I have a feeling this could be a long update! Due to circumstances at the moment I rarely have phone signal/internet in the evenings (how did we ever cope before?!) although hopefully this should all be resolved next week when I move house! It has meant that I have been pretty quiet on the social media front for the past couple of weeks, but don’t worry I will be back soon 😉
Overall February didn’t go too great for me and Dan. I’ve been riding so badly this month, normally stress doesn’t really seem to interfere with my riding but it has had a massive impact in the last few weeks. Dan’s been quite naughty, to the extent where I’ve had to lunge him rather than ride as I just couldn’t get any sense out of him. One night I didn’t even want to ride (which NEVER happens)! I’d love to have just hacked him out instead, but winter means I’m still not able to do this in the week. I didn’t really want to give him any time off either, as he’s only just really come back into work anyway and is pretty fit now. However, I had a few days off work and spent some time just grooming him and forcing him into cuddles (I’m sure he just tolerates it haha!) and actually schooling him in the day, trying not to put too much pressure on either of us. I also did a couple of days just hacking and nothing else, which was a really lovely way to spend some time.
I really thought we wouldn’t be able to do an E-Dressage test this month as things hadn’t been going well. But Dan was at least behaving and listening to me, so I thought I’d give it a go. I know it’s really not us at our best (and I hate this Elementary as it’s got loads of 10m circles in it – my least favourite movement when riding my giant horse in a tiny school!) but at least we did it. I really struggled to get Dan stretching over his back before the test – I like to warm him up by stretching him in all paces, which really helps him as he has such a long back. He’s been tenser than usual though so I haven’t really felt him ‘let go’ and as a result he didn’t feel very through in my test. This also means he fusses with his mouth more – his mouth is really quiet when he’s through, but not so when he isn’t! In a way at least doing our test like this means the judge actually sees us at our worst, so hopefully can give me some more pointers as to how I can improve and help him relax. We also had a few stupid rider errors – somehow my brakes failed in my change through trot and I didn’t prepare our simple change anywhere near enough!
This all sounds quite negative so a few things I am proud of this month:
- We did the test in the first place, and Dan seems to be looking after me more than ever now
- Our medium trot is getting there – it’s still not great, but it’s better than it was
- Same goes for our canter, still plenty to improve on, but I think it is getting better
- We did actually manage to get 63% – disappointing in that I know Dan is capable of a lot better, but encouraging that at least when we don’t do our best I’m not completely useless!
- We had fun getting our matchy ensemble together!
Here’s the test if you want to see it: Elementary 44
Unfortunately Dan has now tweaked his foreleg, and I think I’m going to get the vet/physio out to keep an eye on his left hind – his right hind has always been his weakest, but I think all that extra effort he must have put on his left hind to compensate is now taking its toll as he seems to be a little bit stiffer on that side. I keep having to remind myself he’s nearly 19 now (even if he acts like a 4 year old!).
Sorry for the mega essay, here’s some nice pictures of my favourite boy to make up for it! My lovely purple matchy and my smart black jods are all HKM from LVR Equine, my coat is my gorgeous Tottie jacket, and his beautiful bridle is Equiture 🙂
Nic & Dan x