Wow, well I thought last month was busy.... our goal this month was to squeeze a medium qualification in before the end of the month (which was the deadline) and we have done just that! What a superstar pony I have.
After a kick up the bum at the end of last month, our first competition was too Wellington where we did two Mediums.... and guess what we did on our first Medium back? We entered the arena in canter (we were meant too!) - how fancy is that! Well who doesn't like a challenge?
I learnt my lesson, of reading the test before you enter, as I found ourselves in the first medium test back riding the regional test, which was hands down the hardest test we have ridden.
He tried his hardest for me once again and despite a couple of communication breakdowns (I need to learn to prepare each movement better and quicker) we got lots of 7’s and finished 5th on 66.5%. We need to work on our suppleness and a quicker hind leg for bigger marks now, but we also finished 4th with 65.4%. With seven points in one outing I finally believed perhaps qualification was possible!
The next weekend we were back out again, this time back to elementary, but to practice to our new music - a compilation of Madonna tracks!
If I ever declare I am going competing straight after finishing a busy Friday night shift, please someone remind me just how many matchsticks are needed to keep my eyes open. However, we finished with a big smile - I mean when does material girl not make you smile? Luckily the judge agreed, and we got a good music mark which was a relief after all the deciding.
I had never ridden to this bit of music but luckily the timings were pretty much perfect. My tiring day out was also vastly improved by the fantastic venue we were at. The Croft is one of the most lovely, organised venues I have ever been too - the ladies there work so hard and make competing such a lovely day out. I was still humming my music eight hours later and was thrilled to get 70% and finished 4th.
Sometime the next week my new saddle arrive courtesy of ProSaddles. Stanley has not been easy to fit but Sara has made the whole process so much easier and has been so patient and dedicated to find something that works for us both. When I sat in this saddle it was like putting on an old pair of boots - we both love it, so fingers crossed this is the one!
Next... poor Stanley! (He will have a very quiet December I promise). Off we went to Cholderton. We have a long way to go and a lot of learning to do but he gives me so much and just makes me smile.
Thanks to Amy Schiessl who helped me during the week he felt so much more responsive. It is fair to say that Medium tests still get the better of me as everything comes up so fast, but it's getting there now and I need to have more faith that we can do each movement, and ride them more accurately marker to marker as I am throwing away easy marks. Still two 2nds in Medium, 73 and 69 on 67.58% and 66.78% (scores slowly creeping up).
Fast forward a week, a super lesson with Sara-Jane and training for me from Emma at Biospheric Performance who gives me endless support to improve my body strength, awareness and posture. We were out again and completed our regional qualification at Medium level. A 2nd and a 4th place achieving scores both over 67% that were in line with some super smart horses. The day was made even better because two of my best buddies drove for miles to come and support us. We are so incredibly lucky to have such wonderful people supporting us and encouraging us to be better all the time. Then a call from Celia at Out and About Dressage to give us a quick interview ... it’s like we have never been away!
I hate the winter, the dark, the cold, the mud, but I do truly believe that with hard work the world is your oyster. Enjoy your Christmas and the break if you are lucky enough to get one. Bring on 2018 and what it has to offer!
Hannah & Stan x