So maybe you’ve been waiting on tenterhooks to see how we got on at our show at Beaver Hall (or probably not, because I couldn’t wait and told everyone on twitter!).
On Saturday Suzie and I were lucky enough to have some transport (and a very kind driver) to take us to some affiliated dressage – the first time we’ve been out since October. Last year we only got out to a handful of shows too so we were both nervous and hoping the ponies would be chilled! Luckily we ended up with late-ish times, weirdly although I was doing a Novice and an Elementary, I was actually on before Suzie, who was doing two Novices. I was worried when I saw that I’d have to do my Elementary first, but in hindsight he does always go better in the first test so actually it was probably a good thing!
The later times meant we didn’t have to set off til 11am, which was quite relaxing for us! I had bathed Dan the night before but used the morning to wash his legs, give him a good groom and plait his mane. Then before we knew it, we were on our way! Sunny travelled perfectly fine, whereas Dan stomped about a bit every time we turned left at first (he’s very big and struggles to balance sometimes), but he soon settled into it and improved.
When we got there, we unloaded the horses and pretty much got straight to it. Dan was a pro in the warm up, really chilled and well behaved – if a little behind my leg! When I get nervous I seem ok on the outside but it makes me ride much worse than normal, I kind of clamp up and can feel my legs start waving about! However, I had my friend Emily and her mum Julia watching by the sidelines, telling me to send him forwards and try to keep my legs still.
I went in the arena for my Elementary, I forgot how big long arenas were! But I love riding Dan in them, I have so much space and time to prepare for everything. The bell rang and I went to go down the centreline – then it chucked it down! It was one of those downpours that’s really heavy but really short. I messed up my first centreline and halt completely because of this (not an excuse, he should know better!) but after that, the rain cleared and my lovely horse went on to do a nice test.
We had a quick rest, then me and Suzie both got ready again – I was on in my Novice next, but Suzie was only two riders after me. I always like warming up with Suzie because it makes me feel a bit more relaxed – we ride together all the time at home so it just feels normal. Back into the arena to do the test and Dan had started to feel tired. I’ve got him much fitter but I think with the added travel he’d just lost a bit of oomph that we’d had in the Elementary. However, he went nicely except for two spooks when a lorry drove past, but I wasn’t too worried about these – he barely goes out and is a spooky horse at the best of times, so I was pleased he’d listened to me for most of it. I then watched Suzie’s first test from horseback – she rode a really nice test and I knew she’d be pleased with it.
I put Dan back on the trailer with some food and lots of pats, then went off to find my scores. I knew he’d gone well, but I’d never have guessed my actual scores… 69% and 1st in the Elementary restricted, and 68.75% and 2nd in the Novice open! I was so chuffed with the beast, he tries so hard for me and I just need to remember to ride properly. Suzie had done a fab job, she’d got 67% in her first restricted Novice and won, so I went back to watch her second test (which I thought was even better than her first) and then went to get some food. It only turns out Suzie also won the other restricted Novice, again with 67+%! We were both so proud of both ourselves and our amazing horses.
Apologies for the essay, I am just so pleased with my lovely horse!
Nic & Dan (+ Suzie & Sunny!) x