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My journey with Abbey & other horsey bits 'n' bobs

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Competitions

A very equestrian day

Some days you get to play ponies all day and today was one of those days 😀

This morning I had a dressage lesson and this afternoon I went to the National Dressage Championships.

Even the rain couldn’t put a dampener on the lesson. Abbey is on top form at the moment – she feels stronger, more supple and is concentrating more than ever before (or maybe that’s me!). Together we’re making good progress.

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Product Review: National Dressage Championships

Today I went to day one of the National Dressage Championships. Despite the wet and very windy weather, it was a great day out.

I’ve been a few times now and nothing quite prepares you for being within a few feet of some of the best riders in the country doing their thing. And with wall to wall competition, it’s hard to find time to shop (and you’ve got to do some shopping!).

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The day that didn’t go as planned

Yesterday we went to Solihull Riding Club for an unaffiliated dressage competition.

I’d done my homework, learnt and practiced my tests, scrubbed Abbey to within a inch of her life and set off a little early. With less than a mile and a half to go, the horsebox starts making a funny noise and then the ‘stop’ and oil lights come on the dashboard.

Those regular readers will know that Abbey is a bit of a nervous traveler. She finds the process stressful and often trembles and sweats. I try to make her experiences in the box as relaxed as possible, I drive extremely carefully, pick routes that are as straight as possible and try to keep to a routine.

I pulled over to discover oil spewing out all over the floor. I tried not to panic (and failed!). Thankfully I had some oil in the van, so I lift the bonnet, pour half in, close the lid and jump back in. I was thinking that at least if we can get to the club then Abbey is in a safe place where she can get off the van.

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Highs and lows of a show

 

Clever pony came home with a 3rd and a 4th from today’s show. Weird, but the frillies don’t have much bearing on how I feel about the day.

The highs and the lows stemmed from all the other bits.  Abbey’s impeccable behaviour in the ring made me enormously proud but the frustration of not being able to tie her up got me very frustrated.

Abbey continues to be calmer about traveling and, for the first time, I left her on the van while I did my entries. A fellow competitor who kept an eye on her said that she was just fine :D.

However (you knew that there was a ‘but’ coming!) when I uploaded Abbey she spied something either in the hedge or the other side of the hedge, I don’t know which. I do know that she spent the next half hour snorting at said hedge. Twice (when I went in the horsebox to get into my show attire) she decided it was all too much and made a run for it. She snapped the twine she was attached to and, I am sure, would have run home had she not been distracted by the lush long grass within 6ft of the horsebox.

This meant I was stuck holding the end of Abbey’s leadrope. I couldn’t reach her tack, nor anything else I needed to get ready. I had to call for reinforcements. The OH dutifully arrived and held piglet while I ran round (now late!) getting us both ready.

Our frustration levels were not helped by the lack of breakfast…

….anyway that is enough of the ‘lows’, which less face it, aren’t really that bad.

When it mattered, Abbey was a superstar. She was attentive and responsive throughout the ridden class. Unlike our last show she stayed ‘with me’ throughout the group walk, trot and canter, even when a competitor over took us in canter.

 

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Two blues :D

Had a cracking outing on Sunday.  Abbey was a superstar coming 2nd in both a prelim and a novice classes with 67.69% and 66.96% respectively.

We got good marks for everything we’ve been working on in our lessons and there was only one comment on Abbey’s suppleness (a word that normally litters our score sheets).

It felt lovely too. Often I am fighting for Abbey’s attention and feel like I am hauling her around the circles. On Sunday there was a lightness and a flow which I’ve not had in a test before.

Overall I though my position was better. I was sitting up straighter and on both seat bones. I am still working on keeping my pesky toes in.

 

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Time flies!

Can’t believe it’s been a whole month since my last post!  From lessons and competitions, to hacking and interval training, Abbey has been a busy girl.

She’s starting to loose a little weight. Abbey is now doing at least an hour of work 5 times a week, including interval training. We’re up to 5 miles of trot/canter work and she’s finally burning more calories than she’s consuming.

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Distracted dressage

Our latest attempt at dressage saw Abbey and I go to a venue we normally showjump at. Abbey’s always spooky and tense here, which makes it rather hard to produce a nice test!

By the time we’d finished, I think we’d looked at every marker and spooked at every corner.

Still we came home with a 62.88% and a 3rd. The percentage was higher than Sundays for the same test and we didn’t get any of the same comments that I could easily change. ( not showing the give and retakes well enough, for example).

Should I have been firmer with Abbey when she wasn’t listening? Or would that have resulted in an argument? I might try it next and see what happens! If it’s an unplanned dismount, we’ll know that it’s not the best way forward…

Stressage at the weekend

On Saturday we competed at Swallowfields in the 2nd round of the Trailblazers qualifiers.

All in all, it went rather well. We’d not done as much prep as I would have liked and Abbey isn’t as fit as she should be so to come home with 65.86% and 61.92% was quite an achievement!

The first test was Novice 24 and a warm-up class. As I didn’t want to tire Abbey out, I kept the warm-up very short – 10 mins.  This seemed to suit her and something I am going to try again at our next competition.

 

The venue was running a little late for the next test and there were more horses in the warm-up arena. So we warmed-up, then walked and stretched (having realised that we’d a little wait) and then did a couple of transitions before going in. Abbey started to get a little crabby, tossing her head in the warm up and pulling faces when another horse got too close (in her opinion, nobody actually got too close!).

In this test she felt more tense than in the first. I think I was rushing her while also trying to steady her, which made her cross!

Today’s test: Novice 23

 

To be honest I’m a bit disappointed with today’s result. It’s ok, the highs wouldn’t be as high if we always had a great result and came home with red frillies. It’s was a learning experience.

Continue reading “Today’s test: Novice 23”

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