In the meantime it's all about match practise so we are out and about as much as we can between now and ALW. Our campaign began with dressage this weeekend and I've been practising really hard as we were stepping up to Novice level. We only rode one test last year and I've never ridden at Novice BD level before so it's a bit of an education. Our preperation was good - I was confident we would do a good test although I had made the decision not to do the medium canters in the Novice as he's just not established enough yet. However, best laid plans and all that....
As I'd clipped him the night before I wondered if he might be a bit sharp but he was really sharp and mega spooky in the warm up. Luckily there weren't many people in there so I could avoid people and stick to a circle to work him through it. He felt fab in the warm up so I went in full of confidence. As soon as I entered the indoor I felt his energy just drop and I had nothing in the tank. The test was rubbish and I finished exhausted. He broke in his canters and although his trot work covered the ground it was nowhere near where it should have been. I came out of the ring gutted and incredibly disappointed. I was not looking forward to our Novice test.
I left it until the very last minute to get back on board and just walked around the warm up. He was overreacting to the other horses in there and it was much busier so just a quick walk trot and canter and we were in. He felt a tad better but I wasn't sure if I'd get any medium work at all!! I had to really nanny him round but we did it - I was not concerned that I'd be troubling the leaders!
Chucked him back on the lorry and went to collect my sheets without any expectation whatsoever! We got 63% in the Prelim and were placed 9th out of 20 which was a much better result than I was expecting! In the Novice we broke the 64% barrier and were sitting in 3rd place for a long time but were pipped to the post by the last rider and were placed 4th out of 12 in the end. I know I should be delighted with the scores and placings but I'm not. Even a bit of time to reflect and some alcohol (!) hasn't made a difference and I'm still disappointed as I know we performed way below our capability and should have done much better. It was not anywhere good enough to get us a badminton qualification.
The positives to take away were that we got good scores despite a rubbish performance so when the stars align for us (please happen soon) we are going to be breaking the 70% mark without an issue. It was our first competition since October so we are probably both a bit ring rusty and more practise will help. We are out again in a couple of weeks and we are also part of a Team Quest team - we are called 'Blinged Up Bullet Dodgers' and we are all barefoot Rockley rehabs - so that will give us more practise as well.
We are off jumping tomorrow and I'm looking forward to Warren putting us through our paces. I should also have a photographer as hubby has promised to come along!