Saturday, 1 December 2007

Dressage today :) and some news

In the early morning hours I set off to Hamlet's yard. I plaited him yesterday and all plaits stayed put which I was really pleased about. He was rather excited about morning travel hustle and bustle so plaiting him in that state would be a very frustrating experience ;)
Wonderful sunshine made the whole day very relaxing. We arrived at Oldencraig Equestrian Centre well in time to be able to walk about the centre's lovely facilities, browse their saddlery (always nice to have a look at horsey stuff!) soak up the sunshine and get ready without a rush.
Hamlet behaved himself and was fairly settled (having eaten almost whole hay net!). Since
Ricky is still not keen on participating in my competitive endeavours and I wasn't going to have any pictures or videos, I snapped Hammie on its own, patiently waiting for me to fit in a weird hairnet (you don't need it for show jumping ;) under my hat.
Our test, Prelim 17, was in one of the centre's indoor arenas with a warm up outdoors. Due to a lovely weather it worked very well. Warm up arena was 20x60 so provided plenty of room and I must say it was one of the best warm up experiences I have had for a long time.
I started off from a nice walk on the long rein off the track and I could feel he was in a feisty mood but not running against my hand too badly. My guess was that our biggest problem would be tension and I was right.
The first part of the test went quite well and I thought 'hey, this is feeling good!'. There was a gentle music dancing through the speakers and I found it very relaxing. We walked down the long side where Hamlet caught his reflection in the mirrors and must have thought he looked well as he proceeded to soften his jaw and came rounder ;) The bell rang and I did a circle to set him up nicely for the the whole 60m of the centre line. We managed to go deep but balanced into the corners and he really bent well around my inside leg. The sequence of trot 20m and 15m half-circles went well too, he was quite happy with me regulating his rhythm but could have been much more supple and through (he was resisting my restraining aids in the warm up but I was expecting that as it has been a problem before). Walk transition at H was good but I could feel that he would have been happier if we had stayed in trot! In fact, he jogged twice in a change of rein in walk on the long rein and I don't expect high marks for the test. Canter transitions and canter to trot weren't bad but due to tension and not concentrating on me he stroke on left lead on the right canter :( It was my fault though as I could really feel him drifting slightly away from the circumference of the circle and loosing the shoulder. I wasn't quick enough to correct it and the spot for a canter was just then. I sent him right but he just wriggled and stroke left. I changed the lead immediately but again I am expecting a very low mark for this. Canter itself felt very good, bouncy, truly three beat, active and very rideable.
In general I was satisfied with the first part of the test and bits and pieces from the second half but once the tension had crept in it was very difficult to ride well.
The Test Score Sheet will be posted to me as we couldn't wait for the class to finish. I am interested in what the judge had to say. Personally I wouldn't mark myself highly on that test but I want to see whether what I thought was bad, was equally bad for the judge.
I am going to update Hamlet's blog with more details shortly and will add the scores there as well once known.
To summarise, I enjoyed myself more than I thought I would. The organisation was great and it just felt like a treat to be out there.

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Anna R.-D. finally let me know on the available dates and looks like I could have a lesson at 2pm on the 29th January the earliest. The problem is I work 9am-9pm on that day and can't cancel the teaching. It's not very easy to set up dates with top trainers, is it? I am now going to contact her again and see if she can do any other dates, eek!

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One riding club's riders decided they enjoyed lessons with me and now want regular club rallies; so we will be doing a rally every month in the first week of each month. I hope they know what they have chosen for themselves by going with me ;) There is no lazy riding and doing-nothing on my lessons!
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