Today was the big day… the day we actually rode a Medium test in front of a judge! The test itself was 63, which is quite a nice first Medium I think (although it still contains shoulder in, half pass and quarter walk pirouettes!). As I’d written last week, we haven’t had the best preparation given Dan’s colic and then lameness, but I was determined to do the best we could.
I had a fab lesson on Friday night where I rode through the test for the first time, and worked really hard on the lateral work in particular. Since I’ve been having lessons with Carolyn, we’ve really gone back to basics to get Dan’s way of going better, so we’ve left the lateral work alone! I was relieved to find that the buttons were mostly still there, but had to work hard to get him moving off my outside leg. I finished the lesson thinking we’d probably do ok and manage to get a solid 60%, which was my aim.
Fast forward to today and suddenly I found myself plaiting up at 8am! As soon as I started plaiting Dan started getting a bit excited/anxious about going to a party, so luckily Suzie was on hand to stop him fidgeting while I plaited up. The competition was held at Carolyn’s yard, which is only a 10-15 minute ride from ours, so we were hacking over. Dan was a doddle to hack over even if we were a bit quicker than normal! I was on about 45 minutes after we arrived, so I chatted to a few friends and then walked him round. The warm up was in an unlevel field so I felt quite limited as to what I could do in the warm up. I concentrated on getting him through, soft and listening, with a couple of shoulder in and half passes to get him listening to my outside leg (and to get my outside rein working).
We got called into the arena, so I set off into a big trot to send him forwards – and I could tell he was going to go well, as he felt really switched on. A full size arena now felt massive compared to my small one at home, so I felt like I had all the time in the world. I concentrated on sitting well, keeping my legs wrapped around his sides (I tend to stick my legs out!) and actually had time to prepare everything – half halting, positioning him and then moving into the lateral work. As the test continued I started to really enjoy myself, as I knew it was going better than I could have ever imagined! I was over the moon with how it felt and couldn’t stop grinning like an idiot as I cooled him down after the test. Going to a show environment seems to get him a bit more forward, which definitely helps keep him more connected and makes him feel very rideable.
We then had a bit of a wait to find out scores, but loads of my friends had also come over to compete so I left Dan with his haynet and water and caught up with them all over cake. I really enjoyed watching everyone ride their socks off in their tests and everyone did so well.
Our scores came back… we’d managed an unbelievable 69%!! Our marks were fairly consistent throughout, with our lowest being a 6 and highest an 8. I managed a couple of 7s for our half passes (one for trot and one for canter) with comments that we could be braver in our medium work – which was better today, but could still be improved. The competition was a team one – my friends Emily, Suzie and Cate all were part of my team too and we finished a fab third!
Super chuffed with my favourite boy – he absolutely tried his heart out for me. Loads of photos because he’s so gorgeous and has helped me achieve a dream today 🙂 Big thanks to Caitlin Padgett – Portrait Artist for all your support, we wore our saddlecloth with pride!
Nic & Dan x