possible". Not exactly what we need! After fence 2, in the short time I watched other people go, I saw two people turn left instead of right, and when I landed I thought "MUST TURN RIGHT!" and proceded to do so straight away, felt mild panic as I
realised I had messed up so did some sort of jump off turn to 3. Thankfully Fifi obliged and jumped but this messed up my striding to 4 and we had it down, mental kicking followed! I then took more time to think about what I was doing and we jumped the rest well, coming away with just the 4 faults.
So afterwards off we went to cross country. I was supposed to be wearing a head cam for a company but it kept tilting my hat down over my eyes as it was a good weight and we nearly tipped up over the warm up fences twice becuase it was just comepletely muddy, I honestly don't know how we didnt end up in a heap so I had to take it off, I just didn't feel safe at all. I did notice after I got back off the course that Fifi had actually cut the back of her knee when she got
stuck on one of the warm up fences, nothing major but it made me so grateful that I ride her fully booted up as I hate to think what it could have done to her leg.
We set off and fence 1 was so muddy at the take off and it wasn't exactly a small fence so I took a slight safety position and she jumped it well. She made every effort around the course and felt really well, especially down the step at 4 to the step up to rail at 5a & b! You even see me trying to slow her up to a trot coming up to it but she just pretty much
ignored me and cantered on and popped through the whole combination like a pro!
I just set her in to a rhythm and she travelled really well, the course was cut up quite badly in places (understandably so, nearing the end of 2 very wet days of horse trials) and we came home with 3.6 time penalties but I don't think I
would have liked to push her anymore on the ground, after all there is always another day and she had a great confidence boosting run so it did us the power of good. We finished up 16th, if we hadnt had the pole and had come back in the time we'd have been 5th, so we're making our way up that leaderboard at BE90.
I had the surprise of MDR Photo turning up to support us so we have great new pictures too! Here's a few for you...
So bearing in mind where I thought I was going wrong in the dressage, I thought I'd better see if i was right. I entered some dressage yesterday and it appears I may have been correct to some degree at least. First out in the arena was Bandi, making his first outing since the JAS at Solihull. Well I never knew dressage could be quite so exciting for a horse! Into the warm up, and we had dancing legs, mini rears, bucking (a lot of bucking), head between his knees, and even some squealing as we went into canter for good measure. We went in to do our test and he spooked at the judges car, went into canter in two of his trot sections, decided he was far too excited to trot in a straight line down the centre line and was generally one very silly horse. But he must have done something right, some of his work did feel fab and he came a very respectable 4th out of 16 with 65%! I think the judge laughing as you trot down the centre line to finish says it all really, he's such a cheeky boy but everyone can't help but love him.
Then Fifi did her first test and she also came out very spritely, even earning the comment "Can't you do a test without either of your horses bucking?" from Paul as she muddled her right canter transition striking off on the left lead, only to do a flying change with a buck thrown in too. Show off. She got 64.1% pulling her in 6th out of 16 so not too bad.
We had 10 minutes untill our next test so I did some more trot work on her to try and get the edge off her. After persuading Sam to read my test for me we went back into the arena to do Novice 27, our first ever novice test. We were up against horses and riders who have been working, and winning, at novice for a while so I just thought I'd go in and do my best and see what mark we could achieve. Well she was much better, not perfect by any means but really good, even getting a 7 for our medium trot work, something which we've only just started doing in our lessons! After untacking and giving her a mouthfull of carrots and lots of fuss I went back to see the last couple of people go and got my sheet to see we had scored 64.6%! Great for our first Novice attempt, even better she won the class!!
I am so chuffed that our hard work seems to be paying off, it really is massively helped by our training with Donn, for which I really must keep thanking Shearwater Insurance as we wouldn't be able to get the training without them. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!
Next up we are going to Vale view on Tuesday to have a showjumping session with Caroline Moore, hopefully it will help me learn not to rush and panic at events.
We're entered for Aston le Walls unaffiliated Intro on the 13th May and Shelford Manor BE90 on the 28th May.
Might even try and sneak in some of this enjoyable dressage before then...