Monday, 14 November 2016

The learning never stops....

If you follow us on Facebook then you'll know we've been keeping pretty busy with lots of outings - if you don't then a quick summary is in order!

Looking smart in the Autumn sunshine
After Wellington we decided to chase another set of sheets which started well at East Soley where we achieved 65% and then we went to Merrist Wood to do two tests. Unfortunately the surface in the indoor was terrible, Buddy hated it and we ended up on 61.7 and 61.9 which is rather frustrating as it was fractionally away from being good enough but it wasn't so Area Festivals v2 was off the cards. We had been based at Springwood Grange (Jane's yard) for bootcamp prior to AFs but I made the decision to move there full time as it made such a positive difference to be based with Jane and be around people who all have the same ambitions. I was very sad to leave Jules, she built back my faith in yard owners again and Buddy loved being there. We both have some fabulous memories of our time and I made some wonderful friends.

I was then kicked down by my asthma and had a bad attack which knocked me out for a few weeks  and then I had a car accident which has injured my shoulder so Jane started riding Buddy again. She had sat on him a few times over the summer to teach him half pass and the more advanced movements. It was a decision I made as Buddy is a very quick learner and I've hit the limit of my dressage training so instead of getting both of us confused and upset when it goes wrong during the learning process (which it will however good you are), I decided that it would be in Buddy's best interest for me to hand over the reins. Since then, this has stepped up a notch and Jane has been riding him a couple of times a week which was to cover until I'm fit but they have such a brilliant partnership that it will continue for the foreseeable future and hopefully will start competing at Medium in the new year.

All of the BD rules changed (again!) this year and Area Festivals are in a different format for 2017 with first rounds starting in May and then a second round in October. Due to this the qualification dates started on 1st October so we have started our collection of sheets already. My plan is to get at least one set before Christmas (we have one more sheet to go) as I want to get to two or three first rounds to give us a good shot of getting to second rounds. 

That leads us to this weekend and there was a test riding clinic organised with one of the judges from Area Festivals - Alison Duck - and I was really looking forward to it. As I've written about on here plenty of times, I really struggle to get the scores at competitions that we are capable of. There are no particular movements where we lose marks consistently or accuracy areas I need to improve so I've been really working on getting Buddy going as best as I can but even though he has improved so much my scores have only been going up a fraction. The first test wasn't great as B was lazy and so behind the leg and I was absolutely gutted. We still managed 64.something so it wasn't too bad but I needed to do something to wake him up! So I terrified everyone by going for a hoon around the arena - it got him jazzed up enough to get through another run through and we got 67.4% so a decent improvement and more like what I would like to be getting out.

Love this one!
The feedback was very interesting - horse is more than capable of getting regionals score and I'm more than capable but our problem is me - well my brain! I give up before I've started and its clear I don't believe in myself so we do the test but there's no ringcraft or showmanship or positivity which impacts on the overall picture. I need to do some tweaks on my position (which I'm working hard on already) and get some thinner reins (I have the smallest hands in the world and have always struggled through regardless) but the biggest change I need to make is my self belief. I've got a couple of options and Jane is going to help me but I am going to beat this and make 2017 our best year yet!