Hard work pays off!

This weekend I completed by second ode with Chino at Aston Le Walls in the 90. I was looking forward to it and felt that we were fully prepared unlike our last one! 

It was a rather unorthodox arrival as we had to take him straight to the on duty farrier to replace the shoe he had pulled off  yet again! He manages to do something dickheadish 2-3 days before a competition so I’m starting to think he does it on purpose. 

Shoe back on and off we toddle to the dressage warm up which was rammed and resembled the bumper cars ride (or dodgems as they are now referred to!) at the fair. We managed to get loads of transitions in to our warmup mainly due to unplanned emergency stops to avoid getting run down! I hate warm up rings with a passion! 

The dressage test was the same as we had completed 2 or 3 weeks ago at Moreton Morrel where we had received a 44 score! 😳. I was hoping for a better score than that  and amazingly we did! We achieved our lowest score to date with a 35.8!! Now I know it’s not super great but given the left rein canter was a complete mess followed by some pretty shocking cornering in trot, I was over the moon. We even scored a 7.5 for our halt at the end which we had practiced for a while schooling session earlier in the week!

 Received some lovely feedback as well which is really encouraging and set me up for the rest of the day. 

After a little break for a sausage sarnie I went and tacked back up for the showjumping. It was a nice flowing course and my main focus was just to keep the rhythm and not play about with him before the jumps. The warm up ring was a thing of beauty with 6 practice fences and a tonne of space so I was a happy little bunny and feeling very relaxed. This obviously made a huge difference to my mind set as I went in and jumped a clear round! Our first one ever!! Clearly the practice last week at Lyneham paid off. I came out the ring looking like a Cheshire Cat…or perhaps the joker from batman given my smiling face is pretty scary!! 

The final bit up next and I can’t believe I’m saying it but the favourite bit of eventing! Just last year I used to feel petrified doing xc. The thought of galloping across the country and jumping solid fences would make me run for the adult nappies!! Yet now I’m all ‘bring it on!’ In fact, I brought it on a bit too much as we ended up getting 0.4 too fast time penalties! I don’t have a watch so I went out with the intention of sticking at the same pace as our last event where I nailed the time. Unfortunately I got a carried away and on one stretch I pushed him on a bit much. As I came out of the penultimate jump I heard on the tannoy something about 4 minutes so assumed it must have been me so I sat back and slowly made our way to the last fence. I was slightly gutted to find out from the husband after jumping a perfect clear round around our most testing track yet, that we were 1 second too fast!! Arghhh. 

I checked the results later that afternoon to find that we had finished in 16th place in a huge section of 40!! I was ecstatic and I really feel that our hard work is starting to show. I stupidly then compared my score with other sections and found that had I been in 1 of the other 4 sections I would have finished higher up the table and in fact placed in 3 of them! So annoying but that’s the nature of the game and if I want to challenge for top ten places then I need to get our dressage scores down. 

I’ve now got two weeks until Area 5 HT at Solihul so schooling will be all focussed around suppleness and getting him off my leg on the left rein as well as strengthening his canter so we don’t lose it again. I may pop over to Onley on a Sunday to do a couple of sj classes just to keep up the momentum we now have and hopefully improve on our last visit. 

If anyone has any schooling tips for suppleness and how to get him to relax through his back please let me know as he’s getting a bit bored of circles and transitions! 

Until next time,

Toodle pip 😘


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