We've been keeping busy again, ramping up to the start of the event season. Unfortunately we were balloted from ALW so I have re-routed to Munstead at the end of March instead. It was actually a good thing in the end as I now need to be abroad with work the week preceeding ALW. We are off schooling at Munstead on 1st March so will make sure we are all good to go. We are pretty much guaranteed a run as my ballot sticker from ALW has now been upgraded to a super sticker.
The day after my tumble we went off to dressage at a local EC. We had entered prelim 12 and Novice 24. Buddy was pleased to be out again and was rather bright to tack up - I had the previous days events in the back of my mind and so made sure I stuck to my mounting routine. It was all fine and I wandered down to the warm up... only to be told I'd not put my hat on!!! What an absolute idiot and a slightly critical piece of equipment, especially when your horse can bugger off as you're getting on. Anyway, hat on we went down to the warm up. They were running very early so I had to tell them that I needed my full warm up time. I could have done with an extra 5-10 mins to get him on side but had no option but to go in. He was a total idiot!! Very camel-esque, onward bound and had lost all concept of bend. I saluted the judge with a wry smile at the end. Silly donkey. His worst score at the level - and last place!!
I stayed on him as there was only 20 minutes between tests and just walked around, keeping the focus on getting him soft and listening to me. It was soon time to go in and he was so much more rideable in the Novice test. I finished feeling pleased with our performance as we are still not particularly established at that level. The sheet echoed what I felt and we finished on a decent score of 64.2% Although I added my sheet up again when I got home only to find that it had been added up wrong and we actually got 65.7% which would have put us in 2nd place rather than the 4th we ended up with. Despite the loss of a blue frilly I was very happy with the original score and delighted with the actual one!
The tests were both qualifiers for Trailblazers and we qualified for second rounds in both tests despite the disasterous performance in the prelim! I won't be taking it further as the finals are in July and I cannot take any time off during that month so it's pointless trying!
Then onto this weekend we had another lesson with SJL. I had two lovely friends come along and take some pictures which I was hugely grateful for as I could see the transformation from the last photos taken in Sept. I wanted to spend the lesson working on our canter as Buddy has a habit of changing behind when we come off of a circle and straighten up. We started the session making sure that Buddy was soft and accepting the contact, I need to make sure that he is round to get the back really swinging through - he is not a horse that you could ride back end to front end as he would happily go along like an inverted camel forever!! Once we moved onto the canter work SJL had me keep almost counterflexion on the right rein as I tend to get overzealous with the inside bend and then B just falls out through his left shoulder. On the left rein I need to keep his ribs soft and ensure that there is true bend around my inside leg as well as keeping my body almost to the outside and manage that left shoulder on this rein too. There is a lot of work to do but it is all coming together!