The weekend started with another flatwork lesson with J. I wanted to focus on creating a warm up strategy for the next day that I could practise and then tweak if necessary before AFs and also to run through the tests as J has a 60x20 school. It was a really useful lesson as we focused on a few areas of the test that we thought would cause issues. Our transitions from canter to trot are still pretty scrappy and we realised I was riding a bit wonkily across the diagonal in canter so we did a few exercises to help - it's not a short term fix but will get us there in the end. I was also having a blonde moment about the left canter and was really twisting my body which meant B was striking off on the wrong lead so we spent a few transitions working on that too and it was much better at the end. I went away feeling confident for our competition the following day.
|Aunty J riding|
It was a reasonably early start to get to the venue on time - its around a 45 minute drive from the yard and my first test was 9:30. We arrived with plenty of time despite me driving past the entrance twice (!) and it is a beautiful venue. I tacked up and jumped on and we went into the warm up. There was a lovely horse warming up and my little demons started whispering in my ear. I shrugged itoff and focused on getting B supple and soft. He was feeling pretty on side so we didn't do too much, I just made sure I had control of his shoulders as there are lots of circles in P15!
The warm up started getting busier and that niggly demon was getting a bit louder... I felt hideously outclassed by the horses and the riders, they all looked incredibly slick and professional. So I stuck to a circle for a bit. Then it was time to go in... I gave B a good look around the arena, the bell rang and it was time to start. I rode pretty shabbily to be honest and would have lost marks for inaccuracy across the board but overall it was an ok test. I came out and the warm up had filled up with even more stunning horses and riders so I made a quick exit back to the lorry to give B a breather before our second test.
I got back on with 10 minutes before my second test and as soon as I entered the warm up I started riding like a complete backwards idiot. Poor B. The test was pretty meh, the transitions down to trot were really shoddy, my second 15m circle was more like an egg and in my final 20m circle showing some streching I fought to keep his shoulders from sneaking in. It was not our best by a long shot and I left feeling a bit disappointed that I'd ridden like such a complete numpty and let myself get affected by something so stupid.
I took B back to the lorry and wandered back to grab a bottle of water and my sheets. The first test was up and I was astounded to see that we'd won the class (our first individual BD win) - annoyingly just shy of a regionals qualifying score of 66% - then they put the second test up and we were pipped into second place. I was completely surprised by the result as the other horses were really, really smart but then I guess anything can happen when you get in the arena. I was also delighted that even tests that I knew weren't our best scored well and the judge wasn't particularly generous either and there were more 50's than 60's in both the classes.
Although it was lovely to come back with great placings I was disappointed that I allowed myself to get sucked back into getting psyched out in the warm up and not believing that I am either good enough or competitve enough to be there. It is something that I need to get sorted before AFs as there will be some fantastic combinations there and I need to ride for me and ignore everyone else. I also have a few accuracy things to work on over the next couple of weeks and so I will be having plenty of lessons and using J's 60x20 school.